December 2023
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Always, always go with your surveyor on a survey – British surveyors cannot be trusted

If you’re buying a home, hopefully you’ll commission a survey. But remember, your surveyor will probably work with you only once in his or her life, but your surveyor will work with local estate agents hundreds of times every year. So, it’s important for surveyors to keep in with local estate agents. Any surveyor who gets a reputation for being too harshly honest about properties estate agents are keen to sell, will find himself or herself with worryingly little work. This means few surveyors will openly condemn a property as being a disaster. Because of this, some surveyors will be so self-serving that they will deliberately not mention problems with a property you are thinking of buying. Those who are more honest will tend to tread a safe course, mentioning all possible faults (so you don’t sue them) but reporting on them using fairly bland language. This may lead you to underestimate the seriousness of problems.

I have experienced both types of surveyor. When I bought my first UK home, the surveyor deliberately and knowingly omitted to mention some faults. When I threatened to sue him, he quickly handed over £2,500. With my second home purchase, I realised British surveyors cannot be trusted to work in the interests of their clients, so I accompanied the surveyor on the survey. When I pushed him, he admitted that three faults we found were quite serious, yet in his report these faults were rated as minor (presumably so as not to upset the large estate agency selling the property).

So please, if you or anybody you know is buying a home – do NOT trust your surveyor, always always accompany your surveyor on the survey and always ask hard questions about any aspect of the property that worries you. British surveyors are mostly untrustworthy and you have to protect yourself against their self-serving pandering to the interests of the estate agents who provide much of their work.

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