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How Much is a Survey on the Property I Want to Buy? 

 If you’ve had an offer accepted on a property, you’ll be wondering whether you need a house survey and if so which one. We look at different types of home surveys, which type is right for your property and – the likely home survey costs. 

What is a property survey?

A property survey is a detailed inspection of the property’s condition. With almost 50 years in the property industry, at Eyesurvey we know what a major issue is and can pick out the smallest of details that you may not have noticed.

As RICS Chartered surveyors, we are able to tell you if there are structural problems like an unstable wall or subsidence, as well as providing skilled commentary on the property itself. 

Do I need to get a survey?

Although not mandatory, a property survey can go a long way in helping you avoid expensive and unwelcome surprises. Given the hundreds of thousands of pounds it costs to buy a new home, a few hundred pounds on a survey to have the comfort of an independent, expert surveyor looking over it feels like a good investment. 

The information from the survey also provides impartial information that you’re able to act on within the negotiation of the price of the property you’re hoping to purchase. We would particularly recommend a survey if:

 • you have any specific worries about any part of the property

 • you feel unsure about what sort of condition the property is in

 • you are looking to buy an old or unusual property

 • the property has a thatched roof or is timber framed

 • the building is Listed, or stands in a Conservation Area

Which survey is best to get?

Do remember – a Valuation, carried out for mortgage or similar purposes, is NOT A SURVEY!

Now that property prices have spiked again many people overpay for a comprehensive survey when that money could be used for something else. However, you do not want a cheaper survey that misses out a fault within the property that later causes you problems. 

We try to guide you on what is suitable and likely to give the best value for your fee. We can’t offer advice on survey costs unless we know the location, type, size and other details of what you hope to buy – please understand, any survey is an individual, professional job carried out only for you personally, and can’t be priced like “a box of cornflakes”.

To help our customers with this there are three main surveys that our company carry out, the details for each are listed below: 

RICS Condition Report (Level One) 

A Condition Report is the most basic survey you can get, and the cheapest. Based on a traffic light system, this report focuses on the condition of the property only and flags up any areas that need attention. It does not give advice or a valuation.


Suitable for: Fairly recently built, small properties, such as new builds or conventional homes in good condition that you're not planning to do any extensive work upon.

RICS Homebuyer Report (Level 2)

This report is more detailed and gives you a Market valuation of the property, and also a calculated Valuation for Building Insurance purposes. It includes an extensive inspection and highlights defects or anything which may affect the property's value with the traffic lights system, but the Homebuyer report can't look beyond the floor coverings, floorboards or behind the wall finishes, but does give advice on further inspections or investigations needed. Does include loft areas, damp checks, any signs of building movement found. 

Suitable for: Most conventional properties built around 1900 onwards, in a reasonable condition and/ or on which you are considering small scale alterations but does not include advice on the alterations or extensions to be made..

RICS Building Survey (Level 3)

This survey gives an extensive inspection of the property condition including detailed information about the fabric of the property and its structure. The report also includes descriptions of visible defects and warns of potential hidden flaws together with an outline of additional investigations and repair options. 

Suitable for: Unusual, older or non-traditional buildings or those that have been significantly altered. Buildings that are conventional but in poor condition or that you are planning major alterations to - but does not include advice on the alterations or extensions to be made.

How much is a survey?

Our team has been working on commercial and residential properties for the over 30 years meaning we have dealt with numerous cases ranging in size. In our experience, it doesn’t matter if you are downsizing, buying a property for business purposes or are a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to decide on which survey would be best to carry out, which in turn, will affect the cost.

To ensure that we’re advising on the correct report for your potential new purchase, we require as much information on the property as you can share to effectively help you choose the best survey for your particular needs. Although costs can differ depending on the survey you require, here at Eyesurvey we aim to provide the best service possible to all customers as well as the best prices.

At Eyesurvey we are more than happy to talk you through any questions you may have regarding our services and if they are right for you, including which survey you may need. To find out more about our services and to book yours with Eyesurvey, get in touch with us on 01206 545 139 or drop the details - location, type, size and other details - of the property on which you require the survey via our website Contact Us page.

