My estate agent has just told me off
Our highly qualified independent surveyors can offer you advice on your property problems and can carry out a building survey on your prospective purchase; whether it is residential or for business. We can prepare a schedule of condition and property report in relation to your lease. We carry out dilaps reports for landlords or tenants.
If you have a property problem we may even already have written an article on it and would refer you to our free articles page Click Here
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A case that we have come across, fairly recently, is one where a buyer was actually told off by their estate agent for not going ahead with purchasing the property they had viewed with, you have guessed it, that estate agent.
Estate agents always blame surveyors
Over the years we have come to understand and accept that estate agents will always blame the surveyors for a sale not going ahead. For example in this case an estate agent told the buyer off for not purchasing the house but fortunately buyer had had a survey carried out on the property by a Surveyor who had advised them not to proceed. Surveyors will put their comments down in writing to be scrutinised. Time and time again we find that estate agents will say things and never put them in writing, as you are no doubt aware from other articles that we have written estate agents do not have to be qualified nor indeed have any experience or knowledge of the property whatsoever just be able to sell properties. When something is going against the sale of the property this is when estate agents make many claims and comments rather than put them down in writing like a Surveyor.
There is no such thing as a bad survey
We have made the comment that there is no such thing as a bad survey because whenever you have a building survey carried out or a structural survey carried out by a Surveyor the information you get back is not good or bad it represents their best opinion from their knowledge and experience of the property that they have just seen. It almost feels as if sometimes when we are talking to estate agents they feel we are making up the information that we have found over the years (we never talk specifically to an estate agent about a survey we have carried out for you unless you have given us permission).
In the particular example that made us write this article one of the main problems was an extension that has been carried out which has not had Planning Permission Approval or Building Regulations Approval. We could see this from the way it had been constructed and asked the solicitor to check this and they did finding that neither Planning Permission Approval nor Building Regulations Approvals had been agreed.
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Interestingly the estate agent did not see the fact that there was no Planning Permission Approval or Building Regulations Approval on the extension as a reason for not buying
Interestingly the estate agent did not see the lack of Planning Permission Approval and Building Regulations Approval as an appropriate reason for not continuing with the purchase and told their client that they simply should get insurance against this. Unfortunately, in our experience, and solicitor's experience too insurance policies that are available are written by companies that are often part of the estate agents group as not only do estate agents own the estate agency often they own the surveyors and often own the solicitors and also own the mortgage companies and insurance companies too so these policies are written to get a sale through and as this independent solicitor commented are almost worthless. In this particular case, and in other cases that we have come across, the Planning Permission and the Building Regulations policy is only applicable where no further enquiries are made by anyone with regard to any problems. This means that if the buyer was to carry out further investigations for example to arrange a meeting between themselves and the Local Authority Planning Department or the Local Authority Building Regulations Control Surveyors then it would void the insurance policy and stop them ever having a claim.
The client is very pleased with the Surveyor, the estate is very unhappy with the Surveyor
It was interesting as when we discussed this with our client they were so pleased that we had spotted the illegal extension as from the buyer's perspective it had just appeared to be a pleasant, spacious loft conversion and rear extension. However, as mentioned, from an experienced Surveyor's point of view there are various factors there that meant the conversion was unlikely to have been carried out with Building Regulations Approval or Planning Permission Approval.
Insist on meeting your Surveyor
As you are no doubt aware buying a house is likely to be the largest investment you ever make; you have most likely heard this phrase many times. You need to put some time aside not only for viewing properties but for also meeting and walk around with your surveyor.
You will no doubt learn much from this experience and most of all it gives you the opportunity to ask your surveyor questions of your concerns, which can be anything from a crack in the wall that you have seen or worries over the lining in a roof (if you have looked in the roof). Allocating time to allow you to have a slow walk around the property without the estate agent and usually without the homeowner being present is invaluable. It is amazing what other things you spot when you have a second or third or even fourth visit to a property.
