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How to Find a RICS Surveyor

Martha Lott

Written by Reviewed by Mike Ashton

2nd Jul 2019 (Last updated on 29th Sep 2021) 7 minute read

Once you’ve found a house or flat you want to make an offer on, you will need to find a surveyor to carry out the correct type of property survey. The best way to find a surveyor is by comparison websites that you trust. You should only choose a RICS regulated surveyor to ensure you receive a high standard of service from a surveyor with in-depth knowledge of the surveying industry.

If you’re feeling confused about finding a surveyor when you're buying a house, you’re in the right place. We've put together the ultimate guide on how to find a good chartered surveyor. This guide will help you with your search for a trusted and verified chartered surveyor, from when you’ll need to start looking, to where to find the best surveyor.

This article will cover the following:
  1. How to Choose a Surveyor
  2. Where to Find a Surveyor
  3. When Do I Need a Surveyor?
  4. What is RICS?
  5. What to Look for When Finding a Surveyor
  6. Learn More About Surveying

How to Choose a Surveyor

Knowing how to find a reliable chartered surveyor can be tricky. If they are regulated by RICS, you know you can relax. Don’t be afraid to ask your surveyor questions to know exactly what they’ll be doing for you.

A study by RICS revealed that 4 in 5 of home owners bought their property without having a survey, leading to significant repair bills later down the line. You shouldn't underestimate the value in finding a qualified and verified surveyor.

Here are some other ways to find a good surveyor.

1. Accreditations

You should only hire a chartered surveyor that’s regulated by RICS. They will be fully qualified surveyors, giving you peace of mind throughout the survey. Before choosing your surveyor, you could ask them for more information on their surveying experience and service for further peace of mind. Use the search tool on RICS to ensure your surveyor is accredited.

2. Recommendations

Ask your family and friends if they can recommend a surveyor that they’ve previously used. You can trust your family and friends to only put you in touch with a good surveyor. You’ll be reassured knowing that they did a good job for someone you trust.

3. Price

You should compare surveying costs to get the best price for the job. Be wary if a company is offering their service at a low price as there is a good chance there could be hidden fees, or they could be offering a poor service with rushed inspections and low-quality reports. Be careful if a company is offering a high price too, they could be ripping you off. Many people opt to go for the middle ground and compare surveyors.

4. Reviews

Check, check and triple check the surveyor’s reviews before you make a decision. Look for a company that has mainly 5-star reviews. It goes without saying, you should avoid companies that have generally bad reviews at all costs.

Where to Find a Surveyor

Finding the right surveyor when you’re looking to buy a house will give you peace of mind throughout the process. Below we list the best methods to find a reliable and verified surveyor to help with your house purchase.

1. Comparison Websites

Using a comparison website to find a surveyor is the safest way to go about it. You’ll be provided with a few choices of chartered surveyors to take your pick from. When you’re looking for a surveyor, Compare My Move will connect you with up to 5 surveyors so you can compare surveying quotes, getting the best possible price for the survey.

2. Local Surveying Companies

It’ll make more sense to choose a surveyor that is local to you. They will have more knowledge of the local area and could come in handy if you’re buying a listed building or a less conventional property.

3. Independent Surveyors

You’re likely to get a better service for your surveying cost if you pick an independent surveyor rather than a large company. Big surveying firms are carrying out hundreds of surveys a day and will lack a personalised service, whereas an independent surveyor will take the time to get to know the property and your situation, and will usually be happy to help with follow-up help and advice.

It's usually best to have your own ‘independent’ expert who is not related to the transaction and is truly ‘independent’ of the sale. Many of the larger firms rely on successful sales to help them sell related services, such as mortgage valuations, insurance, conveyancing, and the like, and have reciprocal work-sharing arrangements with other large firms offering these services. Many vendors prefer to find their own surveyor who they instruct directly, and who does not receive any incentives from other parties who might be related to the sale.

4. Specialist Services

If the property you’re going to be buying has complications or requires specific specialist care and knowledge, you can narrow down your search for a surveyor. If the property has a damp problem, see if your surveyor can also offer a damp survey, too. This won’t always be possible, but it’s always a good idea to talk to the surveyor and see if they can pay particular attention to any specific concerns that you have

When Do I Need a Surveyor?

You will need to organise a property survey to be carried out by a RICS registered chartered surveyor when you’ve found a house that you want to buy. You may be wondering, what type of survey do I need? That’ll depend on the type of house you are buying:

If the property you’re buying is a new-build - You will need a snagging list if you’re buying a new build home. There shouldn’t be major issues as the house hasn't been previously owned, so there isn't always a need for a traditional property survey, although many people also like to arrange a Condition Report just to be sure and pick up on any significant matters that sometimes arise.

If the property you’re buying is conventional and fairly new - You will usually need a home condition report if the property is modern, recently built and remains in a good condition. This survey is the most basic and will tend to focus on any key areas of significant concern, but will leave out much of the detail of the other reports where it doesn’t apply.

If the property you’re buying is less than 50 years old - You will probably need a homebuyer report if the house you’re buying is relatively new, built with modern and common materials. This is the most common survey, it’s also cheaper than a building survey.

If the property you’re buying is over 50 years old - You will need a building survey if the house you’re buying is an older or listed building that needs or has had major renovation work. This is the most comprehensive survey as it will carry out an in-depth assessment of the house.

What is RICS?

RICS, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, is the official body that monitors and regulates chartered surveyors. You should only hire a surveyor that is regulated by RICS so you have peace of mind that your survey will be carried out by a qualified and experienced professional.

You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of finding a RICS surveyor for your house purchase. RICS will be responsible for the regulation and conduct of its members, meaning they should take action if you were to complain about your surveyor’s behaviour.

What to Look for When Finding a Surveyor

There are certain factors you should consider when you’re looking for a surveyor. Your requirements will depend on your situation and the type of property you’re buying. Below are the requirements that you should make sure your surveyor should have before choosing one.

Your surveyor should:

  • Be regulated by RICS.
  • Be experienced and qualified.
  • Be able to carry out the specific survey you need.
  • Be knowledgeable on your local area.
  • Have good reviews.
  • Not charge too much or too little for the survey. You should expect to get what you pay for and you are looking to engaging a competent professional, so you should expect to pay a fair price for the survey report.

When you compare surveyors with Compare My Move, you'll have the peace of mind knowing we have verified each and every surveyor before they can join us.

Learn More About Surveying

This article is part of our guide to surveying. Next we'll explore everything you need to know about mortgage valuations. To learn more read what is a mortgage valuation.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having written for Huffington Post and Film Criticism Journal, Martha now regularly researches and writes advice articles for everything moving house related.

Mike Ashton

Reviewed by Mike Ashton

Director at Cambridge Building Surveyors, Cambridge Building Surveyors

With over 20 years of experience in the property surveying industry, Mike Ashton is now the director at Cambridge Building Surveyors.