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What does 'Surveyor' mean?

Surveyor

A surveyor is a person qualified to carry out a Survey. He is instructed to do so by the mortgage lender if a loan is being secured on the property. If not the buyer can choose to hire a surveyor if he wishes but it is optional.

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How to Really Buy a Property

"... as many Financial Advisers as possible; What to do before you start viewing so you don't loose your dream home; Who the surveyor, solicitor and estate agent are really working for; How to make an offer to get things your way; Who to trust and who, with the best intentions, may be misleading..."
"... sense of a property survey including; What type of survey to get and why structural surveys can be money wasted; Why surveyors should never estimate the cost of works; When rising damp, penetrating damp, subsidence, cracking, sagging roofs, bulging walls and all the other frightening..."
"... surveyors should never estimate the cost of works; When rising damp, penetrating damp, subsidence, cracking, sagging roofs, bulging walls and all the other frightening things in a surveyor's report might be serious, and when they are not; Why asking the vendor to carry out work is not..."

"... first predictions, not ones that they updated during the given year. - The Property Experts in Which we Trust - - The Royal Society of Chartered surveyors (RICS) - RICS system for predicting the future would have most statisticians turning pale. They simply ask their members "how they..."

"... Friends, family and work colleagues are also very keen to offer their analysis, often based on that very same media. It would be interesting how many of these advisers would be interested in knowing what Estate Agents, Solicitors and surveyors forecast for the industries that they work in! ..."

"... better companies become wilder in their claims about profit potential and many new and more suspect businesses also entered the field, all offering similar services. Long before the Credit Crisis struck hundreds (perhaps thousands) were loosing money on purchases that were just simply overpriced, others were falling victim to full on scams where the investment company, developer, insurer, financier and sometimes even the surveyor providing the valuation, were..."

"... every year. From when you apply you need it to actually get processed within a reasonable amount of time, say four weeks. You want a lender who uses a quality surveyor The first point is obvious but the second and third may sound a little strange and many buyers loose the property they..."
"... there is no point getting a great deal if the lender uses a cheap surveyor to value your property. This is a little known point but cheap surveyors are often over cautious or from outside the area. Both are reasons why they may down value your property leaving you to pay their fee, the mortgage application fee, some legal fees and have nothing to show for..."

"... surveyor will confirm the market value of the property but it is the solicitor who will raise flags on anything unusual that may affect this value. If, after receiving the paperwork from the solicitor you hired, the lender feels the conveyancing has not been carried out competently they will refuse to lend until a solicitor they trust has been over the documents and raised any enquiries of their..."

Chapter 13: Your Own Homework
"... Permission for This Property? - If you have looked at a property that is new or appears to have had an extension you can check if planning permission exists for this before going down the expensive road of hiring a solicitor and paying a surveyor. It is important to note that some..."

"... and regret it later; Why the solicitor you are paying may not be acting in your best interests; Why the surveyor who values or inspects the property may not be acting in your best interests; What is motivating the estate agent and their actions; How to work out who is telling you what and..."
"... the sale not going through (see Choosing a Solicitor or Conveyancer) The buyer does trust their surveyor even though the surveyor has a vested interest in the sale not going through. (see What A Property Survey Really Means) The buyer does trust a friend or relative even though that person..."
"... rising above that of their business model. For more details on solicitors see chapter 12: Choosing a Conveyancer or Solicitor. - The Advice of the surveyor - The surveyor is another property professional who is also paid by you and so should also be acting either in your best interests,..."
"... Solicitor. - The Advice of the surveyor - The surveyor is another property professional who is also paid by you and so should also be acting either in your best interests, or that of your bank. Almost all surveyors work on a flat fee basis. Here the problem is similar to flat fee..."
"... or picking up on matters which are normal for the building they are looking at. To understand how surveyors really work and who they are working for see Chapter 20: What a Property Survey Really Means. - The Advice of the Estate Agent - Most people are fully aware that estate agents..."
"... you will loose your property. (See The Balance of Power) They know, if they are experienced, when the surveyor or solicitor is trying to undermine the purchase and is not really acting in your interests for the reasons covered above - Summary - When most buyers enter into the home..."
"... most buyers enter into the home buying market they are aware of the common stereotypes, especially that of the estate agent. They are not so aware of some hidden motives and agendas kept by solicitors or surveyors. In the stress and nerve of making such a large financial decision they turn to family and friends for reassurance, only to find their frail confidence undermined by people who live in homes they wouldn't even dream of..."
"... or advice and consider - who is saying it and why might they be saying it? Choosing the right solicitor and surveyor, which is covered in a later chapter, will help you immeasurable in coming to the right decision. ..."

