What Do Property Surveyors Look For?

Whether you are looking at buying a new home or a new commercial property to run your business from, it’s a wise idea to get a property survey carried out before you part with your money. Purchasing a property is certainly not cheap, so it’s sensible to make sure that you know everything that there is to know about the property before you settle on buying it, especially when it comes to any issues or things that could potentially go wrong in the future. Keep reading to find out more about what property surveyors look for when they check over a residential or commercial property before a purchase is made.

What Do Property Surveyors Check?

In a residential property, you will want to make sure that it is fit for living in and it’s not going to cause you any costly or potentially dangerous problems in the future. This is why it is a wise idea to have a property survey such as the homebuyer’s survey carried out after putting in an offer and before finalising your sale. A property surveyor will check a range of different factors when surveying the property:

What Do Property Surveyors Look For?

What your surveyor will look for in a residential property will depend on the type of survey that you choose to have carried out. There are three main types of surveys that are offered by RICS property surveyors. These are:

1.     RICS Condition Report:

This is the most basic and the cheapest of the survey options and is usually recommended for homes that are in a good state of repair without any obvious issues. The surveyor will use a traffic light system to rate the condition of different parts of the property including any garage and outbuildings, to highlight any issues that might require attention and how much work they are likely to need.

2.     RICS Homebuyer Report:

This survey is the most popular option and is usually recommended unless you are purchasing an older home or a home that is in a poor condition. It has several main goals and objectives, which include:

  • To assess whether the property is a reasonable purchase for the price you have agreed to pay
  • To help you make an informed judgement regarding whether or not to continue with the purchase
  • To make it clear which decisions and actions you should take before finalising the purchase
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With this survey, the surveyor will assess a number of factors in your potential new property, including:

  • The building’s general condition
  • Any major faults in the property that might have an impact on its value
  • Testing for any signs of damp in the walls
  • Any damage to timber including rot and woodworm
  • Any urgent or dangerous issues that you will need to have inspected by a specialist before going ahead with the purchase
  • The condition of insulation, drainage, and the damp-proof course

RICS Building Survey:

This is the most comprehensive report offered by RICS and is typically recommended when purchasing a large or older property, along with if you are planning any major renovation work on the property after purchasing. It is designed to provide a more in-depth analysis of the condition of the property and will include extensive details on any defects, repairs, and maintenance. This survey is usually recommended to be carried out on:

  • Properties that are over thirty years old
  • Unusually structured buildings
  • Listed buildings
  • A property that you plan to renovate or alter in the future
  • A property that has been extensively altered in the past

The surveyor will examine every aspect of the building, including:

  • It’s location
  • Any major or minor defects
  • Damp testing results for the walls
  • Any timber damage including rot and woodworm
  • The condition of the damp-proof course, insulation, and drainage
  • Technical information on the property’s construction
  • Any recommendations for specialist inspection
  • Possible future repair costs

What Do Property Surveys Do If Issues Are Found?

After a property survey, your property surveyor will provide you with a report detailing their findings and any recommendations that they have for future steps to take before or after purchasing the property. If any major issues are found with the home such as structural issues, areas that do not meet building standards, damp problems, woodworm or rot, you will be informed in around 5-10 working days after the survey is carried out depending on the type of survey that you have arranged.

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What Does a Property Surveyor Do at the Property?

At the property, what the surveyor will do will depend once again on the type of survey that you have chosen. If you are having a condition report or homebuyer’s report carried out, these surveys are generally non-invasive and will not require any special access arrangements to be made for the surveyor, although it can be helpful to ask the current owners to move furniture out of the way so that more access can be provided to the walls and ask for access to be made into the loft or attic space. If you arrange a building survey on your potential new property, you will need to ensure that the surveyor has access to various parts of the building including behind any furniture and underneath the floorboards.

What Does a Land Surveyor Do at the Property?

A land surveyor carries out a different job to the property surveyor, although your property surveyor might also be a land surveyor. Their job is to determine the property boundaries and prepare survey plots and maps accordingly. They will measure the property and pieces of land that belong to it in order to determine the boundaries. This information is highly important since it may be used to dictate any future plans you have for extending the property in the future and can help determine where other buildings or roads can be placed along with settling any property line disputes between neighbours.

What is a Commercial Property Surveyor?

Whether you are buying, selling, or leasing commercial property, you could benefit from the expert advice of a commercial property surveyor. Similar to a residential property surveyor, they are tasked with inspecting the building to look for any issues or faults that could cause a problem to you as the owner or the potential future owner further down the line. They will also help to ensure that the right survey reports, tax calculations, valuations and more are completed accurately and on time to keep your business running smoothly.

What Does a Commercial Property Surveyor Do?

There are three most popular types of survey that are offered by commercial property surveyors. These include:

1.     Building Survey:

This is a detailed report that will explain the current condition of the building to a prospective buyer. It provides information on any defects, the materials that were used in the construction of the property, and any hazardous materials like asbestos. It will take a different approach compared with residential property surveys since commercial buildings are often constructed using different materials.

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2.     Schedule of Condition:

This commercial property survey will describe the condition of the building at the time, including photographs, which are provided for evidence. This survey is often prepared for property owners or new tenants who may be liable for any damage that is found when the commercial lease ends. If you are in the process of getting a lease for a commercial property, this survey can help make sure that you are not held liable for any damage to the property that was present before your lease began. If you are a commercial property landlord, having this survey carried out can help you avoid legal action and provide you with supporting evidence that could save a significant amount of money.

3.     Schedule of Dilapidations:

This survey is typically carried out at the end of a lease in order to determine which repairs should be carried out or financially covered by the tenant. In this instance, the commercial property surveyor can also advise on any action that needs to be taken when agreeing on a settlement and can represent the landlord or tenant in negotiations if necessary.

Whether you are purchasing a new home or are planning to purchase or lease a new commercial property for your business, investing in the services of a RICS registered surveyor can save you a lot of trouble further down the line. When buying a new home, a property surveyor will help you make sure that you have all the information that you need to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to go ahead with the purchase of the property and that you aren’t hit with any costly surprises further down the line.

When it comes to commercial properties, a specialised surveyor can help both owners and tenants by inspecting the property and providing a report on its condition. This can protect tenants from being liable for any damage that was present prior to their lease agreement and help landlords to save money and avoid litigation in the future.