Understanding Help to Buy Valuations If you have bought a home with a loan from the Help to Buy scheme you may be looking to repay, remortgage or sell your property in 2020. 

To do this successfully, Target, who had been selected by the HCA to manage the scheme, require you to get an independent Help to Buy Valuation report.

Introduced by the government to support first time home buyers get a foot onto the property ladder, the Help to Buy scheme launched in April 2013.


At Eyesurvey, our experience spans over 40 years, and we’re always keeping our finger on the property pulse in the UK. That’s why it’s no surprise that we’ve carried out already over a hundred Help to Buy Valuations! 

Why do I need a Help to Buy Valuation

As the homeowner of a Help to Buy property, if you’re looking to repay the loan, remortgage the house or sell the property, you’ll require a Help to Buy ValuationA Mortgage Valuation Report is not sufficient and cannot be used. This valuation provides an independent assessment of the market value of the property, as required by the government appointed administrator, Target (HCA).

From this valuation, the administrator of the loan can effectively work out what needs to be paid back to settle the debt. The amount that you must pay back will be calculated on the independently assessed value of the property at the time of repayment, not the original purchase price.


Who are Target (HCA)?

Target is an organisation which has been appointed by the government to process the loan administration services on behalf of the Home & Communities Agency


Target require a specific RICs valuation to be sent to them referencing a detailed valuation of the Help to Buy property. 


How long is the Help to Buy Valuation valid for? 

Timing is vital, your Help to Buy Valuation is only valid for 3 months. It is therefore very important that you have planned ahead and have everything in place prior to instructing your Chartered Surveyor to proceed.


Who can carry out a Help to Buy Valuation? 

To conduct a Help to Buy Valuation, the Chartered Surveyor will need to complete the Report, strictly following the valuation requirements laid down by Target, and must also fit the following criteria:


- They must be regulated by RICS

- they must be RICS Registered Valuers

- They must be independent if an Estate Agent

As an Independent Chartered Surveyors, that's us!

To find out more about a Help to Buy Valuation and to book yours with Eyesurvey, get in touch with us on 01206 545 139.




As we look towards the New Year and send our clients a heartfelt thank you for their business in 2019, we’ve been reminiscing about the history of Eyesurvey. Over a cup of tea, we’ve jotted down a brief look at how we’ve continued to thrive and what 2020 and beyond may include for the business.


Our Principal, Les Long, started in the property industry late in 1971, selling new homes on site for what was then George Wimpey & Co, now part of Taylor Wimpey.


The sales office was a large caravan, drawn onto site by a lorry and then, with luck, electricity and telephone connected. Hours would be five days a week including Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 7pm, except that during winter, they closed at 5.30pm. He worked on various sites around Essex and South Suffolk, for some 3 years.


Having had enough of working in wellies and mud, after that Les joined an estate agent based in Romford, Andrews & Partners, but who long since closed down (nothing to do with Les!). He was placed first of all in Romford office, then at Rayleigh, and eventually Hornchurch. Les moved on to an old established form of Chartered Surveyors and estate agents in Colchester, FS Daniell & Son, in 1978. 

That firm had operated in Colchester since the early 1900s, having family connections to the local Daniell’s Brewery at West Bergholt. When Daniell’s was later taken over by Truman Breweries, and eventually by Grand Metropolitan, now a part of Diageo, the old firm kept its very close connections with the licensed trade around East Anglia, including dealing with Pubs and clubs, and restaurant businesses.

This gave Les Long a working knowledge of commercial property, especially the “drinking and leisure business”. He ran the general estate agency side of that firm, and dealt with de-licensed pubs being sold off by various brewers, like Truman, Ind Coope, Whitbread, Tolly Cobbold, and Greene King to name several. 

After a short while, the Partners of the firm often discussed his work with him, and with approval, but indicating that to become a partner in a professional surveyor’s practice, he would need to study and become a qualified surveyor. Thus began nine years of very hard work, taking evening classes, then enrolling for correspondence study – now called “distance learning” – with the College of Estate Management at Whiteknights, Reading University.