"... way lenders organise surveys mean that they can be very fast of very slow. The steps are: The lender sends the request out to a panel of surveyors. This status is known as 'sent to panel' The panel may have an umbrella organisation that receives this request. This organisation sends a..."
"... This status is known as 'sent to panel' The panel may have an umbrella organisation that receives this request. This organisation sends a request to the surveyors they believe will be best suited. The status has now changed to 'survey requested' The surveyor who receives the request may be..."
"... the surveyors they believe will be best suited. The status has now changed to 'survey requested' The surveyor who receives the request may be too busy. They send a message back rejecting the request. The umbrella organisation requests another surveyor until they find one who will accept the..."
"... may be too busy. They send a message back rejecting the request. The umbrella organisation requests another surveyor until they find one who will accept the work. Once accepted this status is known as 'survey instructed' The surveyor calls the agent or vendor to organise access to the..."
"... accept the work. Once accepted this status is known as 'survey instructed' The surveyor calls the agent or vendor to organise access to the property. Once a time has been agreed the status becomes 'survey booked' The surveyor may either have been instructed to go into the property or..."
"... the status becomes 'survey booked' The surveyor may either have been instructed to go into the property or just to drive by and make sure it exists (known as a drive by survey). That someone has a trained eye for spotting problems in buildings. The lender, to some extent, is not..."
"... result of the surveyors visit is a valuation. The surveyor will either agree or disagree with the sale price. The latter is known as a down valuation. Most buyers are unaware that, for this visit, the surveyor is not acting for them and can rightly refuse to tell them the result. He has been instructed by the lender (even though you may have paid the lender a fee for the survey) and only the lender can tell you the surveyor's..."
"... can tell you the surveyor's conclusions. It is worth noting that the surveyor will never say a property is worth more than the agreed sale price even if he believes it to be so. He is only instructed to find out if it is worth the same or less. The surveyor may decide that the property is..."
"... surveyor may decide that the property is worth the money you are prepared to pay as long as he can be sure that a certain issue is not going to be a major problem. He may, for example, believe the roof is at the end of its natural life and will need to be replaced. This could cost over £10,000 and may affect the property value. He will therefore place a retention on the value. This may say, "I agree the property is worth £250,000 once the roof has been checked. Until this has been done I am not convinced the property is worth more than..."
"... of certainty! What Can Go Wrong As a cash buyer and the surveyor was instructed by you then there is little that can go wrong in the process, although there is plenty that can be wrong in the report (See Chapter 20: What a Property Survey Really Means). If you are applying for a mortgage..."
"... again it depends on your LTV) You do not have the right to remain in the country forever The surveyor is from outside the area and cannot agree with the price you are prepared to pay for the property The surveyor is from the area but is out of touch with the market so does not agree with the..."
"... area and cannot agree with the price you are prepared to pay for the property The surveyor is from the area but is out of touch with the market so does not agree with the price you are prepared to pay for the property The surveyor has just been sued for over-valuing a property and so, being..."
"... not agree with the price you are prepared to pay for the property The surveyor has just been sued for over-valuing a property and so, being unusually cautious, does not agree with the price you are prepared to pay for the property There is a problem with the legal paperwork of the property which..."
"... aware of the results (see above). You can go into more detail by requesting a homebuyers survey or a structural survey. If you are applying for a mortgage it usually makes sense for the surveyor who is doing the valuation to also carry out the second survey. A homebuyers survey is the usual..."
"... is extremely important to know that the surveyor is qualified to spot tell-tale signs but cannot actually or absolutely state that something is wrong. He may say, for example, that "the windows are in need of refurbishment and that a qualified contractor should assess the cost" or "there appear to be signs that the property is subsiding to the rear and a qualified structural engineer should survey the property to assess the extent of any..."
"... chaff you may decide you want to have further inspections. The most common are: Damp - a damp proofing company to see if the damp found by the surveyor is significant enough to warrant tampering with the walls. Electrics - an electrician to see if there is anything unusual or "unsafe" in the..."
"... the relevant part of the survey so they know what it is that they are there to inspect. What Can Go Wrong The surveyor is overcautious and believes everything needs to be inspected The surveyor believes he knows how much needs to be spent and quotes a figure The contractors that go in are..."
"... inspect. What Can Go Wrong The surveyor is overcautious and believes everything needs to be inspected The surveyor believes he knows how much needs to be spent and quotes a figure The contractors that go in are looking for work and so see issues where there are none Neither you nor the..."

