Level 2 or level 3 survey?

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I'm a first time buyer hoping to buy a 1930s 3 bedroom end terrace. There's a single story extension at the back which I think was done quite a while ago.

I've got several quotes. One is from a local surveyor who seems quite good, but only has availability for a level 2 survey at the moment. He seems to believe that a level 3 would be an overkill especially if the house is in a habitable condition. He's quoted £450.

I then have another quote for £675 for a level 3 building survey.

I'm leaning towards going with the level 2 survey especially since he can do it sooner, but just wanted to double check first.

We are hoping to put an opening in the internal wall of the extension, but I think I'd need a structural engineer to look at this and the level 3 survey wouldn't really help?
 
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Soldato
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Honestly it's the biggest /most expensive thing you'll ever buy. I'm no expert, but I'd go for the level 3. We did on our recent FTB but then it is a Victorian (1900ish) terrace.

I'm not sure exactly what the differences are but at least you can rest easy knowing you've done all the due diligence you possibly can.
 
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Echoing above, in the grand scheme of things an extra £200 is pennies on the property you're buying. If it was built in the last 20-25 years then a full structural survey might not be necessary, but coming upto 100 years old, i definitely would.
 
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675 seems cheap, mine was £1200 for the full building "structural" survey.

Id pay the extra £200 as the homebuyers reports arent worth the paper they're written on if youre familiar with construction /home building.
 
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For the price I would go for the level 3 survey, though the price does seem cheap. On another note make sure that there seller has a recent boiler service record - this is not included in surveys which I found out when British Gas condemned the boiler on the first day after exchange.
 
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Do you know what the difference between a "level 2" and "level 3" valuation is?

That's seems a bit vague.

By the way I look at property valuation reports as part of my job and I've never heard the term before.

But as above, for the sake of £200 quid or whatever I'd probably go for a level 3, whatever that means..........maybe they give you the same information but in colour and laminated lol.
 
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Do you know what the difference between a "level 2" and "level 3" valuation is?

That's seems a bit vague.

By the way I look at property valuation reports as part of my job and I've never heard the term before.

But as above, for the sake of £200 quid or whatever I'd probably go for a level 3, whatever that means..........maybe they give you the same information but in colour and laminated lol.

Level 2 is the home buyer report and level 3 is the building survey. I thought level 2 and level 3 was what they were referred to nowadays but could be wrong.
 
Soldato
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I’m a surveyor. Homebuyers reports are purely visual and very limited in scope but do cover most things on your standard house a d will certainly identify damp and major obvious issues at which point further more specific reports will be recommended.

It really depends on the house you are buying as frankly a full building survey could be complete overkill but without knowing what condition it’s currently in, you can’t be sure
 
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We payed a fair whack for what was termed a 'full survey'. Truthfully, not really worth the paper it was written on. As long as you understand that the majority of things can't be tested without ripping floorboards up, hacking out walls etc - then go with what feels right.

An example "the electrical system appears to be fully up to current (16th edition, as was) standards - but I've not been able to test it". (he flicked a few light switches)
Another example "the central heating system appears to be fully functional - but I've not been able to test it". (he turned on a tap)

Caveats galore..

It's also pointless from a litigation point of view - if they don't identify something that causes issues in the future - there is no recourse unless you use specialists.

If you're concerned about electrics - get a spark to do an EICR
If you're concerned about the plumbing - get a plumber in to do some tests
If you're concerned about damp - get a damp specialist in

With all the respect, and deference in the world to surveyors - they can't identify everything - but in my (previously professional) personal opinion - its basically a quick look around, a few photos and dab a hygrometer in a few places.*

*happy to be told otherwise though!
 
Soldato
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lad had it done on the one hes buying atm ... came up with a few things .. got another 2k off the house .. lintels over a window ..ect ect well worth it
You never know what it could bring up so it's undoubtably worth it. Either for peace of mind, or for negotiation. Ours red-flagged the whole roof as needing replacing immediately, flagged the front bay windows as totally seized/sealed shut. As it happens we were planning on the loft conversion so would replace the roof anyway, and the front bay window was the only one they hadn't replaced around 5 years ago so we knew we wanted it replaced anyway. So, we didn't change our offer but it helped when they were deliverating on leaving the white goods. Which we really wanted when coming from a furnished rental.

