Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Why do I need a survey?

    It’s far better to be aware of any issues before you buy a house so that you can make an informed decision about how much you’re willing to pay for it and, if necessary, budget for any repair work that will need doing. Surveys will help you find out about the condition of the building and, if there are problems, this can give you a powerful bargaining tool for negotiating the buying price down or asking the seller to fix the problems.

  • When would a Building Survey be my best option?

    It’s a good option if you’re buying a property that's over 50 years old or in a poor condition. It can also be worthwhile if you’re planning to do significant work or have major concerns about a property. The Homebuyer Report is not generally suited to older or non-traditional properties, especially those which are in obvious need of repair or refurbishment. A Building Survey would normally be appropriate in these circumstances.

  • If my property is still in warranty, would a Homebuyer’s Report be a waste of money?

    No, because a warranty does not guarantee that a property is free from defects. As the guarantee only covers serious structural issues, there may still be shortcomings which, if left unattended, will cost substantial sums to rectify. An inspection may also reveal a potentially serious defect which has gone unnoticed.

  • I am buying a flat - what survey should I get?

    If it is a modern flat, it’s better to go for a Homebuyer’s Report. But, if it is very old, such as a converted Georgian flat, then you may need a Building Survey due to the age of the property. Although, there are limitations to that. For example, if the flat is not the top floor one, then it’s not possible for the surveyor to have a look in the loft. The same criteria apply to flats as for houses, such as age, alteration, and condition. A modern purpose built flat would suit a Homebuyer report, for example, but a converted Victorian house may require a Building Survey.

  • What will be inspected?

    A surveyor will endeavour to inspect all elements that are readily accessible; however, this depends on the type of survey being conducted. For example, in a Homebuyer Report, should a section of the roof not be readily visible, the surveyor may report that it couldn’t be viewed due to access restrictions. When undertaking a Building Survey on the other hand, the surveyor will endeavour to gain a view of this section of roof even if this means driving to an adjacent road to achieve this. 
Whilst surveyors do not undertake any destructive investigation, they will, where it is safe and practical, and with the owner’s consent, enter roof spaces, lift loose floor coverings, lift drain covers and use a surveyor’s ladder to access areas up to 10ft (3m) in height. Where possible, any access to locked garages/rooms will be undertaken as long as the keys have been provided.

  • What are the limitations of conducting a Valuation Report for a Leasehold Property?

    We only conduct Valuation Reports for properties that have at least 85 years of lease remaining. Whilst lenders have their own differing criteria, RICS guidance states this the minimum unexpired lease term - anything less than 85 years is generally deemed to have a negative impact on the property value.

  • Can you conduct a survey of steel-frame houses, concrete houses, or park homes?

    Lenders have different criteria for offering mortgages on non-traditional properties. If the type of non-traditional property is known (e.g. 'Wimpey No-fines concrete’, ‘BISF’, ‘Reema Panel'), we can give you an indication of the likelihood of its suitability for mortgage purposes. We can conduct surveys of such properties, even if it is just for your peace of mind! As with all our surveys, we can undertake a visual examination, but cannot open up areas of the property to do invasive investigations.

  • Can you conduct a survey of mobile homes?

    No, we do not survey mobile homes.

  • Can you give advice on how much repairs will be?

    Yes, we can give you advice on what the cost of repair will be, however, this can only be included within a Building Survey and there is an additional charge starting at £100.

  • Can you value a flat if it is above a commercial premise?

    If the property has a separate entrance then yes, we can. However, some lenders will not mortgage a property above a commercial premise so we should ask/advise the client to investigate this prior to instructing us.

  • Do you check plumbing and electrics? What are the limitations?

    We visually examine the plumbing and electrics and, where possible, ask for the central heating to be turned on. Taps are operated and toilets are flushed, for example, to see if they operate, but we do not test any systems or appliances. We will make recommendations for further specialist examination/testing as appropriate.

  • Do you inspect load-bearing walls in a property?