"... time. The chain moved forwards and the vendors of Edgeley Road booked a survey on their house in Balham. The surveyor's report suggested the house needed a great deal of work and, with so many extra costs to take into account, they decided to withdraw from their purchase of the house. On a..."

"... £x". And if £x is the price you have agreed with the vendor then so be it. Who the surveyor is actually working for and their hidden agendas; The types of survey and which ones are worth the cost; Why surveyors should never estimate the cost of potential..."
"... surveyor is actually working for and their hidden agendas; The types of survey and which ones are worth the cost; Why surveyors should never estimate the cost of potential works; Why retentions don't suggest the cost of repairs; The difference between rising damp and penetrating damp; How to..."
"... to handle subsidence, movement and bulging walls; When to use a survey to renegotiate and when to keep quiet; How to choose a good surveyor, and make sure the lender does to; Why you should never ask the vendor to carry out work; Most buyers make one mistake here, they believe..."
"... buyers make one mistake here, they believe because they have paid the surveyor to do something, the surveyor is acting on their behalf and in their interests. Wrong. The surveyor is acting very much in his own interests to protect himself from any legal action you may be able to take after the purchase. It is fair that you have the right to sue a surveyor for damages if they miss out something which actually affects the value of the property, but the end result in recent years has been that many surveyors go completely over the top in order to make sure no legal action is possible. Remember..."
"... no legal action is possible. Remember this: If you buy the property the surveyor gets paid but may get sued for missing something. If, after survey, you decide not to buy the property, the surveyor still gets paid and has no chance of getting sued. So ironically it is in the surveyors best..."
"... no chance of getting sued. So ironically it is in the surveyors best interest to try and persuade you not to buy the property. For your part you have to try and separate fact in the report from over-the-top speculation and you can do this by considering two points: What is the survey..."
"... speculation and you can do this by considering two points: What is the survey actually saying in terms of cost and hassle Why did the surveyor say what he said. In other words, as any historian will tell you, don't just look at what was said but ask why it was said. You should also be..."
"... roof needs replaced). This chapter covers: Types of survey - what is said and how to quantify it Types of surveyor - why different surveyors can say different things about the same property Types of Survey - There are three types of survey: The Valuation The Homebuyers The..."
"... is crucial as if the surveyor does not agree with your offer price the bank won't lend. It is also the most valuable type of survey and probably all you need for almost any purchase. Most people are not aware that the valuation survey will also report on anything crucial that should be investigated. If they believe there is a serious problem with, for example, damp they will hold back all or part of the mortgage until it is investigated (see below). It is much easier to read a two page report that is very specific about major issues that will affect value than a fifty page report telling you that the aerial may need re-fixing and one of the windows in the back bedroom needs to be repainted in the next twelve..."
"... will probably come as a shock to find out how the surveyor actually works but it goes something like this. They visit the property and check for any really big problems that will affect value. They then look up and down the street for sold boards and 'phone up those agents to ask them what they have sold. In the modern world they can also check the history of sold properties in an area on the internet. If they find similar properties sold at similar prices they sign the valuation off and you get your..."
"... the absence of sold signs he calls any local agents and asks them what they have sold recently in the area and tries to match it up. There is nothing more to it than that. If you want to try it for yourself find a sold sign, call up the agent and say, "Hi, this is Fred Smith from Island surveyors, I see you have sold something in the High Street, can I ask what it was and how much it sold for?". You'll get the complete run down including the actual price it sold for, not its asking price. Note that Estate Agents, by law, are not allowed to tell you (a buyer) the actual price a property has sold for until it exchanges as this is confidential information. Agents are however, always trying to please surveyors because they don't want properties down valued, so if you pose as a surveyor you will find out..."
"... one of the biggest waste of times in the whole home buying process. It is a valuation survey followed by a lot of speculation. You are likely to find out fascinating things like screws missing from plug sockets, wood that needs replacing in windows, kitchen cabinet doors that need to be fastened. The crucial thing on this survey is the valuation. If, with all the property defects, the surveyor still concludes the property is worth the agreed price then (unless the vendor is very desperate to sell) don't try to use it for negotiation. If the survey states that 'in it's current condition the property is worth x' and x is the price agreed then there are no grounds for..."
