First time buyers, how we can help you


How an independent survey of your own

can help you save money when buying

your first home


If you are in the process of buying your first ever property we can provide help and advice with regard to independent valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, home buyers reports, property surveys, or any other property matters.

How to book a survey

Quite simply, to book a survey you can free phone us on 0800 298 5424 or another independent surveyor.




Free phone 0800 298 5424

Make sure they are members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association (ISVA)

We would recommend you make sure the surveyors are part of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association, known as ISVA, and check that the surveyor is used to carrying out building surveys on your type of property, by this we mean if your property is:

A flat

Is it a conversion of a Victorian, Georgian or Edwardian property, or is it a purpose built flat from the 1920's / 1930's to the 1960's when concrete was used a lot, or a more recent purpose built flat which could possibly have a metal structural frame and be highly insulated.

Edwardian property converted into flats

Purpose built block of flats

Metal structural frame used on a modern purpose built flat

An older house

Or are you buying a Georgian, Regency, Victorian or Edwardian property. Whilst all these properties have character they also have characteristics for their age, type and style.






A modern house

Or are you buying something much more modern which tend to be better insulated but are certainly built to a price rather than quality standard. If you don't know what the age of the property is have a chat with us, we are sure we will be able to help you on this.


Victorian semi-detached property


Modern semi-detached property

When should I book a survey?

We would say the sooner the better, or maybe we should say the sooner you talk to someone who's working just for you and employ them the better - remember the estate agent isn't, the financial adviser isn't and often the solicitor is working for you and the bank, or building society, or mortgage lender.


Why you shouldn't use an estate agent recommended surveyor or contractor?

We would also recommend you take your time as a first time buyer and not be rushed into a purchase that you may later regret, no matter how good a property deal you are being offered usually something else will come along sooner or later.


Find a trusted and knowledgeable friend to discuss your house with

You shouldn't use the surveyor the estate agent recommends as they are likely to have a special interest. Equally you shouldn't use the contractors that the estate agent recommends. In our experience as they have been recommended a lot by the estate agent it is them that they want to please and not you as the person they are carrying out the work for. No matter how good a contractor is they will usually be more loyal to someone that regularly gives them work to the person that gives them a one off job.


Should I meet the surveyor at the property?

Yes. We find that most customers find it of great benefit to meet the surveyor at the property as you can ask so many questions that you have been wanting to ask. It is also good to spend time with the surveyor just getting to understand what they see when they look at a property as it can be very different to what you see. We surveyed a property where a first time buyer had literally seen nothing but the beautiful interior, whereas from a surveyor's point of view the buildings were non-traditional buildings and had potential problems when you live in them, and also potential problems with mortgages, and also potential problems with selling.

Should the estate agent be present or not?

Many estate agents like to manage and control the sales process so they will want to be present at the property if they know you are present. From the independent surveyors' point of view they are unlikely to want to talk whilst the estate agent is there, particularly if you haven't already met or had prior discussions. We are happy to talk with the estate agent there but you may not want to hear what we are saying.

As mentioned, we are happy to talk about the property with the estate agent there however remember the estate agent works for the seller and this can be one of the worst things to do as we feel you should have time to reflect on the various points and issues and then present them how you wish to the estate agent. The problem with the estate agent hearing your first discussion with the chartered surveyor is:


Street view of typical post war properties


1. They are working for the seller and as such any problems that are identified they may say have already been included in the valuation of the property or they may say the property is being discounted to allow for these (pretty much the same thing).

2. They may worst still say that they have got contractors and builders, damp proofing contractors and damp proof specialists and woodworm specialists that will be able to sort out your problems no problem at all.


The estate agent says the property has already been discounted and is considerably lower than it should be!

If you are getting this sort of nonsense/comments from the estate agent you do need to remind them that any offer you have made is subject to survey as you are not a property expert and possibly remind them in the nicest possible way that they are sales people and not property experts, so whilst they may be used to the type of things that surveyors identify they are not experts.


If you talk to your chartered surveyor whilst the estate agent is there you may be throwing away a good opportunity

Your chartered surveyor will have some things to say about the structural survey that they have just carried out that are very personal to your particular situation or circumstances and as such the estate agent may glean information that you are not happy or interested in them knowing, or simply don't think it's any of their business to know. We believe that you always need to be aware that estate agents are working for the seller and only get paid when they sell a property and as with any sales people that are commissioned they are very focused on selling the property.


Compare the quality of our website and compare the quality our surveys

Have a look around our website to check out the quality of our website and our building surveys, structural surveys, property reports, schedules of condition, specific defects reports, etc. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK.

We have written several surveying articles which may also help if you are looking to purchase a property:

First time buyers start here

A first time buyer's experience of buying their first property

Can you trust an estate agent?

Do estate agents tell the truth or do they just want the house sale?