In 1986, and still during that study, he left Daniells, and joined a local firm of solicitors. They wanted his experience and connections in arranging mortgages and life insurance for home buyers, which he had gained during his years as an estate agent. That was to set up a Mortgage and Insurance Department for them, leading to bringing in extra legal work especially home conveyancing. He did so, working late into many evenings, staying with them for almost 3 years, but still maintaining his studies and ambition to become a surveyor.

The insight into legal procedures was to become very useful in his future professional work as a surveyor, when he has often worked in a team with solicitors on behalf of clients. How many surveyors can say they have actually carried out an “Exchange of contracts” (Law Society Formula B) in a conveyancing transaction for a home buyer, as Les can?

By May 1988, still at the legal firm, he completed all his examinations, and was then eligible for election into his professional society as a qualified Surveyor and Valuer, a member in the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers. In December 1988, Les received his Diploma!

He left the solicitors in July 1988 to join a practice of residential and commercial estate agents and Surveyors in Southend-on-Sea, Dedman and Co. He specialised as a commercial surveyor and valuer with them, for around 18 months in Southend, and was then placed to run the professional services department at their Basildon office. By 1990 he was elected as a “Fellow” – a senior qualified member of that professional Society - FSVA.

After about three years at Dedmans, he heard other surveyors talking about running their own firms, working for themselves. After July 1991, and after another very hard few years establishing his own firm, and then trading as Leslie J Long FSVA, by then Les Long was working as a General Practice Surveyor and Valuer in his own right. 

In 2000, the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers merged with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). All former members of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers became Chartered Surveyors, including Les Long, now a “FRICS” (and denoting a “Fellow” or senior member of the RICS).

As you will know by now, as an established client of this firm, Les decided on taking specialist advice, and in September 2013, to rename his firm Eyesurvey Chartered Surveyors. 

 What else have Eyesurvey achieved?

In 2018 & 2019, Eyesurvey celebrated being INDEPENDENTLY voted one of the top three Chartered Surveyors in Colchester for two years running! The recognition was awarded for providing consistent high-quality services across Colchester, and north Essex. 

Since 1991, when the practice was founded, we have conducted over 4,500 individual surveys, valuations of all kinds, commercial jobs including Business Rates cases, Lease renewals, Rent Reviews, Schedules of Dilapidations, the Land Compensation matters explained below, and advised many thousands of people on many property subjects. 

Probably the most rewarding project we completed was the A12 Stanway Compensation case, where we acted on behalf of 36 local residents in a group affected by the additional road noise, and 24-hour lighting, due to a “road improvement scheme” by the Highways Authority in 2010. Eyesurvey successfully helped secure payments for those residents, ranging from £1,500 to £15,000 with each of those also receiving our fees paid by the Highways Authority as well. 

We’re proud to say that every one of the Testimonials shown on our website is 100% genuine, and can all be traced back to individual job instructions.

That’s the past, and the present.

What will the future hold for Eyesurvey? 

At some time in everyone’s career, each person will have to give thought about reducing his work and commitments. If not yet retirement, maybe to join up with other qualified professionals, and to eventually pass on the business by then established, and the many years of knowledge and experience to others.

Les has already mentored four student surveyors, giving his knowledge and guidance to them while they have actually worked with him on site. He’s giving back and handing on his experience of the business, and in due course they will be able to provide similar professional services to the public, buying and using property, as Les Long has done for nearly 50 years. 

Will he carry on? Watch this space! 

We’re so grateful to have clients like you and look forward to serving you in 2020. To find out more about our services get in touch with us on 01206 545 139.

At Eyesurvey, our expertise stretches across all manner of properties and building works, and just last week we conducted a thorough Building Survey Report on a beautiful thatched cottage.

Inspired by the charm and characteristics of this property, we wanted to give an overview of owning a house with a thatched roof and the duty of care involved to ensure that we continue to see these attractive homes in our communities.

Which methods and materials are used?

 In most of England, thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, in many towns and villages, until the late 1800s. Although thatch is popular in Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark, there are still more thatched roofs in the UK than in any other European country!

Thatching methods have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, and numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used in Europe over the past three centuries are present in archives. 

You’d most likely come across “long straw” as the material used in most of the country, however, in Norfolk especially you’re likely to find water reed.

