RICS Home Surveys

Why the New Home Surveys Approach?

There have been significant changes in the property market in recent years. Valuation practices by lenders are changing and often no surveyor will visit the property on behalf of a lender where suitable amounts are put up by the purchaser for security. As a result, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has undertaken extensive industry and consumer consultation regarding helping purchasers to take more informed decisions.

Their research suggests that one in four people have purchased a property without having any sort of further survey being carried out – before one of the biggest investments they are ever likely to make!  Another finding was that whilst three-quarters of the people did have a survey carried out, they did not know what type of survey they had commissioned. From our experience, we would suggest that some of this confusion is because the current RICS templates for their Level 2 (“Homebuyers”) and Level 3 (“Building Survey”) offerings look very much alike; they take a similar approach to how they report, for example using traffic light systems.

Due to our high levels of personal referrals and on-line reviews, we know that this does not apply to the premium service we have offered – our Signature Building Survey. This is comparable with the RICS Level 3 report but includes roof survey and feedback, certainly far more than the Level 2 “Homebuyers”.

What we are doing to comply with the revised RICS standards?

We have attended the RICS CPD and training events which seem to focus on making sure the customer has informed choices.  

Hence in order to keep our RICS regulated status, we must now develop a wider approach, moving away from offering solely our “we will do the best we physically can” signature Full Building Survey; most of our reviews and testimonials relate to this. We will in future also be offering the RICS Level 2 and 3 surveys and our client services team will spend more time discussing with the potential client what survey is right for them.

The RICS Standards changes will take place in June 2020. We are looking to start using the RICS templates and set wording as prescribed by the new Home Survey Standard when requested by a client.  Our tried and tested methodology of our signature Full Building Survey will continue to be offered but in addition we will also offer the RICS Level 2 Homebuyers report and the RICS standard Level 3 Building Survey. The client will be able to decide what survey is right for their circumstances. In the past, we have simply declined to undertake the Level 2 reports and sent our enquirers to other surveyors offering this service; however we are now looking to offer this to our clients during the initial telephone call or email, explaining their options.

What this will mean to our returning Clients

Our next series of Blogs will outline the differences and explain what to expect from our broadened service offering.

The demand for our Signature Full Building Surveys has often outstripped our resources over the years;  Principal Surveyor Jon Holloway and independent Surveyor Bruce Marfell are normally booked heavily in advance.

So that we can still offer acceptable lead-times with our wider provision, we have asked another Surveyor experienced in delivering these standardised reports to help provide the RICS standard surveys, as are offered by most of our competition.  These Level 2 and Level 3 templates have the RICS branding on them and are in a tabular format, not a true written report, and will adhere to the basic formats as laid down by the RICS, no more, no less. But the client will now be given the opportunity to decide for themselves which level of survey is right for them, out of our three pre-purchase options – rather than just “we only provide our Full Building Survey”!