When purchasing a property it is important to have a good understanding of its condition, particularly as this will be your biggest investment. Property surveys are a key part of the process, and it is essential that you have an expert conducting the survey for you. There are two professional bodies that you should look for when choosing a surveyor, these are RPSA and RICS.
RPSA stands for Residential Property Surveyors Association and is an independent representative body for specialist residential surveyors. RPSA surveyors are trained to a high standard and offer a range of products to help property buyers. Their latest product is the RPSA Home Condition Survey, which is a cost-effective solution for properties that do not require major works. RPSA surveyors are independent of mortgage lenders and estate agents and are therefore able to provide impartial advice. They must complete regular continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure that they are kept up to date with the latest industry standards and regulations.
The main difference between RPSA and RICS is that the RPSA focuses on residential property assessments while the RICS has a wider range of services. The RICS is a well-known global organisation that sets high standards and regulates its members.
Despite the differences between RPSA and RICS, both provide a valuable service to property buyers. RPSA surveyors are fully trained and have extensive experience of carrying out residential property surveys. RICS surveyors are also required to adhere to strict professional codes of conduct and must undertake regular continuing training to remain accredited.
It is not uncommon for people to assume that they must choose a surveyor accredited by the RICS, believing that this indicates that they are of a higher quality. However, the RPSA does set certain standards, and non-RICS surveyors are not necessarily worse than those who are accredited.
If you choose an RPSA surveyor, you will receive a survey and valuation of your property. This will be a Level 1 or Level 2 survey, and you can expect to have your report completed within five days of the inspection. The duration of your survey depends on the size and type of the property, so it is important to factor this into your house buying journey.
In addition to a RPSA Home Condition Survey, you can also purchase an RICS HomeBuyer Report or an RICS Building Survey. These surveys include everything that the RPSA Home Condition Survey does, but they will also include a valuation of the property. This will allow you to use the findings of your RPSA survey as leverage in negotiations with sellers.
It is important to remember that an rpsa or rics surveyor will be able to detect a wide range of problems in your new home, from a structural issue to damp and timber infestation. However, it is possible that your surveyor may not be able to discover some issues because they cannot access hard-to-reach areas, such as behind floorboards or under furniture.