How to choose a surveyor

Mature man examining damp patch on wall Image downloaded by anonymous anonymous at 11:51 on the 21/03/16

The asking price for homes across England and Wales hit an all-time record of £299,287 in February 2016.

Mature man examining damp patch on wall Image downloaded by anonymous anonymous at 11:51 on the 21/03/16

With an ever-increasing amount of money at stake, homebuyers are advised to arm themselves with all the information available about a property before committing themselves to its purchase.

If done right, a survey gives homebuyers an honest and accurate look into the complete condition of a property, including its shortcomings and any potential defects which need to be repaired.

Here’s how to find an experienced surveyor will be able to assess and identify the risks involved in a property purchase.

Choose someone local

A good local surveyor will know the area and will be aware of any potential hazards in the region, such as the geological composition of the land on which your property is built or any common problems with houses on your street. This means that they will know exactly what to look out for when they are conducting your survey, meaning that ultimately you’ll get the most accurate survey.

Go for experience

An established surveyor will be able to draw on their previous knowledge to provide you with the most comprehensive, accurate survey possible. Less experienced surveyors may feel inclined to use automatic software to calculate a price. However, while this will get you a fast result, it won’t necessarily be as accurate. When it comes to property, there is no substitute for an experienced surveyor who knows exactly what they’re talking about and who will be able to explain every step of what they’re doing to reassure you.

Cheap and convenient vs Professional and a little pricey

Price should be a consideration, but not necessarily the be all and end all of your decision. Get quotes from surveyors over the phone to find out about their fees. If one is charging significantly less than the others, take this as a warning sign. Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to housing.

Equally, though, don’t get ripped off. As the housing market slowly recovers, surveyors know that people will be looking to move quickly, so some will try to get away with charging inflated prices for the privilege of their surveys. When in doubt opt for an established, well-known family run firm.

You should think about the type of survey you need. Don’t be tempted to settle for something less comprehensive and detailed than you need just because it’s cheaper. This will help you narrow down the choice, as you will only be able to choose from the pool of surveyors offering the exact service you need. Find out exactly what they’re offering, and compare it against the list of things you need to know to make sure everything is covered.

As there are a wide range of different surveys and reports out there, it is important to know what you want and why. For example, older properties would benefit more from a Historic Survey with an experienced surveyor, whereas newer properties are more of a free for all when it comes to looking for an experienced surveyors. If you know exactly what you are looking for in a report, you are more likely to have good results.

Article provided by Sara Bryant, working with Brian Gale Surveyors, members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who were consulted over this post.