Knowing how to choose a chartered surveyor is important once you reach the stage where you need a survey carrying out on a property.
That’s because the survey is one of the most important steps in buying a house. It will identify any issues with the property and provide advice on what needs to be repaired or maintained.
A good survey will stop you from buying a property that you can’t afford to bring up to standard. Even on a property in a good state of repair, a survey will become an essential ‘to-do’ list of jobs once you have moved in.
So, here’s how to choose a chartered surveyor to ensure you get the most informed report at the lowest possible cost.
Why You Need A Chartered Surveyor
We have already touched on why you need a chartered surveyor but, in short, it’s to protect you.
A chartered survey is a highly qualified job. You only become a chartered surveyor once you have passed all of the training requirements and achieved an official qualification from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Chartered surveyors are trained to look out for possible defects and potential problems with a property that the untrained eye may not spot, such as subsidence, damp, and structural defects.
Therefore, spending a couple of hundred pounds on a survey can save you thousands of pounds if it identifies a major issue you hadn’t noticed.
Once you know the issues you can make an informed choice whether to continue with your purchase, negotiate a lower sales price, or pull out of the purchase altogether.
Homebuyers Report Or Building Survey?
There are actually three types of property surveys to consider:
Valuation Survey (Approx £200)
This is commonly the one that your mortgage lender will carry out as a condition of your mortgage. Its primary purpose is to provide an accurate valuation of the property to ensure you are not overpaying for the home.
Although it may point out any major issues that will affect the value of the home, it should not be relied upon to uncover defects.
Condition Report (Approx £300)
This type of survey is designed to complement a valuation survey by going into a little more detail about the exact condition of the property and any repairs that may need to be made.
However, it does not provide advice as to what you should do about any of the issues it uncovers.
Homebuyers Report (Approx £400)
The Homebuyers Report is a more detailed version of the condition report and will check for signs of rot, damp, subsidence, and more.
Furthermore, it will also provide advice on the best way to approach any problems uncovered.
Keep in mind though that it’s a non-intrusive survey so the surveyor won’t drill into walls, move furniture, or pull up floorboards so it’s still limited in what it will uncover.
Building Survey (£500+)
This type of survey is the most expensive but also the most comprehensive. The surveyor will go into the loft space, check under floors and behind walls to uncover every issue they can find.
It will also give you the most detailed advice about how to approach repairs, what they will cost, and what the consequences are of not carrying them out.
It, therefore, gives you the most complete overview of the property and the things you need to be concerned about.
Some chartered surveyors specialise in conducting certain types of surveys. Therefore, deciding which type of survey you require is the first step towards choosing the right chartered surveyor.
How To Find RICS Surveyors
As we mentioned earlier, a chartered surveyor is basically a surveyor that has received an official qualification from RICS. This means you can have confidence they are fully qualified to conduct a proper survey on a property.
Finding RICS surveyors is not that difficult. You can either use the RICS directory to find surveyors near you, or you can use our handy tool to find local RICS surveyors and compare their prices.
Questions To Ask A Property Surveyor
Once you have decided to get a survey carried out on a property, you’ll need to think about the questions to ask potential surveyors before you hire them.
This is an important step in knowing how to choose a chartered surveyor as it will help you narrow them down and ensure you go with the best one for the job.
Here are the key things to ask:
Where Are You Based?
Ideally, you want to use a chartered surveyor that is local to you. That’s because they will be used to surveying properties in your area and therefore will know the specific quirks and common problems properties around you tend to have.
This local knowledge can be vital in spotting any potential subsidence risks or unusual building materials that have been used.
How Much Do You Cost?
While the price of surveys is somewhat consistent across surveyors within a local area, there will still be subtle differences in their price. That’s why we recommend using our free charter surveyor comparison tool.
Clearly, the cheaper you can get the survey done, the better. But, make sure you are still getting the quality you need and that the surveyor is charging enough to justify their time to do it properly.
Do You Have A Sample Report?
Ask any surveyors you are considering for a sample report. Ideally, this will be an actual report they have carried out for someone but with any sensitive information removed.
What you are looking for here is a surveyor who is detailed in their report, not just copying and pasting standard statements and one which is clear in their feedback without simply trying to cover their own back all the time.
Is There Someone Who Can Recommend You?
Don’t be afraid to ask a potential surveyor if you can speak with one of their previous clients who can vouch for them. If they can’t provide that, many will have reviews of their service available for you to read.
Reading what past customers have said can help you narrow down your choice to only the very best surveyors in the area.
How Soon Carry You Carry Out The Survey?
Some surveyors are busier than others, therefore asking how quickly they can carry out your desired survey and get the report back to you is vitally important.
Remember, the sooner you get a survey conducted after having an offer accepted, the better. It will allow you to move forward more quickly, whatever the outcome.
So, check the lead time your surveyor has on providing your report before you give them the go-ahead.
How To Choose A Chartered Surveyor
So, when it comes to knowing how to choose a chartered surveyor, it essentially comes down to the following things:
- Whether the surveyor is a qualified RICS chartered surveyor
- If the surveyor can do the survey you want to carry out
- How local they are to the area the property is located in
- What kind of price they charge
- If they provide a good quality report that’s recommended by others
- How quickly they can carry out the report
Remember, you can find and compare chartered surveyors here to help you choose the right one for you.
What To Ask A Surveyor To Look For
What you should ask a surveyor to look for once you have found one you want to use will depend entirely on the property they are surveying.
If it is one that is in reasonably good condition with nothing standing out as particular issues, it’s probably best to just let the surveyor do their job. They’ll tell you if there is something you need to pay particular attention to.
However, if the owner has mentioned something, or you have spotted something that concerns you, by all means, ask the surveyor to check it and give you their opinion.
Naturally, they will only do it if it falls within their normal checks for the level of survey you are going for but it’s still worth pointing out.
So, we hope that helps you understand how to choose a chartered surveyor to get the best report on a property. If so, the next step is to use our tool to find and compare chartered surveyors in your area.