How to Choose a Property Surveyor

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

Searching for a new home can be exhausting; trawling property sites, fielding calls from estate agents and spending evenings and weekends travelling to viewings often only to be disappointed can take its toll. The whole process can be confusing and overwhelming, which is why it’s essential to have the right team of professionals supporting you as you make decisions. But, when it comes to a surveyor, what should you look for, and how do you go about finding someone suitable?

Why do I need a surveyor?

Your surveyor will carry out the property survey and so plays a crucial role in making sure the condition of the property is as expected and the price you’re paying is fair. Given the fact that there could be serious financial implications if you don’t have a survey or it isn’t sufficiently thorough, it’s worth taking the time to find a surveyor who understands your needs and the local property market. In fact, the average repair bill for those who decide not to have a professional survey is £6,000, so a survey can be a very wise investment. Your estate agent may even recommend a surveyor to you. If this is the case, be sure to check if they’re independent. If your agent pays referral fees, you may not receive an impartial service, and potential conflicts of interest could arise.

Key factors to consider when appointing a surveyor

With that in mind, there are a few aspects to think about when choosing a surveyor

1. Are they impartial?

While it may seem sensible to take recommendations from your mortgage broker or estate agent when it comes to choosing a surveyor, think twice before doing so. The appointed surveyor may be more concerned with maintaining their relationship with the estate agent rather than providing you with the best possible service. The importance of an independent and knowledgeable surveyor really shouldn’t be underestimated.

2. The services they offer

There are different options when it comes to surveys, so it’s essential that your chosen firm offers one that suits your needs and the property you’re buying. If you’re buying a new-build or a property that is just a few years old, for example, a full structural survey would be a waste of money. In this situation, Novello offers the much more appropriate – and cost-effective – HomeLevel Report, a concise, economical, expert survey report that can be suitable for houses and flats in a reasonable condition and worth less than £1,000,000.

Carried out by RICS chartered surveyors and equivalent to the RICS HomeBuyer Report, it goes above and beyond by providing additional information such as broadband speed estimates and advice on energy efficiency and asbestos, as well as thoroughly examining at least 20 crucial interior and exterior elements of your property.

If you’re buying directly from the developer, we also offer a Snagging List service. Here a specialist snagging list inspector will thoroughly inspect your house and compile a comprehensive list of everything that isn’t immaculate. We’ll even provide you with fair estimates for the costs of repairs and a photographic report for ease of understanding, all for just a few hundred pounds.

For a more comprehensive survey, Novello offers bespoke building surveys to provide a detailed insight into a property’s true condition and an accurate estimate of repair costs. These are particularly suited to older homes that have been adapted and extended over the years.

By choosing a company that offers various options, all delivered by experienced and impartial specialists, you can be sure that you’ll get the information you need to make an informed decision.

3. Price

As with all elements of buying a house, the cost involved will also be a factor; however, don’t necessarily go with the cheapest option. The trick is to compare a few quotes and see what is actually being offered. Remember, having a survey suited to the property’s style and age and that delivers clear, accurate information is essential, so look for a surveyor who offers this and is responsive and knowledgeable when you contact them.

4. Location

Local knowledge is invaluable when it comes to your survey, so choose someone located in the area in which you’re buying. Having dealt with recent sales, a local surveyor will have a much clearer idea of property values in the area. They will also know of any likely quirks or features of properties that may need to be investigated more thoroughly.

5. RICS certified

You may have seen the phrase RICS Regulated when looking at surveyors’ websites or other literature, but what does this mean, and does it really matter? Well, yes, it does. By choosing a surveyor regulated by RICS, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, you can be sure your surveyor not only has to follow strict codes of conduct but will also be qualified, experienced, insured and able to offer high-quality, independent advice. If you do have any issue with your RICS surveyor, the institute offers a dispute resolution service and can impose fines, suspensions or even expulsion if the issue is deemed to be serious enough.

6. Reviews and word of mouth

Just like you probably wouldn’t book a hotel without checking the reviews, so you should do the same before choosing your surveyor. Check if they have testimonials on their website, Google Reviews or Trust Pilot ratings. This can give you a real insight into the kind of service customers are receiving. If no reviews are forthcoming, don’t be afraid to ask them directly or ask family and friends for recommendations if they’re local to where you’re buying.

7. Specialist services

If you suspect your property has specific issues or may throw up some complications, this can actually help you when deciding on a surveyor. For example, if there seem to be roof issues, such as leaks or structural problems, look for a surveyor that also offers specialist roof surveys. This will ensure you get the best advice on how to resolve any issues and the potential impact on the property’s value.

8. Communication and responsiveness

Finally, as buying a property can be stressful and involves coordinating multiple people who need to complete various tasks, you need to know you can rely on your surveyor to be responsive and efficient. If you’re calling and emailing and no one gets back to you, think twice before committing to using them. You don’t want to frustrate other parties by holding them up, and you don’t want to waste your own time chasing people.

Also look for a firm that will deliver your survey report in a timely manner. No one wants to wait a week to find out the condition of their potential home, which is why Novello can turn your report around in just a few days.

The Novello experience

With in-depth knowledge of the property market Novello is ideally placed to guide and advise you through what can be a stressful time. We’ll listen to your needs and concerns and advise on the best course of action, so you get the information you need to proceed with confidence. We’re honest, transparent, responsive and passionate about what we do and, as experts in our field, we will provide you with clear, accurate, impartial information all at a competitive price.

To find out more, contact us or get an Quotation now.

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