How to Choose a Good Chartered Surveyor

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The services of a chartered surveyor are vital when selling or buying a house, and form a crucial part of valuing your home, deciding on renovations and choosing home insurance. Finding a good chartered surveyor can be challenging, and particularly so for first-time buyers. To help, we've compiled the key information you'll need to choose the right tradesman for the job:

Decide on a service

You will be able to discuss specific requirements with your surveyor, but in general, chartered surveyors offer three main surveys. A 'Condition Report' is used primarily to confirm property condition and flag up concerns. Specifically surveyors will assess:

• The construction and condition of the property on the inspection date
• Any problems that are serious or need urgent attention
• Things that need to be investigated further to prevent serious damage
• Problems that may be hazardous

In addition to the above, a 'Home Buyer Service', which is the usual service not just for homebuyers, but for those looking into big renovations, will provide:

• A market valuation
• An extensive roof space and underground drainage inspection
• Help to prepare a budget for any repairs or restoration
• Advice on the amount of on-going maintenance required in the future
• Help to decide whether you need extra advice before committing to purchase

A 'Building Survey' will NOT provide a market valuation, but offers the following additional services, usually important for big investments:

• A description of visible defects, and potential problems posed by hidden defects
• An outline of repair options, along with a repair timeline and an explanation of the risks of not acting
• A longer and more detailed visual inspection of a wider range of issues, including the roof space, grounds and floors

Finding a surveyor

All chartered surveyors must be qualified through, and registered with, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The institute then maintains a database of all practising surveyors in the UK, so all you have to do is head over to their search page to find one in your local area.

Knowing your price

The price depends on the service you choose, your location, and the size and complexity of your property. Prices also vary between surveyors, so we advise you get several quotes.

Using property value as a guide, you can expect to pay something in the region of the following prices (guideline only) for a house valued between £200,000 and £400,000:

• For a Condition Report: £180
• For a Home Buyer Service: £440-480
• For a Building Survey: £610-730

Getting a quote

Checking credentials is hugely important when selecting any type of tradesman, to ensure you’re hiring someone with the right experience who will provide good value for money. Examples of areas you may want to ask about when getting a quote from a chartered surveyor are:

• Local knowledge
• Experience with similar/specific types of property
• Qualifications in any specific areas. In general you will encounter building surveyors, but you may require a construction, environmental or rural surveyor
• The length of time the surveyor has been practising
• Professional indemnity cover
• The price and service for each survey

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