How long will the thatch last?

The life expectancy of a thatched roof will vary according to several factors, including regular maintenance, the quality of the materials used, pollutants in the environment, and of course, the skill of the Thatcher. 

As thatching is a natural roofing material it will decay and has a far shorter life-span than that of tiles and slates. As it decays, moss growth is commonplace, and that will slow drainage, accelerating the decay by retaining more water. 

If birds are nesting they are also likely to pluck out straws, adding to the problems! 

  • Water Reed (also known as Norfolk Reed) 50 – 60 years
  • Combed Wheat 25 – 40 years
  • Long Straw 15 – 25 years

Ridges (the coping or apex capping), whatever their design, style or type, have a life-span of 10 -15 years. 

What general maintenance does it require?

Repairs may extend the life of certain areas of a thatched roof, so it’s important to keep an eye on your roof and any changes, especially before and after the chilly winter period. To keep the roof in best condition:

 • Allow it to dry well, by ensuring you remove or cut back nearby trees and plants which may hinder the sun and wind drying it or rain dispersing. Damp will increase the likelihood of moss and algae growth!

• Do not allow other trades to damage the roof, either with ladders or by walking on the thatch. Thatch being lighter material than slate or tile, the structure beneath is less strong, and may not bear your weight – you could fall through. 

• Do not assume that because the roof looks new or recent, that it is in prime condition. A thorough inspection to fully understand the condition may be crucial.

What are the fire risks?

Fortunately, thatch fires are nowhere near as common as some would have us believe. Thatchers will tell you that thatch, being quite dense, rarely catches fire and starts to burn quickly, and can be regarded “as like trying to set fire to a closed book”. 

Clearly, once a fire does take hold, it is hard to stop before major damage occurs, so calling the Fire Brigade early is vital – and tell them it’s a thatched building. 

However, it’s important to have chimneys swept annually, not to light bonfires near to the thatched property and to avoid having bad electrical wiring in the loft area, if any – thatched roofs often do not have roof spaces, or are built so the ceilings follow the roof timber structure.

Future-proofing your thatched roof

It’s important to know that competent and reputable thatching contractors are now rare and in great demand. It is usually necessary to book them for any work up to several years in advance, including only minor repairs or temporary patching.

It must be understood that can lead to damp-related damage. It is thus essential to make pre-emptive arrangements for all such work now and without delay, if the roof is showing age and erosion or moss growth is heavy. 

Joining a thatched roof to a newer extension, if permitted, since a majority of thatched buildings are likely to be “Listed”, restricting alterations, and is also a difficult area. It’s important to consider the layout of your potential home and what, if any, permitted changes you would wish to make and the challenges that may be involved. Special permissions, like “Listed Buildings Consent” may have to be obtained; the local Authority Building Control and perhaps the Heritage Officer, may have placed various conditions, with which you must comply. 

Purchasing a thatched property

When looking to purchase a thatched home, buyers should be aware that more than 75% of all thatched properties in England and Wales are “Listed’ by English Heritage. This means that they have been put onto a register and graded according to historical or architectural importance. 

PLEASE NOTE that, if the property is found to be “Listed”, or standing within a “Conservation Area”, a proportion of the advice given in any survey report as to repairs and maintenance is likely to need approvals to be obtained from local Heritage and/ or Building Control Officers, who may often vary their requirements concerning a “Listed Building”. Here is a list of questions that it would be helpful to have answered if you are buying a thatched home:

• When was the roof last thatched?

• Has there been any repair work carried out over the past 10 years?

• When was the ridge re-thatched?

• When was the roof last surveyed? 

 Have any of the roof timbers been replaced or repaired?

• Is the chimney lined? No Building Survey will reveal the answer – this will be concealed, so it is essential to make written enquiries via your solicitors!

• Who was the Thatcher who carried out the work?

• Are there any types of fire-resistant barrier? 

A Building Survey from Eyesurvey will inform you about any major problems with a thatched property. To find out more about our HomeBuyers’ Survey, get in touch with us on 01206 545139.