Buying a house

Damp proof specialists, talk to us first


Advert for our surveys

If you are interested in having a structural building survey why not free phone our independent surveyors on free phone 0800 298 5424. Here's a blatant advert for our structural surveys.

We would also be more than happy to email you examples of our tailor made survey reports.

We use sketches and photographs throughout our survey reports

As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.




Sketch showing a property on a sloping site

The good, bad and ugly survey

We would also like to introduce to you what we call our good, bad and ugly survey which is a building survey which is sometimes known as a structural survey which we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have taken on board feedback from clients and amended and altered our building survey reports to make them easy to read and understandable and written in plain English.


What do the circles and ovals mean in our building surveys?

In our building surveys and structural surveys you will often see circles and ovals on photographs and sketches. This is a system that we use to emphasise property problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the property problem is. In addition to this if the survey photographs do not we believe explain the property problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own survey sketches.


Purpose built block of flats


Trickle vents above windows

Trickle vents

Excellent Quality Surveying Equipment

We use state of the art surveying equipment on all our surveys, for example we use a 16x optical zoom digital camera to take photographs throughout the property, working top to bottom, inside and out. We can also use thermal imaging photographs to show any areas of heat loss should you wish this. We use specialist resistance meters to locate dampness and surface temperature testers and humidity measurers and anemometers. We also carry out electric earth tests and knife tests on timber windows to check if the timber is rotten.

Our surveyors will not necessarily use all of this surveying equipment when they carry out a survey as it is their expertise that identifies what is needed but it is good to know this surveying equipment is available should it be required.

Earth test

Checking timber windows using knife test

Checking for dampness


Useful surveying articles just for you

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).


Feedback and Testimonials

We welcome any feedback from our survey reports and if you are happy with our services we would be grateful if you could provide us with a testimonial. Have a look at our testimonials to see what people say about us.

Having a Pre-sales Building Survey on a beautiful Tudor property



The content of the website is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision. Why not free phone on 0800 298 5424


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Enviroment, Your Building and Garden Gnomes

Estate Agents help sell houses and work for the vendors

Have a Structural Survey to protect you against structural problems

Home improvements, builder problems and ideas for you on how to solve them

How a Surveyor values a property, Chartered Surveyors and Regulated Valuers

How Chartered Engineers and Building Engineers can help you

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

NHBC National House Building Council

Structural Surveys and How We Can Help You

Traditional and Non-Traditional Houses and Mortgage Problems

Valuations and how much is the building worth?

Whats the difference between a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Surveyor and an Independent Surveyor

Useful property problem articles by Chartered Surveyors explaining building issues to avoid

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Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Flat Roof Problems, how we can solve them

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Pitched Roofs Problems and Solutions

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Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

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All you ever need to know about floors

Asbestos in your home, what you need to know

Ceiling Cracks and Structural Problems

Condensation, Damp and Black Mould Problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Woodworm is it a problem or not? Is it active or not?

Services - Building help and advice on costly services

Drainage, what's underground can affect what's above ground

Heating; I just can't get my house warm enough or alternatively I just can't get my house cool enough

You can't mess around with the electric, you need an expert


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Building Terms Explained and Directories

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Dilapidations Help and Advice What is a Dilapidations Notice?

A Beginner's Guide to Dilaps

Damp Mould and Condensation

Dampness Rising Damp Mould Black Mould Condensation

Dilapidations and Negotiations

Dilapidations Claim by a Landlord

Energy Saving what can I do?

Finance what is a Financial Adviser (We are not Financial Advisors)

Fire Risk and Help

Health and Safety Risks

Insurance how do I get the correct property insurance?

Landlords Surveying Advice

Property Investment how can I invest in property?

Property TV Reviews by an Independent Surveyor

Schedules of Condition Leasing a Commercial Property

Scotts Schedule and Section 18 Valuation

Tenants Surveying Advice

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Snow and Ice

Strong Winds

Reviews from clients on Commercial Building Surveys

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Industrial Buildings and Warehouses and what our clients say about us

Offices Large and Small, reviews and feedback from our clients

Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels and other Leisure facilities we have surveyed over the years

Shops and Retail, helpful reviews from our clients


First Time Buyers

Buying a Leasehold or Shared Freehold Home

Buying and Selling Houses for the experienced house and home purchaser

First Time Buyers how do I go about buying my first house and home?

Improve your property knowledge with our presentations on house, homes and commercial property

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Building Surveying Useful Information


Dilapidations Presentations in Detail

Final Year Building Surveying Exams for University Students or those that would like to know more

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Building and Property Disputes

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1stAssociated Surveyors Review for Structural Surveys and Building Surveys

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Both at work / busy couples, how we can help and some 1stAssociated client reviews

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First Time Buyers, what they say about us

Listed buildings, structural surveys

Older buildings, a review of buying an older house

Families with children looking for a new home, feedback and reviews

Buying a Non-Traditional Property

Residential Surveys

House and Home Surveys

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Commercial Surveys

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