Most frequent property Survey questions

Residential property survey - house on street
Residential property survey - house exterior detached
Residential property survey - period property exterior
Residential property survey - boat house on lake
  • Does my Building Society do my Survey?

    Open or Close
    A Building Survey or Homebuyer Report is not the same as the valuation report which is commissioned by a mortgage lender. A valuation report confirms to a lender that the property is suitable security for a mortgage. The report is brief and provides information required by a mortgage lender, you will not always see a copy.

    Very often your mortgage lender suggest that their surveyor carries out your private survey. That's fine, but they are not wholly independent - the mortgage lenders own their own firms of surveyors.

    In most cases our fees are significantly more competitive then theirs and, despite what they say (sales teams are on commission you know) you do NOT have to use their surveyor for your own private survey.
  • Do I need a building survey or homebuyer report?

    Open or Close
    That depends, but probably one of the following:
    Full Building Survey
    A building survey is a customised service suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of their construction and condition. You will usually need this type of survey if, for example, the property is more than 50 years old, unusually built or run-down. If the property has been extended or altered, or if you are planning a major conversion or renovation this survey will be the most helpful.

    Building surveys are usually tailored to your needs. The report includes detailed technical information on materials and construction, as well as details of the whole range of defects. You can often meet our surveyor on site.
    RICS Homebuyers Report
    The RICS HomeBuyer Service includes an inspection, a report and a valuation. The RICS HomeBuyer report is a standard format, and is different to a building survey in three main ways.

    1. It is designed for particular types of home. These are houses, bungalows and flats that are apparently in reasonable condition and of a traditional type and construction. It is unlikely to be suitable for property more than 50 years old.

    2. It identifies what the surveyor considers to be the most important issues. By applying condition ratings to elements of the building, the services and any garages and permanent outbuildings, the surveyor will tell you whether defects are serious or urgent. The inspection and report is brief and not forensic - we will often recommend other reports and inspections.

    3. It includes an opinion of the market value and reinstatement cost (which you will need for insurance purposes).

    It focuses on matters that, in the surveyor's opinion, may affect the value of the property if they are not dealt with.<
    Single defect Report
    A defect report concentrates on one particular defect, specified by you. For instance evidence of movement, dampness or structural failure. It will report upon the cause of the defect and any remedial works necessary.
  • Tell me again - what do I need

    Open or Close
    The valuation only tells the mortgage company they can lend you the money, it tells you nothing.
    A private building survey tells you everything and the mortgage company nothing.
    The mortgage company will try and sell you a survey that will be the same but more expensive than ours.

    Use a local firm of surveyors [like us ;-) ] and you'll get a better report cheaper. If the house is modern have a Homebuyer Report, if it's old you'll need a Building Survey.

    If you want specialist advice such as comment on alteration and costs you'll need a building survey.

    If you want to chance it and gamble against future bills don't bother with any survey at all.
  • How do I pay - can I pay cash?

    Open or Close
    Yes, of course, but please don't expect us to knock of the VAT or "do a deal". We leave that to the bloke in the pub who know a bit about buildings! You can pay for your survey with cash, cheques, BACS and all major credit and debit cards.
  • How long does the survey take?

    Open or Close
    The length of time the inspection takes is dependent on the size of the property and the extent of any defects that may be identified. For guidance, an inspection of a typical three bedroom house in reasonable order may take between three and four hours. We wrote a blog article about this.
  • How many pages do I get?

    Open or Close
    How many do you want? If we used bullet points we could get it across to you in 3 pages, if you want 60 pages we can waffle away with the best of them. We think you'll like our usual reporting style which runs to around 24 pages. See a example building survey.
  • What's your small print like?

    Open or Close
    Not small.

    Our insurers require us to cover our rear ends quite a lot of the time - we would prefer not to because we are confident in our abilities but that's their requirements, basically we'll report on what we can see and not on what we can't, we can't guess but we can give a considered opinion.

    Yes, our surveys do have get out clauses but we do not hide behind them. Our surveys are always definitive and not wishy washy.

    Our small print will be written legibly and be easy to understand and we will stick by our quoted fee.

    You can see our Standard Terms & Conditions for Building Surveys
  • Are you insured?

    Open or Close
    The RICS require us to carry professional indemnity insurance.
  • How long does the report take to prepare?

    Open or Close
    We try, wherever possible, to dispatch our report within five working days of inspection. If required a summary or key point report can be made available immediately. Quite often our clients meet us at the property.
  • Can I meet the Surveyor on site?

    Open or Close
    Of course, please ask when you book your survey. We will give you a time to meet us which will usually be between 2 and 3 hours after we start the survey. Any earlier and we can't tell you anything!

    We prefer you not to stay for the whole inspection - to be honest it can be extremely distracting and prevent us from giving you the best service.
  • Do your surveyors talk technical?

    Open or Close
    Only if you want them to. Most on the time we talk in real plain English.
  • Finally, are your surveyors ogres?

    Open or Close
    What? You've got us all wrong.

    We really are the nicest surveyors around. All of our surveyors smile all of the time (well...), they are not crusty and are more Levis than tweed.
68 High Street

First Floor, The Old Auction Rooms
Marine Walk Street
CT21 5NW
Founded by Steven Way in 1995, the Collier Stevens practice was born with the specific aim of providing client friendly, easy to understand and fairly charged professional advice.

The Practice is regulated by the RICS & is a licenced provider of RICS HomeBuyer Reports.