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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who does my survey?
    Your survey will be carried out by one of our AssocRICS or MRICS qualified surveyors. Each Chartered Surveyor on our small team has decades of experience and most of them live in the areas where they practice. Unlike some big national firms, we don’t ‘sub-contract’ our surveys to a pool of freelancers, so the surveyor you speak to after you book will be the one on your case from start to finish. No hand-offs, no head office switchboard, just a seamless end-to-end service.
  • Are your surveyors licensed and insured?
    Yes. All of our surveyors are qualified to MRICS status from the surveyors’ professional body, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and they are also approved Registered Valuers under the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme (VRS). This means our work is regulated and that we adhere to the strict professional and ethical standards defined by RICS. We carry comprehensive Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).
  • Can I discuss the survey directly with my surveyor and ask questions or highlight concerns?
    Absolutely! Our surveyors are happy to talk through the results with you. We understand that buying a property is a big decision, and sometimes having the expert on the end of the phone can help put your mind at ease.
  • I’m buying a property and I’ve already paid for a valuation through my mortgage lender; do I need a survey?
    Your lender’s valuation is a document produced by a surveyor acting exclusively for them, and is really just there to protect their loan security. They are often done very quickly – sometimes without a surveyor even visiting the site (a ‘desktop’ valuation) – and they usually only pick up the highest level of detail. In any case, most of the time you as the buyer will never even get to see it. Given that for most of us, buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions we’ll every make, we think it’s a good idea to have someone on your side. We will take a thorough, impartial look at the property and advise you clearly on what issues we find and what their implications might be.
  • How and when do you access the property?
    When you book your survey we will ask you to give us the contact details for whomever will be providing access for our surveyor, be that the vendor or an estate agent. We will liaise directly with them to arrange access and keep you informed.
  • Does someone have to be at the property to let the surveyor in?
    Whilst it can be helpful to have the vendor or tenant present during the inspection – they can often share useful information about the property! – our surveyors are happy to pick up keys from agents and inspect vacant houses and flats.
  • How long will the surveyor be on site?
    This depends on the size and condition of the property. A small flat in good condition will take less time to inspect than a large house with many defects, however, as a rule of thumb a valuation site visit takes approximately 45 minutes, a Level 2 site visit approximately an hour and half to two hours, and a Level 3 inspection four hours or even longer if the property is large or complex.
  • What will the surveyor look at?
    Your surveyor will need to see the full extent of the property including basements, cellars, loft voids, and outbuildings such as garages or summer houses. They generally won’t move furniture or lift floor coverings, and the survey is ‘non-invasive,’ so no bashing through walls or pulling up carpets. They will also do a laser measure of the property to determine its overall size, particularly when you want a market and/or insurance valuation.
  • Will the surveyor take photos?
    A picture says a thousand words, and your report will be delivered including as many photographs as the surveyor feels are needed to explain their findings to you. Any personal information captured in the photos will be treated in accordance with GDPR and data protection law.
  • Can I go to the site inspection with my surveyor?
    As you can imagine, the surveyor needs to focus on the job and this is always easier when they are not disturbed. We have found it is also usually best for our surveyors to take some time after the site visit to reflect on what they have seen before they write their report and give you their advice. We strongly suggest it is best for you to read carefully through the surveyor’s finished report and ask any questions then, rather than tagging along to the site inspection.
  • How long will it take to get my report?
    Our Valuations and Level 2 reports are ready within 5 working days of the site visit. A Level 3 report will be ready within 6-7 working days of the inspection depending on the size, complexity, and condition of the property. You will receive a notification when your dedicated surveyor has finished and your report is ready. No chasing required!
  • As a buyer, can I use your survey report to try to reduce the purchase price if you find expensive problems with the property?
    In a nutshell – yes, however this will be entirely at your discretion. Once you have received your survey we can advise you further on getting quotes for any necessary or discretionary works, but ultimately it will be up to you whether you want to renegotiate with your vendor or ask them to undertake remedial works prior to your proceeding with the purchase. Please note that a survey report cannot ‘force’ a vendor to drop their price.
  • The valuation you have provided is different to the purchase price I have agreed; why is this?
    Our surveyors use their technical skills, local knowledge, and experience to analyse comparable sales evidence and arrive at their market valuation for the property. They will take into account figures like the initial asking price, and/or the agreed purchase price, however, these are not really relevant as they are often arbitrarily contrived (for example, pricing set by an estate agent wanting to create a buzz around a particular property). A valuation is, at the end of the day, the valuer’s opinion of the market value of the property, and although it is always arrived at through a considered and scientific process it is never an absolute fact. If the valuation comes in significantly lower than your agreed purchase price you may wish to consider using the survey to try and renegotiate your purchase (see above). If – more rarely – the valuation comes in higher than your agreed purchase price then you can be confident that you have bagged yourself a good deal!
  • What if I don’t understand something in the report?
    We do our best to write our reports in a way that is clear, concise, and steers away from technical jargon whenever possible. If, however, there is anything at all that you don’t understand please contact you surveyor directly. They will be happy to talk you through it.
  • What is a Reinstatement Cost?
    This is an estimate of what it would cost to rebuild the property on a ‘new-for-old’ basis in the present day if it were totally destroyed, for example by a flood or fire. This is used as the basis for buildings insurance, so it is important that it is as accurate as possible. Too high and you will overpay on your premiums, too low and you could be left out of pocket if the unthinkable happens.
  • What if I’m unhappy with the service you provided?
    We strive to ensure that every client is pleased with our work, however, if you feel we haven’t lived up to your expectations then please let us know. We will try to work with you to resolve your concerns. We operate an RICS compliant Complaint Handling Procedure. Please remember that we have to work within the parameters of the survey type you have instructed and within the Terms of Engagement as agreed between us. We are responsible for reporting defects and concerns as we see them, and it may be possible that your report highlights some things about the property that you may not want to hear. Try to take this as a positive –wouldn’t you rather know the windows are leaking or the roof is collapsing before you buy the house? Remember, we are on your side.
  • What if your surveyor misses something important or makes a mistake?
    Our surveyors are all highly experienced and they all work exclusively for us; we don’t draft in freelance, junior, or trainee surveyors to cover overflow in our diary. The Terms of Engagement agreed between us when we take your instruction will cover the practical limitations of the level of survey you have chosen, for example, accessible and inaccessible parts of the property. Defects can sometimes hide behind furniture or under floor coverings, however, our surveyors are highly adept at ‘following the trail’ of clues such as creaking floorboards or damp patches that may sometimes lead to the discovery of bigger problems, even without the need for an invasive survey. We carry full Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII), which is a strict condition of our membership with our professional body the RICS. In the extremely rare event that you are incorrectly advised it should be possible for you to claim compensation under this policy.
  • What information do you need from me to get started?
    Only a few pedigree details are enough for us to get going on your survey report. We need to know the full address and postcode of the property, any agreed purchase price (if you are buying or selling the property), and whether it is leasehold or freehold. If it is leasehold we may also ask you about details such as how long is left on the lease, the ground rent, and any service charges or sinking fund contributions. Don’t panic if you don’t have all the answers, as many of these details will already be with your solicitor.
  • When do I pay?
    Once you have chosen a survey type and a date for the inspection, you will need to enter your payment details on our payment provider's secure website to confirm your booking, as well as agree your Terms of Engagement and the Privacy Policy.
  • Do you keep my payment details on file?
    No. We handle all your payments through a secure external provider and your payment details are never stored on our system.
  • What about my personal information?
    Your personal information will be treated in the strictest confidence and in accordance with our Privacy Policy, which you will need to agree to when booking your survey with us.
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