Here at Property Typing, it can sometimes seem that the RICS Homebuyer survey completely dominates the market. However, that’s far from the truth! We also handle a great deal of ISVA Home Survey typing, a service we offer to all Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association members. Whether you’re looking to outsource your ISVA Home Survey typing too, or simply curious as to what RICS alternatives exist in the U.K, here’s everything you need to know about ISVA.

Who are ISVA?

ISVA is the acronym for the Independent Surveyors and Valuers’ association. While not as well known among the general public as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, or RICS, they are still a key part of the building surveyor landscape in the United Kingdom, so it’s important you have a least a basic knowledge of who they are.

The Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association (ISVA) is a national association of Independent Chartered Surveyors who offer totally unbiased expert advice with regards to both residential and commercial property.

ISVA surveyors and Valuers have had rigorous training and years of experience. Critically, they also need to have been established in business for 3 years or more before they may claim the title and use the ISVA logo. It is their duty to operate independently of any financial organisation, ensuring that you, the client, can rest assured their opinions and findings are offered openly, honestly and free of ulterior motive. ISVA operates throughout England and Wales.

As an end client, whether you opt for an ISVA survey or a RICS survey is completely up to you. It’s important to remember that both organisations require rigorous standards and continuing education from their members, and offer arbitration services and peace of mind for you, the consumer. We strongly advise finding a surveyor practice who you trust and can work well with on this critical part of your property ownership journey, as you will need to work closely together through the survey process. Remember that your surveyor is on your side, so fully disclose any concerns of problems you anticipate at the time you book your survey.

Why independence is so important in the surveyor industry

While, in a perfect world, every seller would openly disclose property faults and every mortgage lender or financial institution would be utterly scrupulous in its valuations, that’s sadly not often the truth in the real world. This is the major reason behind the use of associations like the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association.  The surveyor arrives on site with one mission only- to examine the property in an unbiased manner on your behalf, free from external pressure, and they then present their findings to all parties involved. As they receive no support or funding from any interested party other than the client conducting the survey, the end client can rest assured that the findings returned will be free of bias or ‘spin’, and simply disclose what is needed and how to go about it, with a fair market valuation attached and their best interest in mind.

An independent valuation from a non-biased third party can be a key bargaining tool for the client, allowing a fair comparison with any values set by lenders. Likewise, a summation of the repair costs needed to keep the building in top shape can also be a bargaining tool for the client.

What is the ISVA Home Survey?

While the RICS offerings are perhaps a little better known, Property Typing handle a large volume of ISVA Home Survey typing as well. This ISVA Home Survey bears a lot of resemblance to the RICS HomeBuyer Report, and aims to be a straightforward and concise summation of the most important aspects of the property, those that will most affect the purchasing procedure. It, too, is classed as a ‘level 2’ building survey under governmental regulations. Fans of ISVA’s services believe it offers a little extra detail when compared with the RICS equivalent, but they are both quality products. You will receive information on:

  • The property’s condition
  • Major faults noted, especially those affecting value
  • Urgent problems in need of rectification before purchase
  • Damp tests and the condition of the wood, insulation and drainage
  • A valuation
  • Technical information about the construction of the property
  • Limited information on outbuildings and location

As with the RICS HomeBuyer Report, there are certain key conditions that have to be met in the construction of the report, which is why we are happy to assist you with any ISVA Home Survey typing needs you and your practice may have.

It’s important to book the services of an independent surveyor if you are purchasing a property, and not merely rely on the superficial valuation report provided by the lender. Remember, the sole interest of that document is whether the property is fit to act as security for the loan. It isn’t any form of survey, and will not provide any accurate, unbiased information towards the feasibility of your purchase. As we well know from our work on  ISVA Home Survey typing, these surveys instead provide you with the full details of the state of the property, and advice on needed repairs and their cost, allowing you to make a clearer decision free from the bias of other interested parties.

The Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association provide equivalent, alternative surveys and reports to the RICS HomeBuyer report, but the two documents are very similar both in content and value to the consumer. We at Property Typing are proud to work with ISVA registered surveyors as well, and can assist with any ISVA Home Survey typing needs you or your practice may have. Why not get in touch and try our service with our half-price trial today?