Having a home survey done does not have to be done only by a chartered surveyor. Engineers, architects and other professionals in the field can also carry them out though the quality can vary. When you want a professional survey to a high standard you are more likely to get that from a chartered house surveyor.
Different types of surveyors
What a lot of people do not realise is that not all surveyors are the same and that there are different specialisations amongst them. If you need to know about a piece of land you would want an expert with experience in land surveyance. If you want a commercial property surveyed you need to make sure the surveyor has experience in more than just residential surveys. In some cases the areas might overlap some, but in some cases a surveyor might only have experience with construction surveys rather than home surveys.
As well as making sure you find a surveyor to complete a homebuyers survey with experience in residential surveys, you should also make sure they are RICS assessed. RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and surveyors that have passed their assessment and follow their rules of conduct and competency are more likely to be trustworthy, professional and skilled. They are identifiable by the MRICS or FRICS after their name to indicate they are qualified. This makes them a chartered surveyor, which means you can have more confidence in their recommendations.
Need a homebuyers report?
If you are looking specifically for a home buyer report then the best options are a general practice surveyor or a chartered building surveyor. You could choose a valuer but their focus is more on just the value of the property not on detailing faults and issues minor and major in nature. That is what a chartered house surveyor offers. They have the training and background so that they can observe and record all defects and can make a very detailed report of what they find. Depending on whether you are having the basic or full report you will get a map outlining the issues, photographs that are annotated and more.
How long does it take and what does it cost?
A homebuyers survey covers the general condition of the property and major as well as minor concerns. As mentioned you can get a more detailed structural survey if you require it, that costs a little more but gives a lot more detail. How long it takes them at the property depends on its condition and its size. At least half a day of investigation usually. The actual writing of the report is what takes longer. It can take at least two weeks to get the report in writing. Costs vary depending on the surveyor and their experience, training and the size and age of the property.
When you are looking to buy or sell a property and you want to really know its worth and condition, getting a building survey is the best action to take.