What do surveyors do

What do Surveyors Do? Guidance for Homebuyers 

When buying a property, it’s sensible to get professional guidance on certain elements of the process, and this might leave you wondering; ‘What do surveyors do?’

In this guide, we explore how surveyors can safeguard your purchase and ensure that your new home meets certain standards and expectations. 

What do surveyors do? 

Surveyors provide detailed assessments of properties on behalf of a buyer that typically shares information on the condition and value. They can identify structural problems, advise on works that may need to be carried out and sometimes verify compliance with certain standards. 

Combining their knowledge of construction, regulations, and property markets, surveyors offer insights that go beyond the superficial appearance of a property, this is incredibly useful information for someone buying a property. 

The process of buying a home is both exciting and daunting, with various steps to navigate before the keys are handed over. Among these steps, the role of a surveyor stands out as pivotal. 

Do I need a survey?

It is generally a sensible idea to have a survey on a property before you buy it.  

Whilst vendors and their agents are transparent in listing and typically provide as much information as possible, a survey can highlight issues that could affect the property’s value and influence your purchasing decision. 

It is especially advisable to commission a survey if there are particular concerns about any aspect of the property if its condition is unclear, or if the property is aged, architecturally unique, has a thatched roof, timber framing, or is a protected historical structure. 

Choosing the Right Type of Survey

Selecting the right survey depends on various factors, including the property’s age, condition, and your specific concerns. A newer home might only require a homebuyer’s report, while older or visibly deteriorated properties could benefit from a comprehensive building survey. 

There are a number of different surveys to consider:

Condition Report

Utilises a straightforward ‘traffic light’ rating to indicate property status.

HomeBuyer Report

A more extensive mid-tier assessment providing detailed insights, it advises on potential further analysis and financial planning for repairs.

Building Survey

Often referred to as a full structural survey, it is pricier but offers a thorough evaluation.

Mortgage Valuation

Undertaken by the lending institution to verify the property’s market worth.

New-Build Snagging Survey

Detects any deficiencies in newly constructed properties.

Is a Mortgage Valuation the Same as a Survey?

The Mortgage Valuation Survey is often misconstrued as a comprehensive property assessment, but its scope is considerably narrower. This survey’s primary purpose is to satisfy the lender that the property you intend to purchase is worth the price you are willing to pay, at least in the context of securing the mortgage. 

It is a cursory check to ensure the property’s market value aligns with the loan amount. The surveyor will visit the property briefly to ensure there are no significant issues that could adversely affect its value. 

However, this is not a detailed report on the condition of the property, and it may not uncover defects unless they are immediately apparent. It is purely for the mortgage lender’s security and should not be relied upon solely when deciding to purchase a home.

Choosing a Surveyor

Choosing the right surveyor is as crucial as selecting the appropriate survey. Look for professionals with specific accreditations, such as membership in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and ensure they have experience with your type of property and location.

It’s also a good idea to confirm a surveyors report turnaround in advance of instructing them. If you need a fairly quick turnaround you need to ensure they can meet your timeline before you instruct them. 

How to choose a surveyor

Compare options: It’s sensible to gather quotes from multiple providers. The selling agent may be able to recommend several local companies who can help. 

Verify credentials: Ensure the surveyor is affiliated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), identifiable by the designations MRICS or FRICS, or is an active member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association, which upholds professional standards.

Understand the report: Be aware of potential disclaimers in survey reports that may cause uncertainty. It’s prudent to request to see a sample report to determine their relevance to your specific needs. 

Get the most out of your survey

Before they visit the property it’s useful to inform your surveyor of specific issues you’re concerned about regarding the property. 

Discuss your particular worries, should you have any, and request a thorough examination of these areas. While it’s beneficial to familiarise yourself with a surveyor’s role, directly communicating your concerns is equally important.

If you have serious concerns and the result of the survey is key to your decision to proceed further with a purchase, consider requesting to join the surveyor during the final stages of their visit, allowing you to highlight and discuss any particular areas of concern. 

Upon Completion of the Survey

The surveyor will create a detailed report summarising their findings. It is imperative to meticulously review this report and consider any serious issues flagged that will require immediate action or are a potential negotiation point with the seller. 

Should any part of the report be ambiguous or necessitate further clarification, you should not hesitate to consult the surveyor. Utilising the survey’s insights, prospective buyers should strategise for any requisite repairs or enter negotiations on the property’s price, taking into account the gravity of any highlighted issues. 

In cases where significant concerns arise, seeking additional opinions or quotations from specialists, like structural engineers or electricians, is advisable. 

What do Surveyors Do?

The role of surveyors in the home buying process cannot be overstated. By providing detailed reports on a property’s condition, surveyors enable buyers to make informed decisions, negotiate better deals, and avoid unforeseen costs. 

Engaging a qualified surveyor is an investment in peace of mind. 

To talk to a member of our team about moving home, please do get in touch