Who is an Estate Surveyor and Valuer?

The name Estate Surveyor and Valuer is more or less a matter of idiosyncrasy. The counterparts of the estate surveyors and valuers in other countries are known and referred to by other different names. In the United States of America, they are called appraisers, in the United Kingdom, they are known as Chartered Surveyors, and in other countries they are simply called valuers or estate valuers.

The nomenclature varies depending probably on some philosophical and historical reasons. However, the name in Nigeria must have been as a result of the need to essentially capture and reflect the significant functions the valuer performs in the task of valuation in his name and, moreover, to distinguish him from other surveyors in the family.

One of the popular strand of professional functions of the estate surveyors and valuers is the valuation of assets- both movable and immovable assets. The Estate Surveyor and Valuer does not just put value on such assets. He must first of all, inspect the asset the asset to ascertain its state (i.e. condition) and thereafter, he carries out market survey and analysis to acquaint himself with the levels of demand and supply of the asset as well as prices of comparable assets in the market. It is only after the foregoing two stages that he carries out valuation of the subject asset to determine its value.

Hence, to the extent he carries out the inspection, market survey and analysis of real estate, he is an estate surveyor (i.e. estate market surveyor). Furthermore, to the fact, that he uses his inspection and market survey data to arrive at the value of the asset, he is an estate valuer. Thus, putting the two names together, he is an Estate Surveyor and Valuer.

In essence, an Estate Surveyor and Valuer is one who by his training and experience an elected corporate member of the Nigerian Institution Of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), registered and empowered by the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVRBON) to practice estate surveying and valuation in Nigeria. The Board (ESVRBON) issues any registered Estate Surveyor and Valuer official stamp and seal which carry his registration number. The valuer is expected to validate his ascent to all his official report of valuations with the instruments.

The Estate Surveyor and Valuer offers a number of professional services to both individuals and the society at large which no one else can provide without professional skill and expertise. The functions include among others the services such as  property management, Valuation of assets, Feasibility and Viability studies, Estate agency, Public lands administration, Land use planning and Management, Project Management, Property deal counseling, Arranging finance for investment, Arbitration.

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Find the right solicitor or conveyancer

A solicitor or conveyancer will handle all the legal aspects of buying or selling a property for you. A good one will keep you updated regularly, and can really support you in what is likely to be a stressful process. Find out how to choose a solicitor, the fees and the questions to ask.

What do solicitors and licensed conveyancers do?

The first question you’ll be asked when you put in an offer on a property is the name and contact details of your solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Conveyancing is the legal term for transferring ownership of property, whether you are buying or selling.

A solicitor or conveyancer will handle contracts, give legal advice, carry out local council searches, deal with the Land Registry and transfer the funds to pay for your property. It’s an important role, so choose carefully.

Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers and are qualified lawyers, so they can offer a full range of legal services. Licenced conveyancers are specialised in property but can’t deal with complex legal issues.

How to find a property specialist

  • Ask friends and family
  • Ask your lender, mortgage broker or Independent Financial Adviser (IFA)
  • Estate agents might recommend a solicitor as they often work in partnership with property specialists. However, this could end up being an expensive option for you
  • Online conveyancing is an area that is growing. You’ll only deal with them by email or phone but it’s often cheaper. However you won’t fully understand the quality of service, you might not talk to the same person each time you call, and they can’t deal with more complex legal problems
  • Make sure your chosen property specialist is a member of theLaw Society of England and Wales/ Law Society of Scotlandand a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme
  • Conveyancers must be members of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers

Fees

Solicitors charge in different ways:

  • A fixed fee
  • A percentage of the property price, or
  • An hourly rate

Try to get quotes from three different firms on the cost of their service.

Make sure the quotes breakdown all costs, allowing for VAT, so that you’re comparing like with like. They should include charges for:

  • Searches
  • Bank transfer
  • Stamp duty on properties over £125,000
  • Land Registry fees
  • Additional work if the process is more complex or urgent than expected
  • “Disbursements” – other costs including postage and courier services

Read Property and legal jargon

Other considerations

The service you receive during the property buying process can make a huge difference to how easy or difficult it feels for you.

