Most prudent house purchasers will arrange a survey, but there are advantages in using a local surveyor when buying a house. Some surveyors cover a wide area and inspect properties in locations which vary considerably. However, if you instruct a surveyor in a local practice you can be fairly sure that the survey will be carried out by someone with local experience.
- Firstly, a surveyor who is already known to you or who has been personally recommended, either by a friend, family member or solicitor, is more likely to be a local surveyor. Most people would prefer to instruct a local surveyor when buying a house who has been recommended to them by a reliable person rather than someone who is not known to them.
- A local surveyor is more likely to be familiar with properties in the area, their form of construction, local materials and associated defects. A local surveyor may have inspected other houses in the same road, or possibly even the house you are considering purchasing.
- Local knowledge is important particularly for items which cannot be seen. For instance, a surveyor from another area may not be aware that a particular housing estate has pitch fibre drains. Sometimes the drains are not visible, eg, if a manhole cover has been concealed by paving or decking or is simply too heavy to lift. A local surveyor who has experience of inspecting other properties in the area will be able to warn of the possibility of pitch fibre drains where present in the area, and recommend further investigations prior to commitment to purchase to avoid unforeseen costly repairs at a later date.
- Similarly, a local surveyor is more likely to be aware of areas where black ash mortar has been used, which may sometimes not be visible, eg, behind rendering. It is important to know whether back ash mortar has been used as this can increase the risk of wall tie corrosion which requires costly repairs.
- A local surveyor is more likely to be aware of areas which may be affected by mining. Be aware that not all areas affected by mining will be obvious, particularly to someone who is not local. Some green rural areas and built up areas of cities, such as parts of Bristol, may have former mine workings, with no or few visible signs.
- Some surveyors from outside the area may not recognise ex-Local Authority properties which have been rebuilt. A local surveyor is more likely to have such knowledge and be aware of which properties are traditionally built and which are non-traditionally built. This is important as some non-traditional properties may be defective and not be mortgageable.
- Many purchasers view flood maps which show a potential risk of flooding, but a local surveyor is more likely to know whether a particular area has actually flooded in recent years or within living memory.
- Similarly, some searches indicate that properties in a certain postcode area have a higher risk of subsidence. A local surveyor is more likely to be aware of areas with a higher incidence of subsidence and is able to warn of the risk even if there are no visible signs.
For indication of the cost of a survey visit how much does a survey cost?
To find a local surveyor when buying a house visit RICS Find a Surveyor