What we do when we meet a client at a property is to take them for a walk around to show them what the property looks like from a Surveyor's point of view. Don't worry we will not talk about only doom and gloom issues and problems, which is why we have a good, bad and ugly section in our executive summaries. We are more than happy to speak about potential loft conversions and potential extensions to the property, re-configurations and refurbishments internally and are sure to speak about many areas that estate agents have forgotten to mention to you.
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Why have one of our surveys by an Independent Surveyor?
The first important thing to remember is that very few people can call themselves Chartered Surveyors, approximately 100,000 people in total. This is because they have had to undergo training, which takes approximately seven years, which includes academic training and training with a surveyor on a broad range of subject areas and then a specialist area / core subject is chosen which they are examined on again and then are registered by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as a Chartered Surveyor.
As a Chartered Surveyor you have to keep your knowledge up to date in your specialist work areas.
Building Surveys versus Structural Surveys
Nearly everyone still calls us to ask for a full structural survey however in recent years the term building survey has been used. It more accurately describes what the client wants as you want a Surveyor to look at the whole of the property, not just the structure so this would then include for such things as woodworm, wet rot and dry rot and other structural issues and some non-structural issues, for example we will often comment on close by trees, drainage problems, old electrics, old gas installations; all things that are not necessarily structural but can cost you money.
Knowledge and Technical knowledge
We are not certain what other Building Surveyors include in their surveys but we always combine the technical knowledge we have with the day to day experiences that we have from looking at properties, to give the best insight to buyers as to possible problems. Often we have said that if we can see a slight problem on the surface it may well be hiding other problems beneath such as poor workmanship and materials; meaning the property suffers from problems.
Clear straightforward and clearly written and illustrated information on your property
As Independent Surveyors we provided detailed structural survey reports where we divide our reports into easy to read sections with detailed information about the property you have asked us to survey.
We divide the Executive Summary into ‘The Good', ‘The Bad' and ‘The Ugly', to help distinguish what in our mind are the main issues of the property in question.
Photographs and sketches
We believe that photographs taken at the time of our survey together with detailed sketches will help the potential buyer of a property fully understand any property problems and issues clearly.
Some examples of our sketches and photos
Our circles and ovals and what they mean
Within our reports we utilise a system of ovals and circles to highlight problem areas or characteristics within a property to better explain the issues.
Within our structural building surveys we give advice on an approximate cost in the Executive Summary and the main body of the report, which identifies how much a problem will cost to solve. We often give alternative ways to solve a problem so you have a choice of different costs depending upon your financial situation.
Rear right hand side chimneys have deteriorated
We had a limited view of the rear right hand chimneys (all directions given as you face the property); where we could see the chimneys from within the roof we could see they were deteriorating.
ACTION REQUIRED: Re-point within the roof space and also check at high level; this is easier said than done as it will require scaffolding to gain access to this area.
Re-pointing is carried out where the existing mortar has failed and broken away to stop damp penetration and further deterioration. The mortar should be raked out to approximately 20mm and then replaced with a mortar of a similar type, therefore, stopping damp occurring.
ANTICIPATED COST: In the region of £1,000 to £3,000 dependent upon how access is gained; please obtain quotations.
Examples of our Building Surveys and Structural Surveys
We have hundreds of different of types of Building Surveys and Structural Surveys that we are more than happy to send you because we want you to see how good our surveys are. We have more than likely done a survey of a property that is similar to the one that you are looking to buy. If you free phone us on 0800 298 5424 we would be more than happy to have a chat and discussion about the property you are wishing to buy and it is more than likely we would be able to find an example survey that is similar to your property or at the very least from the same era, as we do feel that over the years we have now surveyed nearly every era and most property types.
You will also find lots of testimonials and recommendations on our website from happy customers. We do have customers coming back over the years to use us again and again, as we do have families where every member of the family has used our services over the years. Equally, with commercial properties we have companies that have grown over the years and as they buy new properties we help them with surveys, schedules of condition and property reports.
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a Surveyor with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dilapidations or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a Surveyor to give you a call back.
Commercial Property Surveyors
If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .
Our surveying articles
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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