10% Discount on all our services

Do you serve in the Military or have done so in the past, including Gurkha regiments, perhaps now retired? All serving and retired Armed Forces personnel receive a 10% discount on all our services, all you need is your military ID Card. Just inform our team when enquiring about our services. Eyesurvey is happy to support all our armed forces both past and present. For more information on support for military staff and retired personnel please see



Checking your home from head to toe! 

Have you noticed that the small damp patch in the corner of your ceiling has grown over the winter months or that the crack on your bedroom wall has grown in length? With spring fast approaching it is the perfect time to assess the damage and fix it right up. Our highly qualified team will asses every inch of your property to ensure everything is in working order and if it isn’t, we can guide you in the right direction of how to rectify it.


Let us help you 

With the passing of a loved one being a difficult time for anyone, especially when there are many things that need to be sorted out, let our team take something off your hands for you. Dealing with probate can be a lengthy process particularly when you have money and belongings to take into account alongside property. Our team have dealt with many probate cases over the years so know exactly what they are doing; your case will be handled with care and our team will help you every step of the way.


Do you need Valuation Advice? 

Carrying out a valuation or market appraisal factors such as school catchment areas, level of demand and even smaller things like public service access all has to be taken into consideration, so getting an accurate result is easier said than done. Many get Estate Agents to carry the valuation out for them but if it proves to be invalid you cannot hold them accountable. To save you all this hassle our highly experienced team will deal with everything and get you the correct valuation you deserve. .


Helping you receive what is rightfully yours 

When it comes to inheritance tax it can be very easy to be overcharged as the property isn’t valued correctly. As it stands the current tax is 40% above a certain threshold. That percentage is very high, so it is vital that the property value is given correctly so you receive the correct amount of money that is rightfully yours. Over the years our team has gone through this process countless times so will always know what to do when you don’t.


Is an Expert Witness what you need? 

It is difficult going through any form of civil action on your own especially when you do not know the best course of action to take. Our team here at Eyesurvey have over 45 years of knowledge in handling a vast range of cases. Anything from landlord and tenant disputes, appealing to get your business rates lowered to boundary disputes with your neighbour our team will be on hand to help and will do the best they can, so you receive the outcome you want.


Happy New Year! 

Happy New Year to all of our customers from our team here at Eyesurvey, we wish you all the best for you in the year to come. As always, the team will be on hand to help you with any property related issues that may arise throughout the year. All jobs will be completed to the very best of standards always leaving each and every customer 100% satisfied.


Do you really know what Enfranchisement is? 

In the simplest of terms the definition of enfranchisement is where the leaseholder is in the process of extending their lease on a property or buying the freehold of a property. This process will determine the mortgage options that you will have available to you on either your domestic or commercial property. If you are unsure of the legalities of enfranchisement, then please do not chance it and contact a member of our team; after all they have over 45 years of experience.


What survey is best for you? 

The three main surveys that are mentioned when dealing with both commercial and residential are: RICS Building Surveys, Homebuyers Report and Condition Report but only the real experts know exactly what they mean. Unless you know how old the property is or if it has been extended for example can impact the survey needed, knowing the right one to choose is nearly impossible. With countless years within the trade our team will always know the right one for you, making the whole process hassle free.


Is your property prepared for the cold months ahead? 

Many think of the autumnal months as full of colour, leaves falling off the trees and nights drawing in sooner, however your home or property will be taking the brunt of the weather. The high winds and rainfall may be damaging your home more than you know and many find out the extent of the damage when it is too late. From small cracks in the walls or roof tiles that are missing it is better to get those fixed now while you still can so you don’t have to worry about a thing over the festive period.


What is a Leasehold and how does it affect you? 

A leasehold on a property can cause a number of problems when the lease is too short when it comes to sell a property. Leasehold refers to the ownership of the land a property in built on, so you own the property but not the land. At Eyesurvey we can assist with enfranchisement, this is the legal term for leasehold regulation when it comes to renewing, extending or buying the lease on a property. The regulations have to be followed to the letter which can be tricky when many leasehold contracts are full of technical jargon. That is where we come in.


Don't let damp become a resident in your home. 

