Questions to Ask Your Property Surveyor
There are many questions to ask when hiring a surveyor to help you understand their background, qualifications and experience. Try to compile a list before comparing surveying quotes. This will help you determine whether they’re the right professional for the job.
There are also a variety of questions to ask your surveyor after a survey to ensure you understand the results.
1. What Surveying Services Do You Offer?
There are 3 main types of property surveys available to you:
- RICS Home Survey Level 1 (Condition Report)
- RICS Home Survey Level 2 (Homebuyers Survey)
- RICS Home Survey Level 3 (Building Survey)
The RICS Home Survey Level 1 or Level 2 will be more in-depth than a mortgage valuation as the surveyor will search for common issues. Whilst more expensive, the RICS Home Survey Level 3 will be even more thorough, highlighting structural issues.
For older buildings, you would require a Level 3 Survey (Building Survey). Whilst more modern properties would be suited to a Level 2 Survey (Homebuyers Survey).
To learn more, read what type of survey do I need?
2. Are You Qualified and RICS Accredited?
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the official body of property professionals. It issues and monitors standards globally.
RICS chartered surveyors are qualified, experienced and will complete the job to the highest quality. All our survey quotes exclusively feature RICS accredited surveyors, so you know you'll be in safe hands.
Whether your surveyor is at AssocRICS, FRICS or MRICS level, you can trust that they will be accurate, reliable and professional. For extra reassurance, you could ask them for a sample report or reference.
For more information, read what is RICS?
3. Approximately How Much Will it Cost?
The average survey cost in the UK is between £290 and £1,390. However, comparing quotes can help you save up to 70% on your final cost.
If the quote is within your budget and you’re happy to proceed, you can begin arranging a date for the property survey.
4. What Will You Be Looking For?
There are different levels of a home survey with each one looking at specific areas and defects.
Some of the more common issues all surveyors look for include:
- Evidence of damp
- Signs of subsidence
- The condition of the services such as electricity and gas
- Any dangerous plants
- Legal issues
- Dangerous materials
To learn more, read what does a surveyor do and look for?
5. Is the Property Worth the Purchase Price?
Your surveyor can only offer a value for the house if you're having a RICS Home Survey Level 2 that includes a valuation.
Your surveyor will provide professional advice and present an estimated cost of repairs. Most surveyors will be happy to discuss the report with you in person or over the phone.
Some issues will be common and unavoidable. However, if there’s a major problem that requires a lot of work, you may want to rethink the transaction. You can use your survey results to negotiate your original offer to cover the cost of repairs.
6. Are There Issues That Require Specialist Work?
Structural issues can be very costly. If the surveyor exposes major concerns, it’s important to discuss what the necessary repairs are. You will also need to ask for an approximate of how much they could cost.
If you’re unsure, contact a builder or contractor to discuss the issues and receive a quote for the work. It can cost you greatly if the issue is ignored or worsens.
You can then either use this information to renegotiate a cheaper price or walk away from the sale. It’s not uncommon for bad survey results to end a transaction.
7. Which Areas Need the Most Repair Work?
This will help you plan a repairs budget and decide which jobs should be completed first.
Discuss the issues and costs with your solicitor and the seller to discover your options.
8. Are There Any Local Issues That May Affect the Property?
Problems such as flooding or heave can be localised so it's recommended you hire a surveyor who is well-accustomed with your area. They could be aware of other local issues such as plans for investment or developments.
It’s up to your solicitor to conduct these types of conveyancing searches to know how to continue with the information obtained.
9. How Well is the Property Insulated?
It’s important to find a home that can keep up with modern heating and energy requirements. Properties with little heat can be expensive, boosting your heating bills.
Ensure you find a surveyor who can thoroughly inspect the heating system and insulation. It may be an added service, but it's better to find out early to put your mind at ease.
10. Could I Be Declined a Mortgage?
There are some factors worth knowing that can discourage mortgage lenders. These include:
- Timber-framed properties
- A thatched roof
- A flat roof
- Non-traditional construction
There may also be a reluctance to lend if the property has been passed down through a family for several generations. This is because it will have a low number of mortgages attached to it.