Top Five things you need to know when Choosing an Independent Surveyor

publication date: Feb 5, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Top Five things you need to know when Choosing an Independent Surveyor

1. The mortgage valuation you pay for IS NOT the same as having an independent survey. The valuation ONLY protects the mortgage company – not you, the buyer.

2. Find a good local surveyor that has worked in the area for a good five years or more. They will know the houses, the streets, which local agents are the best to talk to and, most importantly about the ground and area that your property is in.

3. Check which survey you need. If it’s a Homebuyers, it’ll cost from £300-£700 and a building survey will be from £500 to over £1,000. The price depends on where you live and the size/construction of your property.

4. Always ask to see a copy of the reports they write. Are there photos? Do they give information about the value of the property and advice on how much the cost of any works might be. 

5. Ideally go around the property with the surveyor. Talk through the things that you are concerned about and make sure that you give them a call to talk through anything in the report that concerns you or you don’t understand.

When you book your mortgage valuation the lender will often offer you a ‘deal’ if you pay more to have a Homebuyer or Building Survey carried out. You need to be careful if you choose this route. The reason being is that the lenders use a ‘panel’ of surveyors. This can mean that the surveyor who looks at the property you plan to buy isn’t necessarily local to the area and that’s essential.

Some surveyors that work primarily on behalf of lenders don’t take the time they should to assess a home as they are targeted to carry out a large number of property inspections a day. This isn’t always the case, but a Homebuyer Survey should take around half a day and then another half a day to write up the report. A Building Survey could take a day to do and then another day to write it up.

Finally, it’s important to make sure that you don’t ‘overreact’ when you read the survey. It’s the surveyor’s job to point out everything they are worried about and suggest additional research where required. However, most problems that they point out can be dealt with easily and at a reasonable cost – especially if you can negotiate the cost to be paid by the vendor!

Need a Survey? Then contact us at or tel 0845 838 1763.

Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 07585 897128 or Contact Us via email.
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