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  • Local Surveyor or National Surveyor?

    27th November 2017

    Local or National Surveyor?



    Does it matter where my surveyor is from? Firstly, lets look at the benefits of a chartered surveyor. 

    RICS Chartered Surveyors have undertaken a RICS accredited degree followed by further on the job training. They then must prove their understanding to RICS in order to become accredited. They will also specialise specifically in residential properties and have an extensive understanding about what to look for when inspecting a house.


    But back to the question, does it matter if your surveyor is local?

    It isn’t quite as simple as yes or no. A surveyor local to the area with many years experience is more likely to know of any issues that are common to properties as well as any specific building techniques and materials that were used at different periods in time. As a result they will know what issues on the property are of cause for concern and which are expected and nothing much to worry about. They will also know what issues are likely to crop up in the future based on this information and can advise you accordingly. 

    A surveyor not local to the area will also have many years of experience that will allow them to identify faults and provide advice. But, there are some potential issues they may not be aware of as they aren’t from the area. An example of this is Mundic concrete discussed below. Would a surveyor who doesn’t know about this issue pick up on it and provide advice if it isn’t something they have ever come across in the geographic areas they cover more often? Whilst the surveyor may be good at their job, you may end up missing out on information that could really affect the maintenance costs or future property value.

    On the other hand, many would argue the majority of properties are quite standard. Whilst they differ in size they generally use brick or stone and have a tile or slate roof. The knowledge of relevant issues and advice needed shouldn’t then vary too much between properties (only the type of issue that happens to be found).



    National or Local Company?

    There are benefits to both. A local company will generally employ local surveyors who are experienced in that area. You can almost guarantee that they will be aware of and be able to advise you on any issues that are particular to the area your property is in.

    A national firm could send a surveyor that isn’t as local depending on how they operate. Some national firms employ surveyors local to each area that they cover so that you know you have an experienced surveyor that knows the area. Other national firms may have surveyors that cover a larger geographic area depending on what work comes in. Some national firms pass on the survey to a 3rd party surveyor that will do the job for less than they have quoted you.

    One added benefit a national firm may offer is that where a surveyor uncovers an issue in a property that they are unsure of, (we all come across new issues in our jobs whatever our experience!), they have a network of surveyors they can speak to to confirm their thoughts and subsequent advice.

    We work with local and national surveying firms who have surveyors local to the area.


    Examples of local knowledge:

    West Devon and Cornwall – Mundic Concrete

    Many homes in this area, built between 1900-1950, were constructed using a cement that was mixed with waste from tin, lead and copper mines. Chemical pyrites embedded in the waste turn to sulphuric acid when water penetrates. The result, the concrete starts to crumble.

    It has been suggested that 10,000 properties are affected – no-one knows the exact number or exactly which properties. Many owners have found the value of their property slashed by 25% as a result and are unable to remortgage. The properties with the worst cases of mundic concrete are not mortgageable. It has become more routine to test for this issue as part of getting a mortgage here. However, issues specific to other areas may not form part of mortgage checks and a survey is an opportunity to mitigate this risk. 


    Temporary Homes

    In some areas properties in the 1930s/40s were built as temporary holiday homes designed to last 20-30 years. However, they are still in use as general housing and so they can often have higher maintenance costs or other issues as a result. Will a surveyor not from the area be aware which properties this affects?


    Other factors:

    Take a look at our surveyor bios – are you buying a property that is particularly unique? Some surveyors specialise in unusual property types and it will be listed on their bio. We suggest you use these surveyors in these cases.

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