When you are purchasing your first property you will come across lots of terms that you may not be familiar with or even heard before. You may well find yourself wondering What is a Chartered Surveyor and what do they do? It’s not just first-time buyers who may be wondering this. Buying and moving to a new house isn’t something people do often and in the intervening years you may have forgotten the process and the steps involved. You may be struggling to remember if you actually need a Chartered Surveyor or not. At Avery & Co. we’re here to help to demystify what a Chartered Surveyor is and what we do and to hopefully reduce the stress involved in buying your new house.
What is a Chartered Surveyor?
A Chartered Surveyor is a qualified property specialist and a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Chartered Surveyors work in many different areas of land and buildings, including commercial property development, and management, land surveying, quantity and building surveying, planning and agricultural work, but not all Chartered Surveyors are qualified as valuers. All Chartered Surveyors do however take many years to become fully qualified. At Avery & Co, we specialise in the survey and valuation of residential property, which means that as well as being qualified surveyors, we are also registered valuers under the RICS Valuer Registration Scheme (VRS). This ensures that we work to the highest possible standards and are regulated and registered as both surveyors and valuers by the RICS. We are able to produce accurate valuations as well as carry out a survey on your potential home before you decide to go ahead with a purchase.
A residential Chartered Surveyor and valuer can identify potential defects with a property, and can also advise you about other matters such as legal aspects and relevant permissions or consents relating to any alterations which may have been carried out in the past. A survey from a Chartered Surveyor and Valuer can therefore look at many aspects of your next home and its surroundings and advise you about how these affect its true value before you decide to buy. As well as peace of mind, this can also help you to re-negotiate the sale price and prevent you making a costly mistake.
What does RICS mean?
The RICS stands for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which is the governing body for all Associate and Chartered Surveyors across the world. It is the leading global institution for recognised standards in land and property. The RICS supports the profession and regulates its members through ongoing training and development and the issuing of up to date standards, regulations and best practice. All members of the RICS must work to the highest possible degree of professionalism, ethics and customer care. Whatever field of expertise or country a Chartered Surveyor works within, the RICS is a global regulatory body which ensures that the same standards are maintained wherever you may be.
What is a RICS Home Survey?
The RICS has designed the Home Survey suite of products, including the Condition Report, the Homebuyer Survey and the Building Survey to ensure that that potential home owners receive consistent and high quality information from their chosen survey product. A Chartered Surveyor will be able to advise you about which survey product will best suit your needs. This will often depend the type of property you are thinking of buying. For example, the RICS Homebuyer Report is the most popular type of survey undertaken by Chartered Surveyors, and is designed for properties built after c.1900, using traditional methods of construction and is apparently in reasonable overall condition. If you are buying an older property, or one which is listed or of unusual construction, or perhaps a property which is in need of significant renovation, then an RICS Building survey may be more appropriate.
How do I know if the surveyor is qualified?
If the surveyor that you choose has been accredited by RICS then you can be assured that they have the relevant qualifications in surveying, building engineering, civil engineering or construction. If they have a qualification that RICS does not recognise then postgraduate training on a RICS recognised qualification would have taken place. This is coupled with continuous professional development to make sure that they surveyor is aware of all current legislation and best practice guidelines. Choosing a surveyor accredited by RICS will give you the confidence that are using a fully qualified professional to undertake your work.
Louise Avery MRICS Chartered Surveyor
What does a residential Chartered Surveyor do?
A residential Chartered Surveyor will visit the property and assess all accessible parts of the building and surrounding areas, both interior and exterior. In the case of flats, the surveyor will have a general look around the development and immediately adjacent common parts. They will use their skill and experience to look at all areas and check for things like, signs of structural defects, dampness, the quality and age of the services and heating systems, the roof, walls, windows, floors etc. and general overall condition of the property. They can also check for any evidence of external things such as Japanese knotweed or any other matters surrounding the property such as legal or environmental issues. They will then produce a report for you detailing everything they have found. If you have asked for a Homebuyer Report, this is a fairly concise report and has been made easy to follow using a traffic light system to indicate the severity of the issues found as well as suggesting what repairs, maintenance or further investigations would be required either now or in the future. It will help you to decide what you need to do next, and will also make a comment on any matters for your conveyancer or legal adviser to check before committing yourself to purchase. If you have asked for a valuation, the surveyor will also analyse comparable evidence, and use his or her knowledge of the area to arrive at a suitable Market Valuation figure, taking into account the condition and other relevant circumstances surrounding the subject property.
When do I need to use a Chartered Surveyor?
The best time to contact a Chartered Surveyor is when you have found a property you would like to buy, your offer has been accepted by the current owner (vendor) and your mortgage finance (if needed) is in place. Most people will need to arrange a mortgage on their new property. A mortgage valuation is requested by your mortgage lender to ensure that the property you are buying is reasonable security for a loan. It is not a survey and will usually tell you little or nothing about the condition of the property you are thinking of buying. Many mortgage lenders are now calculating the value of a property using computer models or desktop valuations, which means that a valuer will never be instructed to carry out a physical inspection. It is therefore more important than ever to get independent survey advice. A Chartered surveyor will be able to give you impartial and independent advice about the property and its condition before you make any further legal commitment to buy. A survey report can usually be returned to you within 5 working days of inspection and often only costs a few hundred pounds. It will give you absolute peace of mind or guide you about any potential issues before you make any legal commitment to buy or exchange contracts. If any repairs or other issues are discovered by the surveyor, it can actually save you a lot of money by giving you the information you need to negotiate a lower price. If you do not need a valuation to be included with your independent survey, this can usually be arranged at a reduced cost.
Choosing the right Chartered Surveyor
When you are looking for a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a Homebuyer Report, looking for a RICS accredited surveyor will give you the confidence that you are using a fully qualified and accredited surveyor who will give you honest advice. All of the Chartered Surveyors working at Avery & Co. are RICS accredited surveyors who will work hard to ensure that you receive the best quality advice possible allowing you to make a fully informed decision on the most important purchase of your life. Get in touch today for a friendly, no obligation chat and see how we can help to ease the stress of buying your home.