Buying a home can sometimes feel overwhelming - wondering if this is the right property for you, if it's a good investment and if there's anything you're missing can be exhausting.
The importance of getting a survey can’t be understated – it can give you a clear idea of the state of the property, highlight any issues and can save you money further down the line if you need to make repairs.
It can also provide a bargaining chip, with an expert approximation of what work will need to be done, and how much it will cost.
Have a look at our negotiating guide to work out how to use a survey's results to suggest a new price to your seller.
But how can you choose the right surveyor?
Firstly it’s important to be able to compare a variety of experienced, highly qualified professionals, and know upfront what their prices are and what they’ll offer. Here are the things youshould be taking into account when comparing surveyors:
You may have had recommendations for surveyors, but if they’re not in your area, they’re not much use, for example if you currently live in London but are moving to York. It’s important to be able to pick a professional in the right area, especially as they might have local knowledge or an understanding of typical building work in that location.
The best way to assess a Building Surveyor is to read what their previous customers think about them. We use reviews to choose restaurants, holiday locations and almost everything else, so it makes sense to look at feedback when choosing a service like this too.
It’s easy to simply choose the cheapest option, but sometimes it’s about seeing what the comparable options are, and if you get anything more for your money. Remember, whilst a survey is a cost, it's something that can save you a huge amount of money in the long run.
Have a look at our breakdown of typical survey costs.
Always choose a RICS regulated surveyor (we only use RICS regulated firms on reallymoving). RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
, which means the professionals you choose will have to adhere to a strict code of conduct,
and if you do have any issues with the service you received, you can go to RICS for more information.
Many RICS regulated surveyors will also be Chartered Surveyors
Offering the right survey
There are different options when it comes to surveys, depending on the age and condition of the property – you may need a HomeBuyer’s Report (Level 2 survey)
or a Building Survey (Level 3 survey).
These options may or may not include valuations.
Have a look at our article 'Which Survey Do I Need?' for more information.
Remember – a mortgage valuation
is NOT the same thing as a survey. That will only tell you how much your lender believes your home to be worth. You will still need a survey to assess the property.
Perhaps you’re on a tight deadline? Pick a surveyor who specialises in a quick turnaround. This will also depend on availability. If you’re not in a rush, you don’t have to pick this service, but efficiency is always helpful. most surveyors will be able to tell you what their availability is, and how long it takes them to write up the report before you book them.
You receive the report after the surveyor has carried out their visit. Sometimes they include photographs, but even without them, the report will highlight any areas for concern in the property. Reports are written in clear, straightforward language, with minimal jargon. After all, your report could be a bargaining chip with the seller, you want to be able to understand what it means.
Pick a surveyor who is happy to be in contact with you, whether that is answering your questions before you book, explaining which survey you need, or calling you to go through the report after you’ve received it, making sure you understand.
Updated November 2022 by Jeremy Greer