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The survey process


If you are a first time buyer or haven't purchased a property for some time, you may be unaware of the process for instructing a survey and what is involved. The information below will hopefully be of some use.


You can get a quote for a survey by filling out the form linked on the homepage, after which the fee for an appropriate survey will be provided along with a timescale for the inspection and report. There will also be instructions on this quote about how to proceed with the survey instruction. When you have done this the paperwork will be emailed to you and access to the property will be arranged by the surveyor, usually through the estate agents. It is necessary for the terms and conditions for the survey to be accepted prior to the inspection, along with payment.


A survey is usually instructed after your offer has been accepted. Some buyers prefer to have the survey carried out as soon as possible after this date although some prefer to have a solicitor instructed first and to have the initial searches back. For an older property, and one which may not be in perfect condition, it is often worthwhile having the survey carried out early to avoid any abortive solicitor’s fees should you not wish to proceed following the issue of the survey report.


It is useful for the surveyor to know beforehand if you have any significant concerns about the property, or if you are intending to make any alterations as this may change the emphasis that is given to parts of the survey report.


The survey inspection will involve the surveyor walking around the building internally and externally and looking at all accessible parts of the property. A ladder and pole camera will also be used where possible to gain access to roof voids and harder to reach areas. Photographs of all areas will be taken, some of which will be general record images showing the conditions at the time of the inspection, with other more detailed images showing construction features or defects. The photographs will be edited to remove images of people etc before issue along with the report.


Surveyors are sometimes asked if the buyer can accompany them on the survey inspection. Some surveyors are happy to do this, although in my experience I have found that this makes the survey inspection more difficult and can have a negative impact on the quality of the survey report. The survey inspection will involve the surveyor walking in and around the building many times in order to follow trails and gather sufficient information. It is often difficult to maintain the correct thought pattern with another person present who may also be asking questions. Being accompanied is therefore generally avoided, unless of course there is a safeguarding or security reason. I am however always happy to discuss any issues after the survey report has been issued.


It is not always possible to diagnose an issue immediately during the inspection and I have found that the most important part of the survey process is the reflection time between carrying out the survey inspection and issuing the report. Some buyers request detailed information about a property immediately after the inspection which can be difficult to provide without this period of reflection.


Following the survey inspection, you will receive an email to let you know that the inspection has been carried out. The email will also let you know if there are any major issues which may put you off proceeding. Otherwise, the survey report will usually be issued within five working days of the inspection via a download link. If you have any queries after receiving the report then please feel free to get in touch.


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