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What is the difference between a Level 2 and a Level 3 survey?

18/03/24What is the difference between a Level 2 and a Level 3 survey?

We provide a range of services for our clients, including Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) approved home surveys. One of our most often asked questions is what is the difference between our Home Survey Level 2 and Home Survey Level 3? What do they entail and how do they differ? In our latest blog, we hope to bring some clarity to the issue and by pitching Level 2 v Level 3, define exactly what these essential surveys include and when they are needed.

Peace of mind for buyers and sellers

We offer all three levels of RICS Home Survey Reports. A survey is a detailed and accurate ‘health check’ on the condition of a property – dependent on a number of factors, such as age, maintenance and size. As part of each survey, we will provide you with an account of the property’s condition, highlighting any problem areas that may affect your decisions, in an easy-to-comprehend, accessible report. In some cases, a survey will highlight work that needs to be carried out – such as remedial work that may affect the value or safety of a property – if any alarm bells start ringing or red flags are revealed.

Level 2 vs Level 3

Of the three levels of survey on offer, the most basic – the Home Survey Level 1 Report – is simply a streamlined Condition Report on the current state of the property, although a valuation can be added at extra cost. But the two higher levels of service offer a much more comprehensive, in-depth delve into the building and its condition. They are the ones homebuyers should be looking at for peace of mind and for accurate budgeting forecasts.

The two higher surveys are:

Home Survey Level 2 (Survey only) Report – A report providing more detailed information on the condition of the property, which can also include a market valuation.

Home Survey Level 3 Report – A report including detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.

To outline the differences between the two services, it’s worth looking at what each comprises.

A Level 2 survey provides greater detail on the condition of the property than a Level 1 and it can also include a valuation. It is suitable if you’re buying, selling or living in a conventional house, flat or bungalow that has been built from commonly-available building materials and is in good condition. It includes an in-depth indication of the condition of different parts of the building, utility services, garage and any outbuildings. It also includes a list of any issues that will require attention, indicating the level of seriousness of the issues. It also provides a ‘risk summary’ relating to the building’s condition and any other matters, such as building control, planning issues and guarantees for you to pass on to your solicitor.

Also included is the surveyor’s professional opinion on the market value of the property and an insurance reinstatement figure for the property, at an additional cost. Included as standard is a checklist of issues that the surveyor considers could affect the value of the property; advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance; issues that need to be investigated to prevent serious damage or dangerous conditions further developing; legal issues that need to be addressed before completing the conveyancing process; information on the location and the local environment; and when available, the recorded energy efficiency.

Levels of detail

A Level 3 Survey dives deeper again and is advisable for older, larger properties, buildings in poor condition, or if you are planning to carry out renovation work, major structural changes or extensions. Included here is a thorough inspection and detailed report on a wider range of construction issues than the Level 2 report; a description of visible defects and potential problems that could be caused by hidden flaws; an outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity during the project period; advice for your legal advisor; and details of serious risks and dangers, due to the condition of the buildings.

Also included in the Home Survey Level 3 survey is an aerial Drone Survey service, where considered necessary, which can offer detailed information on aspects at height, such as roofs, ridges, gables, rainwater goods, chimneys and flues, including leadwork, pointing, bargeboards, soffits and facias. These are often difficult to access safely and the drone can do the hard work, whilst filming its findings. The Drone Survey can also be added as an extra to our Home Survey Level 2 Report. The Level 3 survey doesn’t include a valuation or estimated costs of any repairs that arise among the recommendations, but we can provide this as an extra service as required.

We provide detailed Home Survey reports for our clients from our offices in Shropshire, Staffordshire and North and South Wales. As members of the RICS, we provide a service that is assured of meeting the very highest industry standards. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with a Home Survey, then contact us today.

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