If you decide to go for something more detailed than a mortgage valuation (and we recommend that you do) you will have two choices. You can pay the lender the additional fee to upgrade to the more expensive report or just pay for the valuation and go directly to a local firm of Chartered Surveyors, such as those listed on this site, to book the survey.
There are many benefits to booking the survey yourself:
You will be able to speak to the surveyor that will be writing the report both before and after their visit to the property. If you have any particular concerns or if you are planning to make any alterations to the property you should make the surveyor aware of this. After you have received the report you will be able to call the surveyor if anything needs clarification. You should not expect the surveyor to provide additional information over the phone but they should be happy to clarify their advice. If you book your surveyor through the lender you will not know who will be doing the report in advance and are likely to find barriers between you and the surveyor should you need any clarification later.
Although the major lenders try and allocate their detailed surveys to surveyors based on the local area it is not always possible. You do not need to leave this to chance if you choose a local surveyor yourself. A local surveyor should also be able to provide you with a more accurate valuation as they will have seen similar properties that have sold in recent months. Surveyors from out of the area will have to rely upon comparable evidence supplied either by the selling agent or other agents in the area.
Many people build up trust in a surveyor and will seek their advice throughout their climb up the property ladder. This may not be until you move again but surveyors can also help with other property matters such as extending a lease, party wall matters or boundary disputes.
In our list of surveyors we have tried to select small firms of Chartered Surveyors that should be accessible and have the local knowledge that you require.