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Questions to Ask Your Property Surveyor

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Mike Ashton

7th May 2019 (Last updated on 4th Oct 2021) 9 minute read

A property surveyor is a specialist who assesses properties to uncover any defects or structural issues that will need future attention. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a property, it's important to find a surveyor who can help you discover any issues that will affect the overall value of the building.

Before comparing surveyors, it’s important to compile a list of useful questions to determine they’re the right person for you. Understanding their qualifications and experience is vital when hiring a reliable surveyor. There are a variety of questions to ask your surveyor before and after a survey to ensure you understand the results. Getting a building survey quote ensures you won't pay over the odds, either.

10 Questions to Ask Your Surveyor
  1. 1. What Surveying Services Do You Offer?
  2. 2. Are You Qualified and RICS Accredited?
  3. 3. Approximately How Much Will it Cost?
  4. 4. What Will You Be Looking for Specifically?
  5. 5. Is the Property Worth the Purchase Price?
  6. 6. Are There Any Issues That'll Require Specialist Work?
  7. 7. Which Areas Need the Most Repair Work?
  8. 8. Any Local Issues That May Affect the Property?
  9. 9. How Well is the Property Insulated?
  10. 10. Could I Be Declined a Mortgage on this Property?
  11. Learn More About Surveying

1. What Surveying Services Do You Offer?

Before booking a property survey, it’s important to understand the types of survey available and the ones that your surveyor is qualified to complete. With this in mind, one of the first questions to ask your potential surveyor is, “What services do you offer?”

There are 3 main types of property surveys available to you:

Once you’re aware of which survey you'll need, it's important to check that the surveyor you’re interested in is capable of conducting it accurately. If you’re looking for a simple home valuation for your mortgage lender, then a property valuation is all you would need, however, this isn’t a thorough inspection.

A Condition Report or Homebuyers report will go more in-depth and the surveyor will search for common issues found in most properties. A Condition Report or home buyers survey quote at Compare My Move will find all the local surveyors who can do this for you. For older buildings, you would require a Building Survey to look even further into the structure and condition of the building. Our Building Survey quotes will find you a surveyor who can look at specific areas connected to older or more unusual buildings.

2. Are You Qualified and RICS Accredited?

Once you find a surveyor who is able to complete the survey type you require, you should then ask if they’re qualified and RICS accredited. Never be afraid to ask for someone’s history or qualifications if it means ensuring that your money is well spent and that your property is in the hands of a professional.

RICS stands for The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It'ss the official body of property professionals that issue and monitor standards globally. Due to the standards set by this organisation, you can ensure that any RICS surveyor is qualified, experienced and trustworthy enough to complete the job to the highest of quality. All our survey quotes exclusively feature RICS accredited surveyors, so you know you're in safe hands.

Whether your surveyor is at AssocRICS, FRICS or MRICS level, you can trust that the survey will be accurate, reliable and professional. For extra reassurance, you could even ask them for a sample report or reference to provide evidence of their previous work.

3. Approximately How Much Will it Cost?

Now that you’re confident with your chosen surveyor, it’s time to ask the important questions. “How much will the survey cost?”, “How long could it take?”, “What dates are you available?”, these are all common questions that you should ask anyone you’re considering hiring.

These are the technical questions to prepare yourself before the survey. Through these questions, you can come to an agreement that all parties are content with. If the property surveying cost is within your budget and you’re happy to proceed, you can begin arranging a date for the survey.

Getting a building survey quote from Compare My Move will match you with RICS accredited surveyors in your local area. Then it's as easy as speaking to your local surveyors to get the best deal.

4. What Will You Be Looking for Specifically?

The next question to ask your surveyor would be what they’ll be looking for. You should have a basic understanding of the issues that could be uncovered by a property survey by the survey type requested. However, there are different levels of survey, with each one looking at specific areas and defects of the property.

For example, the main objective of a Homebuyers survey is for the surveyor to make an informed and professional judgement on whether or not the buyer should proceed with the purchase. The surveyor will check the general condition of the property to ensure the asking price reflects the condition of the property. They’ll search for any major or minor faults like damp in walls and the condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage.

There’s also the option of adding another level to the Homebuyers survey, by asking for a valuation. If you opt for the survey and valuation in one, then the surveyor will include all of the above as well as the estimated cost of the rebuilding of the property after a fire (for insurance purposes) and the value of the property on the open market. This means that they will be assessing the property as stated above whilst also assessing its overall worth.