"... from this the actual value of a structural survey is questionable. The surveyor is not a specialist in any particular field so the report is filled with vague statements such as "The windows appear in need of replacement and should be inspected by a specialist" or "The roof may be bowing and should be inspected by a specialist." More on this is covered in the section What is in a Survey..."
"... the surveyor, carrying out any of the above surveys, believes the property is worth the price you have agreed to pay for it all is fine. If, however, he sees a major problem such as damp around the windows he will suggest that the bank holds back a certain amount on the mortgage until it has been satisfactorily..."
"... will say, "The property is worth £250,000 as long as the windows are sound. Until this has been established no one (including the lender) should pay more than £240,000". The surveyor is not saying that the windows require £10,000 worth of work. He cannot because he is not qualified to cost repairs. So he chooses an arbitrary figure. It is simply a way to make sure something is checked before a loan is secured on the property or you pay out the..."
"... retention can be a small amount or the total price agreed (usually in the case of suspected subsidence or other major structural issues). The best way to deal with them is as described in the remainder of this chapter. Take them in your stride, in most cases the issue is much smaller than the surveyor believes and retentions are removed after investigation of the..."
"... of the issue. - What is in the Survey - To prove your money is well spent a surveyor will usually want to pick up on something. The choice below is almost a check list of where the surveyor will choose one or two items for further investigation: Damp The Roof The Electrics The..."
"... a good surveyor will simply say "there is damp which requires further investigation". A bad surveyor will say "there is probably around £5,000 worth of damp that needs to be repaired". The latter is a ridiculous statement. Does this surveyor own a damp company? In other words remember..."
"... is a ridiculous statement. Does this surveyor own a damp company? In other words remember this The surveyor is not a damp proof specialist and will not carry out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a roofer and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The..."
"... surveyor is not a damp proof specialist and will not carry out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a roofer and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a qualified electrician and will not be carrying out the work so should not..."
"... quote. The surveyor is not a roofer and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a qualified electrician and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a qualified plumber and will not be carrying out the work so should not..."
"... surveyor is not a qualified electrician and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a qualified plumber and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a structural engineer and will not be carrying out the work so should not..."
"... surveyor is not a qualified plumber and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. The surveyor is not a structural engineer and will not be carrying out the work so should not quote. True Story - Damp at Packington Street Sarah and Nicki had successfully offered on a two..."
"... and Nicki had successfully offered on a two bedroom lower ground floor garden flat just off Islington Green in London. They had seen no end of properties and although this one was above their original budget they stretched to afford it. They then cut costs by going with a lender that had the lowest fees. The surveyor that looked at the property was a self employed individual who agreed that the property was worth £240,000 (their offer) but said £5,000 should be held back as a retention because of damp in the..."
"... back as a retention because of damp in the property. A damp proof company was instructed to give a quote on how much work they believed was in the flat. They found £346 plus VAT! The surveyor had evidently picked a figure out of the air. Sarah and Nicki doubted the difference in the two..."
"... the surveyor is simply someone who is trained to see tell tale signs that then require you to get a further specialist in. If you want to be thorough and save time then get a valuation survey and at the same time pay for a roofer, plumber, electrician and damp specialist to inspect the property (for freehold properties pay a structural engineer as well). You will short-cut the long survey report and you will know the absolute worst case scenario as each specialist going in will be hunting for work. Then you can take a proper quantified..."
"... or the vendor, or both, should expect to pay for the specialists if you do decide to investigate further. This was not always the case but these tradesmen are very aware of how much surveyors are trying to cover themselves now. They are also aware that no matter what they find they are unlikely to get the work as any quote they give will usually just be used as a negotiating tool. As soon as the new buyer moves in they either take a view on the work or get other quotes to see if someone else will do it..."
"... surveyor, for reasons already mentioned, will err on the safe side and say there are possible structural problems. A structural engineer, who is qualified to assess if there is a real issue, will cost anything form £500 to £1,000+ to answer this question and again who pays depends on the balance of power (see Chapter 18: The Balance of..."