On another note make sure that there seller has a recent boiler service record - this is not included in surveys which I found out when British Gas condemned the boiler on the first day after exchange.
Our solicitor got this for us, I assumed this was normal practice?

We paid £875 for our full survey. Just make sure you actually speak to the surveyor after you see the results. There's a lot of bottom-covering in the way that they write it (probably fair enough) but if you actually chat to them the good ones should speak some sense. For us especially with the above works, it was nice to be able to speak to him and tell him that, and he could let us know that was a good way of moving forward. And other red-flags not to worry about in the short term etc. He even phoned me back at 5.45pm on a Friday and this was during the craziness in May/June before the stamp duty holiday ended.
 
Soldato
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You never know what it could bring up so it's undoubtably worth it. Either for peace of mind, or for negotiation. Ours red-flagged the whole roof as needing replacing immediately, flagged the front bay windows as totally seized/sealed shut. As it happens we were planning on the loft conversion so would replace the roof anyway, and the front bay window was the only one they hadn't replaced around 5 years ago so we knew we wanted it replaced anyway. So, we didn't change our offer but it helped when they were deliverating on leaving the white goods. Which we really wanted when coming from a furnished rental.

Our solicitor got this for us, I assumed this was normal practice?

We paid £875 for our full survey. Just make sure you actually speak to the surveyor after you see the results. There's a lot of bottom-covering in the way that they write it (probably fair enough) but if you actually chat to them the good ones should speak some sense. For us especially with the above works, it was nice to be able to speak to him and tell him that, and he could let us know that was a good way of moving forward. And other red-flags not to worry about in the short term etc. He even phoned me back at 5.45pm on a Friday and this was during the craziness in May/June before the stamp duty holiday ended.
Your post describes almost exactly the journey I went through. But, all this does for me, is make me think how worthless this report was. I had all 4 of my sash windows condemned, and a big fear of 30 year old gallows brackets in the life. But I, like all the other folk who had lived here, bought the house anyway. I guess it is one of those bets you place hoping to lose, and when you do, you feel a bit short changed? :confused:

I mean a normal chap who wasn't trying to cover his arse could have said your roof is dodgy, your windows need replacement... blah.

Edit: forgot to finish the point on my sash windows - I refurbed them all myself and they're now as new.

Edit2: we also wanted to use it for negotiation but didn't... same as you. So it didn't really add any value...
 
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I am also a surveyor and currently going through the process of becoming chartered. Its hard work but I`ll get there, The level of survey you have is really or rather should be based on the amount of time the surveyor is spending in your house, Level 1 is basically a quick look around a few pictures. I would suggest that level 2 is what most people with a traditionally constructed house should go for. Level 3 should be used for non-traditional construction type houses and other historic properties and ones in poor condition or if after you purchase the house you plan on doing extensive work to it. (if I was completing a level 3 survey, I will spend about an hour towards the end of the survey doing a Q+A session with the client and I normally let them know what I plan to put into my report and I will show them around the house if that's possible, this normally buys me a bit of time to get the report drawn up but also gives the client some things to think about before they get the report.

Also, like it has been mentioned, you are only at the house for a few hours (anyone at a house for less than 3 hours or so for a full survey is not doing enough on site work) and we are only human so we do miss things, hopefully your surveyor is competent enough not to miss things and that is why I am trying to gain chartered status (its probably one of the hardest to get and involves a long process involving lost of paper work and presentations/interviews to prove you are competent)

to that end I would use the RICS `find a surveyor` and go with a local chartered surveyor and I would also echo what other people have said, its a fairly small investment for what is a life changing purchase for most people and a decent survey can sometimes aid you in negotiations when looking for a reduction in the price of the property but even if it doesn't you should never consider it a waste of money, is money well spent to know you are buying a decent house.
 
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