For a full building survey, the surveyor will require more access to the property as the inspection is more thorough. It’s the most comprehensive report, mostly needed for larger or older properties. The report will be more in-depth, including advice on any defects, repairs and maintenance options. The surveyor will require access to every area of the property as they look for major and minor defects, structural damage, damp, damage to timbers and technical information on the construction of the property.

If you discuss the type of survey you’ll require with your trusted surveyor, then you can better prepare the property for their arrival. Ensure a clear path and easy access to all areas to ensure a completed and accurate report.

To learn more, read what does a surveyor do and look for.

5. Is the Property Worth the Purchase Price?

Now that your chartered surveyor has conducted the survey, it’s time to think about the value of the property. Your surveyor can only offer a value for the house if you're having a homebuyer report that includes a valuation, but you will pay extra for this. Ultimately, deciding whether the purchase price is accurate is your choice. You can base your choice on the report and findings from your surveyor, along with their advice.

Property surveys uncover any issues, defects or structural damage present. Some of these may be common issues that many properties will contain. However, if there’s a major problem that will require a lot of work and extra costs, you may want to rethink the transaction. You can also use your survey results to negotiate your original offer to cover the cost for repairs.

Most surveyors will be happy to discuss the report with you either in person or over the phone. If you're unsure about anything, don’t be afraid to contact them and ask. They understand that this is an important process for you so if you need a more thorough discussion then simply ask.

6. Are There Any Issues That'll Require Specialist Work?

The previous question should prompt the answer to this one too, but, again, it's always better to clarify. Minor issues like damp or leaking fixtures can be easily fixed, but structural issues can be very costly. If the surveyor exposes any major concerns, it’s important to discuss what the necessary repairs are and approximately how much they could cost you.

If you’re unsure about the cost or the work required, contact a builder or contractor to discuss the issues and receive a quote for their work. It can cost you greatly if the issue is ignored or begins to worsen.

You can then either use this information to renegotiate a cheaper purchase price with the seller or simply walk away from the transaction altogether. It’s not uncommon for bad survey results to end a transaction. If no documents have been signed or exchanged, then the property has not been sold. The buyer is still within their rights to walk away if they believe the building is too damaged or costly.

This is also a good time to ask about additional surveys like a damp survey, electrical survey, drainage survey etc. If there are minor issues that need looking into, you can request additional surveys to get to the root cause of the problems and discover how to overcome them. Your current surveyor may provide these services or they may be able to recommend other qualified surveyors.

7. Which Areas Need the Most Repair Work?

If you’re still considering purchasing the property, you may want to ask the surveyor which areas need the most work so that you can start a repairs budget and plan which job should be completed first.

If the repairs are major but still haven’t put you off the property, you may be able to use the survey results to negotiate the house price down. Discuss the issues and costs with your solicitor and the seller to discover your options.

8. Any Local Issues That May Affect the Property?

Another crucial question to ask your surveyor is if there are any local issues that could affect your property. Problems like flooding or heave can be localised and so it's recommended to hire a surveyor who is well-accustomed with your area. They could also be aware of other local issues like plans for investment or developments in the vicinity that could affect the property’s value.

These are all issues that a surveyor can initially make you aware of but it’s up to your solicitor to conduct these types of conveyancing searches to know how to continue with the information obtained. They will conduct a more detailed investigation into these issues as well as a variety of other searches to inquire about the condition and history of the property.

9. How Well is the Property Insulated?

A question often forgotten, is whether or not the property is well 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 in the long run, boosting your heating bills. Ensure that 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 and will put your mind at ease.

10. Could I Be Declined a Mortgage on this Property?

One of our final questions to ask your surveyor is whether or not there would be any reason that you’d find it difficult to acquire a mortgage for the property. There are some factors worth knowing that can discourage some lenders.

Some examples are if the property is timber-framed, has a thatched roof, is non-traditional construction or has a mainly flat roof. These issues can make the process harder and so it’s best to get an expert opinion before continuing. There may also be a reluctance to lend if the property has been passed down a family for several generations with a low number of mortgages attached to it.

These are all crucial questions to ask to ensure a smoother transaction and peace of mind for the buyer. The main goal of any survey is to determine whether or not the property will be a good investment. With this in mind, you need to make sure that the surveyor is professional, reliable and able to answer every question.

Learn More About Surveying

This is part of our guide to surveying. Next, we will take a look at what you can do to prepare for a survey. To learn more read how to prepare for a survey.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

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.