    No, we do not undertake the close inspections or intrusive examinations that are necessary in order to provide an opinion on which walls are or are not load-bearing. Whilst we can offer an opinion based upon the layout and factors that are visually available, absolute confirmation can only be made with a closer inspection.

  • Can you value flats for re-instatement purposes?

    We can provide a reinstatement value but it would be for guidance purposes only. We would generally state that the block should be covered as a whole with the share of the premium usually forming a part of the maintenance charge. Building insurance for leasehold properties is usually provided by the landlord.

  • Can you survey a flat which is accessed through the commercial part of the property?

    No, as access through a commercial part of the property signifies a commercial premise. Flats should have their own access arrangements.

  • What does it mean if a property is ‘landlocked’?

    If a property is ‘landlocked’, there is no legal access and it is only accessible by crossing private land. This means that there will be dramatically adverse effects on the property value. Whilst access to ‘landlocked’ properties can be achieved, the ease and cost of the process varies significantly. If the nearest road is not connected to the property, an easement will need to be created. An easement is a legally specified part of another person’s property that you are allowed to use in order to access your property.

  • Can you tell if there is cavity wall insulation in a property?

    Yes, but we can only give an opinion if there is visual evidence (e.g. drill holes). Usually, it would be for the vendor to confirm and produce a guarantee.

  • Can you carry out a survey on a property which has a lease of less than 85 years remaining?

    Yes we can - lease term only affects the property valuation. We only conduct Valuation Reports for properties that have at least 85 years of lease remaining. RICS guidance states that this is the minimum unexpired lease term - anything less than 85 years is usually deemed to have a negative impact on the property value.

  • Do you inspect the cesspit in a property?

    We endeavour to lift and look into chambers where safe and practical to do so, and comment on any obvious defects. However, this is a specialist area, with the performance of the respective system dependent on several factors, including ground porosity, size, and number of users. Therefore, we will provide advice on obtaining further specialist testing within the report.

  • Can you check for a Tree Preservation Order while conducting a survey?

    No, we cannot undertake any checks with your local planning authority, which would be responsible for issuing a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Where possible, we will ask the vendor if they are aware of any TPOs.

  • Can you cross-reference the actual boundary of a property as per stated in the land registry plan?

    Yes, we can do that. However, if any boundary issues are highlighted, we would be unable to take it any further, and the client would need to seek expert advice on what to do next.

  • Is the surveyor a RICS chartered surveyor?

    Yes, all of our surveyors are regulated by the RICS and Quality assured.

  • Can I be there whilst the surveyor is out at the property?

    We normally advise that you are not there for the survey as we do not want the surveyor to get distracted from his inspection.

  • Will someone let me know when the survey is booked?

    Yes. You should receive a call from the booker letting you know that it is booked. In addition, they will email you with your terms and conditions confirming the date.

  • Do you arrange access to the property?

    Yes. We deal with the access and will call and arrange it all for you.

  • When do I need to pay?

    You can pay whenever you like but the report will not be sent out to you until payment has been received.

  • Will I receive a phone call from the surveyor before/after the survey?

    Our surveyor will call you 24 hours after they have been out to the property to let you know how it went. If you would like a call before the survey, please ask and arrange this with the Sales or Booking team.

  • When will I receive my report?

    You will receive the Valuation Report within 3 working days, the Homebuyer Report within 5 working days and the Building Survey within 6 working days.

  • How much notice do I need to give to cancel my survey?

    Our cancellation policy is relevant within as well as outside the 14-day cooling off period and is;  

    If you cancel by 1 p.m. the working day before the planned survey, there will be no charge.  

    If you cancel after 1 p.m. up until 5 p.m. the working day before we will charge a nominal fee to cover administration fees only.  

    If you cancel after 5 p.m. the working day before the planned survey or on the day of the planned survey, full charges will apply.  

    All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to

    Please call us on 01249 444465 if you are unsure as we are always happy to help.


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