How To Choose A Chartered Surveyor

A Man Surveying the Area

One of the single most important steps in buying a house is the survey. It’s the one place where you have the opportunity to ensure there are no issues with the property in which you are about to invest. A good survey can help stop you from buying a property that doesn’t meet your expectations or help you change your bid on a property that needs more work than you expected. How do you choose a chartered surveyor who can meet your needs? Here are some tips that can help.

What Is A Chartered Surveyor?

A chartered surveyor is a professional who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Exactly what does a chartered surveyor do? They offer a professional opinion on property-related issues. What is a chartered surveyor’s primary job? To inspect properties to better determine their value and help buyers and owners understand the potential problems for the property in the future.

Do You Need a Surveyor When Buying a House?

Before you find the right chartered surveyor to meet your needs, it may help to better understand why you need one anyway. Most people work with a chartered surveyor when they want a valuation for a home they’re about to purchase. They have the training and knowledge to value land and buildings, but most specialise in one particular area like residential or commercial property.

Chartered surveyors, though, don’t just tell you want a particular building is worth. Instead, they look carefully throughout the building to assess its condition and offer details for any of the structural or environmental problems they’ve uncovered, then provide a list of potential solutions for those problems and the costs that someone might incur.

While working with a chartered surveyor isn’t required, it does mean that you’re getting the opinion of a professional, which is likely something you want when you’re investing as large as a home. Because they’re property experts and have likely worked with your local authority in the past, they can advise you on various topics. They may also be able to help you connect with the services you need after the survey and offer you a few extra details that may affect your property like rights of way.

Many people mistake the bank’s survey as a better way to get to know the property being purchased. This is a massive mistake because the bank’s survey is just an overview of the property itself to help establish the overall value of the property. They don’t look at the property’s structural integrity or any potential problems you might encounter. When you work with a chartered surveyor, however, you’re working with someone who can help you understand exactly the problems and how they can be addressed. They’ll also help you learn more about the cost of addressing those problems.

How To Choose A Surveyor

Wondering how to find a surveyor who can meet your needs? There are several ways to connect with a professional who can help. Start by asking family, friends, and colleagues about surveyors with whom they’ve worked in the past. If you can’t find anyone within your circle who has worked with a chartered surveyor in the past, you may want to search online. There are a few different places to start that search. Perhaps one of your best options is to visit the RICS website. RICS is an acronym for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and they’re one of the primary organisations in the UK that licenses surveyors. Working with an RICS-certified professional is one of the only ways to make certain that you get a professional you can trust. You’ll never wonder about the answer to the question “Is your surveyor qualified,” if you’re working with one of these professionals.

The RICS website offers an incredibly handy tool that helps you locate surveyors near you simply by putting in your zip code or the zip code of the property you’re purchasing. Keep in mind that there are other directories online, and while using one may be helpful, just make certain the professionals you consider are all RICS regulated.

As you begin to make a list of those surveyors with whom you might be interested in working, you’ll likely want to ask questions of those professionals you interview. Not sure what to ask? Here are a few you may want to consider.

  • Are you local to the property? You want a chartered surveyor who is near the property you’re considering purchasing. There’s a fairly simple reason for this, too. They tend to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to properties in the area, so they’re more likely to know a few of the common problems around that area as well as any quirks properties in that area may be most likely to experience. For example, if there’s an unusual subsidence risk in a given area, they’re most likely to know about it. That can be a huge bonus if you’re working to protect your investment.
  • What do your fees involve? Cost is typically at the forefront of most property buyers’ minds. Many wonder about the answer to the question “How much is a survey on a house in the UK.” While it’s absolutely important to budget for this expense, your budget shouldn’t be the only concern involved. In most cases, you’re going to find the price of surveys is consistent across local areas. It tends to change from city to city, but within a given area, you won’t find a lot of price differences. They tend to be fairly subtle. Be sure to ask specifically about the type of survey you want for your home. We’ll talk more about your options in the next section, but ensure you’re comparing the same type of survey from every provider.
  • May I view a sample report? One of the most important things you’ll get from your surveyor is the report of his or her findings. Asking to see a sample report can help you better understand how the professional works. You want someone who provides a detailed report that doesn’t look cookie-cutter in nature. The last thing you want is standard statements copied and pasted from one report to another. Additionally, you’ll want someone who offers you clear feedback about what you can do.
  • Do you have recommendations? If you simply found this surveyor online and you don’t know anyone who has worked with them in the past, you may want to ask for recommendations from clients who can vouch for them. Obtaining some recommendations is a key step in the process of how to find a good surveyor. In some cases, you’ll find they have an entire section of their website dedicated to reviews of their service that you can read. That may help you better connect with customers who have used the surveyor in the past, which may give you the information you need to decide whether this professional is a good fit for you.
  • What is your timeline? You’ll also want to ask about how long the survey may take. If you’re in the middle of trying to buy a house, you know that timing is everything, and the sooner you can get your survey, the sooner you can finalise your offer on that property. Some surveyors, however, are quite busy, so understanding what their timeline might be both for the survey and the report that results from the survey is nothing short of a must.

Choosing the Right Level of Services

When you find a chartered surveyor who meets your needs, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase several different services. What does a chartered surveyor do once you’ve hired them? It depends a bit on the service you purchase. One option is a valuation survey. This is typically the one that your mortgage lender will order for you. The goal of this kind of survey is to offer accurate pricing details of the property to be sure that the bank is not lending money on an overpriced home. It may point out major issues that might affect the home, but it likely won’t uncover any serious defects.

A condition report is another type of survey you can purchase. What does a property surveyor do with this kind of report? It is designed as an add-on product to a valuation survey. It goes into additional details about the property itself and tells what repairs may need to be made. It doesn’t typically provide any advice as to what must happen regarding the issues the surveyor uncovered.

However, the best option for most people buying a home is a Homebuyers Report. What does a surveyor do in the UK with this option? It is one of the more detailed options you can purchase from a chartered surveyor, and it helps you spot signs of rot, dampness, and even subsidence. More than that, though, it offers information on the best way to solve any problems that the surveyor uncovered. If you’re concerned this type of report is too invasive, don’t be. The surveyor is a bit limited in that there is no drilling into walls, moving furniture, or pulling up floorboards, so you won’t know everything, but you will find out quite a bit.

The most detailed option you can purchase is a building survey. What do chartered surveyors do with this type of report? Here the surveyor goes into the loft space, checks under the floors, and looks behind the walls to uncover every possible issue. This kind of survey offers plenty of detailed advice regarding how to approach any necessary repairs, what they might cost, and what might happen if you choose not to make those repairs. While this is the most expensive kind of survey, it’s a great way to get a complete look at a property before you make the purchase.

How to Become a Chartered Surveyor

Interested now in exactly how these professionals work? Think it might be the right career path for you? It’s a growing field, and many people are considering this option. What surveyors do before they can qualify to become surveyors becomes apprentices. You’ll need to work at least thirty hours a week, and the amount of time your apprenticeship takes depends a bit on whether you want to go through an advanced apprenticeship or a degree apprenticeship. You can also attend university to get a degree in a relevant subject area.

Hiring a Chartered Surveyor When Buying a House

If you intend to purchase a home shortly, the single best thing you can do to protect your investment is to work with a chartered surveyor. Learning how to find a surveyor when buying a house is an important step in that equation. A surveyor is the one person who can truly make sure you’re getting the kind of investment that meets your needs, so begin your search for the right professional as soon as you’ve identified a property that truly meets your needs. The sooner you can connect with someone who can help, the faster you’ll be able to have your survey completed!

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