Communication

  • Find out the best times and ways to contact them
  • Do they have a system that allows you to track how the purchase is progressing?
  • Check if they have a holiday booked when you will need them
  • Ask who will step in if they are away or off sick
  • Where are they located? Using a solicitor or conveyancer near to your home or work makes it easier to drop off or collect documents if necessary; and there may be local arrangements or leases, which are unique to your area

Setbacks along the way

Buying and selling homes can be a frustrating process and there are bound to be setbacks – either minor or major – along the way. Such setbacks could include:

  • The vendor (seller) dropping out – this is just bad luck, and very frustrating. You can ask them for a contribution towards your legal fees, but they are under no obligation to pay
  • Uncommunicative solicitor – this can be stressful
  • Being gazumped – when someone else offers to pay more than the offer you’ve had accepted
  • The cost going up when you’re in a chain – you can decide if you want to continue with your purchase
  • Problems found during a survey
  • Difficulty getting a mortgage

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Buying a home: how to avoid the most common mistakes

It’s worth knowing what to look out for – and what to avoid – when buying a home. Read our guide to find out what properties lenders don’t like and what problems to watch out for.

A list of properties lenders don’t always like

  • Homes of unusual construction – Any building that isn’t of standard brick and mortar construction. There are still homes built of wattle and daub, cob, concrete or timber frames which can sometimes be covered with asbestos cement
  • High-rise flats – For example, ex-council flats in tower blocks, especially if they have problems with lift maintenance or where most of the other flats are still in the hands of the local authority
  • Flats over shops, restaurants and offices – Any property where other people could have the right to access your property. Properties like this are also hard to value
  • Short leaseholds – flats are often sold on leasehold which means you only own it for a specific number of years. Leaseholds of 80 years or less can be a problem so look to extend the lease before you buy. Find out more in Leasehold or freehold – the financial implications
  • New build – lenders often value newly built properties lower than the asking price meaning you will have to have a larger deposit. The developer may offer special deals to help. See our affordable housing schemes section
  • Brownfield sites – properties built on former industrial land can be difficult as they may be contaminated. Your solicitor will need to check the certificates to prove the property has been decontaminated
  • Too close to the sea – coastal erosion could lead to your new home becoming dangerously close to a cliff edge
  • Character homes – converted lighthouses, windmills, schools and pubs may need a mortgage from a specialist lender
  • Grade 1 listed properties and thatched houses – the cost of repairs and rebuilding make them less attractive to mainstream lenders who also worry about the risk of fire

Potential problems to look for when viewing a property

When you are house-hunting, bear in mind the property might not be as good as it first seems. Avoid costly problems by looking beyond the decor. There may be repair bills, hidden problems like damp, faulty electrics, or even noisy neighbours, which could contribute towards higher costs and extra effort after you move in.

Inside the property

Check for problems that may be expensive to fix such as:

  • Missing roof tiles
  • Weak toilet flushing
  • Faulty guttering
  • Damp
  • Rotten window frames

If you have a friend, family member or trusted builder who is familiar with fixing properties, take them with you to visit the property.

A builder will give you an idea of how much it will cost to fix any obvious problems. You can then use this as a bargaining tool to ask the seller to lower the price.

Don’t be afraid to ask how old the wiring and roof are or when the boiler was fitted and when any renovations were done.

Know what questions to ask the estate agent and surveyor in our Who’s Who guide (PDF 3MB).

Use our Jargon Buster (PDF 217KB) to explain complex terms.

Outside the property

  • Subsidence – Look outside the property. Are there big trees growing nearby, which could potentially cause subsidence problems?
  • Noisy neighbours – Ask the sellers if there have been any problems with neighbours. If you’re viewing a flat, find out if the neighbours above have wooden floors, or what potential noise there might be
  • Flooding – Is the property in a flood zone? Buildings insurance for homes that have been flooded is expensive and may be hard to find. If you can’t get insurance, then you won’t get a mortgage
  • Visit at different times of the day – Your street may be really quiet in the middle of the day but noisy and busy during rush hour
  • Parking permits – Will you need a permit to park there? Is it difficult to find parking if you don’t have off-street parking or a garage?
  • Check the surrounding area – Look at the state of the nearby streets, pubs and shops to get a feel for the area

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