"... property. Diane ended up buying a two bedroom flat with a roof terrace as by this time the price of houses had gone beyond her budget. Ultimately the £800 required to get a Structural Engineer in and show the surveyor was overreacting would have been money extremely well spent. " - Types..."
"... £800 required to get a Structural Engineer in and show the surveyor was overreacting would have been money extremely well spent. " - Types of surveyors - There are hundreds of survey companies in major cities. Most of the time the choice of who to use will be made by the lender you are..."
"... you are not happy with the surveyor a bank chooses approach the bank directly, tell them your friend had problems with this firm, and ask them to appoint somebody else. They almost always have a panel of surveyors that they use so this is well within possibility. So why shouldn't you be happy? Below are the types of surveyor you should try to..."
"... discussed earlier the surveyor is acting for himself. He treads a careful line between agreeing with the sale price and not getting sued because he missed something or over valued. As a general rule of thumb a large company will be financially stable, well insured and have many surveyors. The result is that when someone from this type of company carries out a survey they will tend to be level headed and, if there are concerns, have colleagues to discuss the issues with and get second..."
"... contrast a one man band (or small company) knows that one bad decision by him may lead to court action that will put him out of business. If your surveyor is one of these be prepared for a much more thorough and dramatic report, anything really to try and put you off buying the property so they get their fee with no risk..."
"... that comes to light after a few years they will still be in business and you can pursue them for material loss! - surveyors From the Area and Those from Beyond - Everyone has been to visit grandparents, uncles and other relatives or friends who have bought and live in rural areas...."
"... are no different. Once you hear that a survey is instructed you should ensure that the company is based in the area where you are buying or carries out regular work in that area. In a busy period the lender may not be able to find anyone free who is local and so instruct outside the area. A bank that seems to have very low fees may also, as a matter of course, instruct a surveyor from a rural location because the cost base is lower. Similarly if you are instructing your own survey you may have the same issue...."
"... same issue. The upshot is all too often that the property is down valued and the bank refuses to lend. There is nothing wrong with the property or the price, its just the surveyor cannot believe what he sees and it looks like madness compared to the prices where he comes from. If you are..."
"... and it looks like madness compared to the prices where he comes from. If you are not instructing a surveyor directly make an effort to find out who your lender has appointed. If necessary kick up hell to get them changed. - Asking the Vendor to Carry Out Work - In almost all cases this is..."
"... all the ins and outs of a survey report the crucial question is value. If the survey report talks about roof or plumbing but concludes that the property is worth what you have offered then trying to renegotiate price is at your own risk. Too many people ignore this fact. Most properties are old, very old, and problems or future works are to be expected. The surveyor knows this and that is why they conclude their report: "In its current condition and in the current market the property is worth £x". And if £x is the price you have agreed with the vendor then so be..."

"... before the buyer does and tries to renegotiate the price They can give a copy of the survey with receipts for any works subsequently done to your surveyor. He will hesitate before questioning and contradicting another surveyor. This is especially useful with freehold properties where..."
"...This is especially useful with freehold properties where the surveyor may question how structurally sound the property is. In this instance if there is a problem the vendor can get the opinion of a structural engineer long before your surveyor even steps through the door. A structural engineer is more highly qualified than a surveyor in these matters so the green light here will most certainly not be questioned by your surveyor. ..."
"... is far more likely to make it through to exchange. In a handful of cases the surveyor the vendor chooses may be acceptable to the your lender, in which case you could consider buying it from the vendor and saving yourself some time. Summary - There are very, very few vendors who really..."

"... There is a long way to go between agreeing a sale price and an exchange. The solicitors must be chased and managed, the buyer must be educated, the surveyor must be kept happy, the lender must be pursued and the process must be bought to a speedy conclusion. None of these things will happen if: ..."

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Author of How to Really Buy a Property

I'm Tim Hill, Author of How to Really Buy a Property. I'm a property buyer, seller, landlord, tenant and I've been an agent in hundreds of transactions. I own a property portfolio across Europe but that doesn't mean I think you should to!

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