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Choosing the right surveyor

Choosing a surveyor and a survey type can be difficult if you are buying a home or an investment property. Despite the property looking sound, there could be problems you cannot see that a surveyor may detect. Below we set out what to look for when choosing a surveyor, together with the types of surveys they offer.

What is a surveyor’s job?

A surveyor may be an additional expense at a time when finances are tight; however, it is essential to invest in a property survey, and it could save you a lot of money in the long term.

A good surveyor will detect any problems that you cannot see from a visual inspection. In addition, their experience and training will give you peace of mind that the property purchase is sound and worthwhile.

Surveys offer several advantages:

Is the amount my mortgage provider used to value my property enough?

RICS-qualified surveyors can undertake a comprehensive survey of your house, checking the building materials, ensuring that everything is in good condition, and checking to see whether the purchase will be a good investment. When your mortgage provider conducts a survey, they simply check whether the house is worth the amount you’re paying.

When choosing a surveyor, keep these tips in mind.

It can be a daunting experience to purchase a house. It is likely to be the most significant investment you will ever make, and you want to be sure you make the right choice. If you’re purchasing a used property, it is always a good idea to have a full survey (unless it is a new build covered by the NHBC guarantee). The Charles Cox Property Group has a qualified surveyor on our team who is RICS qualified. Our surveyor works on our group properties and for other individuals looking to purchase a new home or an investment property.

The kind of property you are purchasing.

The kind of property you are purchasing will determine which surveying company you hire. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the surveyor you choose is suitably experienced with the style and age of your property. Choose a surveyor with experience with similar types of properties.

What to ask

Before hiring a surveyor, you should ask a few important questions. These include:

Your financial plan.

Choosing a surveyor is directly connected to your budget. Surveyor costs can vary significantly. It would be best if you didn’t go for the cheapest one; however, the most expensive one may not be relevant to you. Before selecting a surveyor, ask for several quotations, and be sure you understand what each quote covers.

References and credentials.

It is essential to choose a surveyor with excellent qualifications and references. If you can, ask around and find someone who is recommended to you; look at their third-party reviews and check out their credentials at RICS, which list their members.

Requests for recommendations can be made.

Someone who has just purchased a home may be able to recommend surveyors they have used in the past and trusted. Remember that if an estate agent recommends someone, they are most likely working on commission.

Seek advice and guidance from experienced people.

You will want someone to assist you and guide you, not just prepare a report and send it to you.

It’s vital to get information from your surveyor about the property, and it’s even better if you can get information straight from the horse’s mouth. If you talk to your surveyor enough, you’ll get information that might help you negotiate a lower price.

Spotting issues early is critical.

Having a rough idea of what the survey will find out should help you determine what type of surveyor you need and what services they should provide.

Types of property surveys.

The variety of property surveys is wide; they are property health checks. If you are buying a home or buy-to-let, you can choose between 3 levels of building survey: 

  1. A full building survey (also known as Level 3 or Full Structural survey)
  2. A homebuyer survey (Level 2)
  3. A Condition Survey (Level1)

Your survey can be used to negotiate the price and help you decide whether to purchase or not. They are also beneficial if you are selling a property, so you can be aware of any issues and prevent a sale from falling through late in the proceedings.

If you own the home, a Specific Defect Survey will advise you on any required remedial measures and costs.

A Level 3 Full Building Survey.

This report will provide a comprehensive assessment of the condition and structure of the property. It will also include approximate costs for repairs that are required. In addition, this survey will provide you with a thorough overview of the property you buy, including age, condition, and large and unusual features. This survey is recommended if you plan to undertake improvements to the property.

Level 2 home buyer’s survey

This type of survey provides a visual inspection of the property. It will identify any issues such as damp, subsidence, or roof damage. Floorboards or walls are not included in this level of survey. If your property is relatively new, a conventional build and appears in reasonable condition, this is generally the type of survey that most buyers choose.

Level 1 Condition Report

Some surveying companies offer Level 1 Condition reports. These are short assessments giving the property’s condition in its current state. These surveys are only suited to modern properties in good condition.

The choice lies with the buyer, but the peace of mind that a full building survey provides is undoubtedly worthwhile. It is crucial to think through this carefully, as you may choose to refrain from proceeding with your purchase if the issues are extreme. However, most problems can be fixed, but the purchase price needs to reflect any remedial or building work.

Are you a landlord who requires a survey?

If you would like to talk this through with a surveyor or book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 01323 894400 or use our contact form, or read more on how we survey our managed properties.

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