Oakfield Building Chartered Surveyors

How to find a RICS surveyor

If you’re ever in need of a qualified surveyor for any reason, it’s absolutely vital you choose somebody who has full RICS certification, as this helps to ensure a certain standard of quality. The only way to guarantee that you get an experienced and dependable surveyor is to check for RICS accreditation, because this gives surveyors explicit standards to work towards and hold themselves to. Read on to discover more about the RICS certification process, including the importance of making sure your surveyor has this accreditation, and a guide for finding RICS surveyors for any project.

What is a RICS Chartered Surveyor?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is a professional surveying organisation that seeks to promote the highest international standards throughout the industry – ensuring the effective management and valuation of properties. For this reason, RICS accreditation is a clear badge of honour amongst surveyors and a sign you can trust them to deliver a high-quality service. While RICS has its headquarters in London, its 134,000 members work in almost 150 countries, and all abide by the same rigorous standards. In any profession and industry, it’s important to have an external body that can hold tradespeople and professionals accountable on the job.
RICS Surveyor

The benefits of surveying a property

A house survey can be essential before purchasing a new house or other property, as this generates a report which highlights any defects with the property or just generally any information you should know. The benefits of getting a property survey from a RICS chartered surveyors include:

You may already have a valuation for the property you’re looking at – but this can be for a mortgage provider’s benefit instead of your own. Their valuation impacts the amount that you borrow from them, and so they have a vested interest in artificially inflating this amount. Surveyors work exclusively for you, and their valuation has no incentive to be inaccurate.
Many people see surveys as a needless investment, especially if they can check the property themselves, but a surveyor conducts a far deeper inspection than buyers. This allows them to uncover any invisible defects which will necessitate a repair, and you may negotiate this with the seller instead of taking the costs on yourself after the transaction is already complete.
Along similar lines, a comprehensive building survey and estimation helps you to know the property’s worth; a good bargaining chip in any transaction. The surveyor could reveal that the house has a true value much lower than advertised, regardless of repairs, letting you potentially negotiate a new price with the seller that reflects this new, more accurate information.

If there’s a particular issue that’s affecting homes in a certain area, your local surveyors typically have a strong understanding of the usual problems at hand, and how to look out for them. This helps to make sure you get a final report that intimately knows the region, alongside the buildings within it, so it could better reveal specific defects and issues.

RICS and RPSA
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RICS Building Surveyors

Building Surveyors

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Buckinghamshire, Marlow and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

The difference between RICS and RPSA

The RICS isn’t the only accredited body that deals with property surveys, as the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) also represents the surveying industry. Members of this organisation could conduct several of the same surveys as their RICS counterparts, with the addition of buy-to-let surveys – though the particulars of each can sometimes be different. The RPSA focuses more on marketing surveyors than providing them with clear regulations. They emphasise the importance of providing value to their customers and work to maximise this value in a way which doesn’t conflict with RICS standards, allowing the groups to co-exist.

The main RICS survey types

There are three main types of RICS surveys that you can select from, with each ascending level representing an increased level of depth. The one you select depends on various factors, such as the type of property you want to buy, your confidence in the seller, and your budget, as an intricate survey usually costs more. The three RICS surveys are:

Level 1 Condition Survey

A basic RICS Condition Survey doesn’t go into much detail about the property – and instead focuses on a traffic light system to give a general overview of the building. This also highlights any major issues with that property, but otherwise doesn’t expand upon these concerns. If you’re buying a modern property which you can tell is in good overall condition, this is a useful confirmation.

Level 2 HomeBuyers Report

A HomeBuyers Report is perhaps the most common choice of survey for buildings in reasonable condition and takes a closer look at the property’s value to offer an independent estimation. The surveyor may also give their own advice about the property and any necessary repairs or maintenance, alongside notifying the buyer about the possible presence of dampness within the property.

Level 3 Full Structural Survey/building survey

A Full Structural Survey is the most detailed choice, forming a complete assessment of the property in terms of its overall structure, and its health. If the place seems to have some level of disrepair, or the building is over 50 years old, this is definitely a good investment. A Level 3 survey involves looking under floorboards or generally checking in more depth to ensure a comprehensive report.

Step to finding a RICS surveyor

Here are the steps you can take to find a qualified RICS surveyor:
It’s important that you get a surveyor that knows the local area – including any common problems which might affect the property you’re buying. This helps ensure that your report reflects what this home needs to thrive in these specific conditions and that you get excellent advice for keeping it in top quality.
Look at the organisation’s website closely for RICS accreditation – any RICS surveyor would proudly display this on their ‘Home’ or ‘About’ page, so its absence is obvious. RICS standards ensure that you gain a higher quality service that matches international standards; you only get the best when you choose RICS.

You should feel free to ask surveyors questions in order to assess their experience and determine if they’re the best fit for you, and any unique requirements you might have. These questions could include:

What are your usual rates?

Many surveyors offer a free quote, letting you see how much a report of any level would cost, which helps you figure out which survey you can afford, especially as different companies use different prices.

Do you have experience in (specific local area)?

This helps you figure out if the surveyor knows about any special conditions or common defects that can affect specific parts of the town or city or even the street where your possible property resides.

What tools do you use when surveying?

This question assesses the technology behind the surveying team, including what they might use to conduct an assessment – particularly for places that would be difficult to reach, for which they may use drones.

If there’s a particular issue that’s affecting homes in a certain area, your local surveyors typically have a strong understanding of the usual problems at hand, and how to look out for them. This helps to make sure you get a final report that intimately knows the region, alongside the buildings within it, so it could better reveal specific defects and issues.

Cost considerations when hiring a RICS surveyor

Budget is sometimes an obstacle when people debate hiring a surveyor – but this can actually save you a lot of money long-term, depending on the property. For example, if you invest in a Level 3 survey before completing a purchase, the assessment could reveal certain structural problems. These can then result in a price reduction greater than the cost of the examination or may motivate the seller to address these concerns themselves, so you won’t have to spend thousands on repairs. Even if this property is still in good condition after a survey, the peace of mind this affords can often be priceless.

Local RICS Surveyors
RICS Accreditation
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What does a final RICS report look like?

The contents of the report depend on the survey level, but in-depth assessments may include dozens of pages, with a closer look at all the property’s relevant features. These reports use a traffic light system – where green means the feature is in good condition, yellow means there’s room for improvement, and red means there are significant faults. Level 2 and Level 3 surveys also commonly include images to illustrate their findings. This can be even more helpful than the report’s written component, showing exactly where the property has faults and how you could set about remediating them.

Who can I trust to survey properties in London and the Home Counties?

If you live in London, or any of the surrounding counties, you’ll need a surveying company that has experience in these specific locations alongside full RICS certification to ensure the quality of their service. A business that has decades of experience in these areas can also guarantee a strong understanding of the local conditions, as well as the prominence of certain building issues. At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors, we use our RICS regulation to continuously improve the quality of our services throughout and beyond London. For more information on our surveys, info@oakfieldsurveyors.co.uk email us today.

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James Peck

James has worked the residential property sector since 2005 with roles in Asset Management, Probate, Insurance, Party Wall Matters, Valuation and Building Surveying in both local and national areas having spent several years working within the London area and the Home Counties. James specialises in building surveying with a particular interest in non-traditional construction properties and historic buildings. James has an in-depth knowledge of residential buildings and provides clear and concise advice to clients.
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