As we are nearing the colder months and the rainfall becomes heavier and more frequent it is the perfect time for damp patches to appear. Damp can be caused by a number of things from leaking pipes, rain seeping in or there is a lack of ventilation in the property, so the excess moisture is trapped. The damp then spreads to wherever it is able to; it can be difficult to get rid of as well. If you start to see damp patches in your home call straight away as the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to treat it.


 Are Dilapidations causing problems for you?

The word ‘Dilapidations’ and the whole process that comes along with it is always very daunting especially when you don’t know exactly what is going on. Put simply it is the money stated as needed from the tenant in the dilapidation report to put the property back to what is was before it was put up for rent. Many people can be over charged especially in commercial properties. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you our highly experienced staff will carry out a building survey of the property. If you feel that you are in this situation don’t over-pay, instead give us a call today.  


 Making sure you get the very best

To ensure you choose the right Chartered Surveyor that caters to all your needs the Independent Surveyors & Valuers Association have published a list of their top tips in choosing Surveyors. It is vital that they have many years of experience in the trade and have shown that they can deal with a wide range of problems as quickly as possible. Call a number of different companies and see who offers the best price but also the best service. When problems arise with your home or property you want to know that you are in safe hands.  


 Is Japanese Knotweed taking over your home?

Do you know the harmful and long-lasting effects that Japanese Knotweed can have on your home or property? Even if the slightest section of the plant such as its spores are left behind, that is still enough for it to start growing and causing havoc again. With its roots growing up to 3 metres underground, the damage it can cause may cost you thousands or even stop a home sale or purchase as mortgages can be declined. 

If you believe or know that there is Japanese Knotweed growing around your property, then call immediately to book an assessment with our highly qualified team.


 Is your home ready for summer?

We know here at Eyesurvey that the slightest issue with your property can cause the biggest hassle. With summer now here it is the perfect time to sort out any issues with your property. Our team can help advise on the reasons cracks have appeared on the external walls of your property or identify the issue that means leaking gutters or overflow pipes suddenly arise. With countless years of experience we have dealt with these issues many times before, we are the perfect team for you.


 What Services Do We Offer?

With years of experience in our field our team can help you with almost everything from making sure your business rates are not too high to advising on the best course of action to settle a boundary dispute. Our team also complete valuations on commercial as well as residential properties, ensuring you receive an accurate price. For more information on the services we have to offer, take a further look round our website or all a member of our staff today.


 We are a 'One Stop Shop' for Property!

Here at Eyesurvey we cover everything you could possibly think of to do with properties, and with our staff having over 45 years of experience in the trade when you choose us you are getting the very best. All problems our team deal with are completed as quickly and swiftly possible to cause the least disruption. Have a further look round our website and if you have any questions please call our staff today where they will be happy to help you.


 Business Rates might not be boring!

Did you know that the government are expecting to pay back £4.2 billion to business whose business rates are too high and as a result have overpaid? Here at Eyesurvey we can ensure that you receive the right Rateable Value of your property to ensure that your business rates aren’t set too high. Our team have over 45 years of experience in this sector so you will receive the best service every time. If you think that you are owed a portion of this money, then please call our team today for further information.


It's the 'S' word!

Was your property built before the mid 1960’s? With last years summer being the hottest on record and this summer being no different there are key things that you should look out for on your property. Subsidence has a strong correlation with hot weather as less water is in the soil meaning it can move cause the building to subside. To prevent this from happening you can check pipes or drains regularly to make sure there are no blockages, also trees should be pruned easily to reduce the water uptake.



Spring is in the air

With spring now here it is the perfect time to carry out simple but necessary checks in your home or property to ensure that everything is functioning how it should. Our team have put together a list of tasks and tips that you should carry out each springtime. It includes making sure all electrics are working properly and safely, all doors and windows are sealed after the cold months, seeing if your roof is in pristine condition and much more. So please head over to our page titled ‘other services and info’ to have a look for yourself.


Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Moving into a new home is stressful at the best of times and one thing that most can rely on is having friendly neighbours, but many know it doesn’t always work out like that. Disagreements can arise very quickly if you and your neighbour aren’t the best of friends. Our highly qualified team here at Eyesurvey will give you right advice on how to proceed; whether the dispute is over property boundaries or overhanging trees our team will be on hand to help you.