So what are Chartered Surveyors?
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You’ve probably got a few questions about what chartered Surveyors in Belfast and beyond actually do, and how we do it. So I’ve put together some basic information which I hope will help.
A chartered surveyor is someone who has completed years of training in their chosen area of surveying and has passed the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) assessment of professional competence (APC). Only once the person has passed the APC are they deemed (in the eyes of the RICS) to be competent enough in their specialised field of surveying to become a Chartered Surveyor.
Most surveyors (myself included) tend to enter the profession via the most common route, which is to get a degree in a surveying related subject. Once they finish their degree they would get a placement within a firm of Chartered Surveyors, where they would keep a diary of all the work carried out each day for for up to 2 years (depending on their chosen discipline).
At the end of the 2 years they would sit the APC which takes the form of a written exam and an interview with a panel of specialist Chartered surveyors.
Basically that’s just a long winded way of saying that Chartered Surveyors are pretty highly qualified within their chosen area of surveying.
What does a residential surveyor do?
As a firm of residential surveyors covering Belfast and beyond, we typically carry out condition reports and HomeBuyer reports on residential properties in order to let clients know what sort of condition the property is in, either before they commit to buying or before they place it on the market to sell. Advising on the condition of the house and pointing out aspects of the it that will need ongoing attention etc. to avoid future issues.
What is an RICS Survey?
An RICS survey follows a prescribed format approved by the RICS. That way you can be sure that you are getting a tried and tested product that will provide you with the best information available depending on the chosen report.
There are four main types of RICS report:
- (soon to become known as a "Home Survey Level 1").
- HomeBuyer Report without valuation
- (soon to become known as a "Home Survey Level 2 (survey only)").
HomeBuyer Report with Valuation
- (soon to become known as a "Home Survey Level 2 (survey and valuation)").
- (soon to become known as a "Home Survey Level 3").
Depending on the age, condition and type of property you’re looking at there will be a specific RICS report that’s suitable for your needs.
Why would you need an RICS survey?
This is one I get asked this a lot!
The majority of people I speak to are often under the misapprehension that their mortgage report (from the bank) is actually a survey.
Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. A mortgage report is just that; a report for the bank to allow them to make a lending decision. You’re typically just a third party who the bank have allowed to view the report (more and more banks now won't even let you see it, for fear of creating a legal link).
What does all this mean?
Well, in the case of a mortgage report, you don’t have a legal connection to the surveyor. Typically the only connection is between the bank and the surveyor as it is the bank that has instructed the report.
With a private RICS survey you are the instructing party and the survey/report is carried on your behalf.
Additionally mortgage reports tend to give very little information. Typically they’re 1 to 2 pages long with lots of tick boxes and a single section for the surveyor to write a brief overview which is typically a few paragraphs long.
In contrast an RICS homebuyers report is much more detailed with sections on each individual element of the property. It also uses a traffic light system which allows you to see at a glance which items require immediate investigation and which are less serious. On average I find my reports tend to be around 30 - 35 pages long and will include (where appropriate) photographs of defects that are present.