How can I prepare for a property survey?

A property survey is a professional assessment of the condition of a property. The survey includes a “health check” of sorts on every aspect of the building including the walls, foundation, chimney, flooring and anything else related to the structure of the property. 

The survey must be conducted by a chartered surveyor, usually a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. They will visit your home and carry out an inspection to see what needs fixing or changing. 

Preparing your home for a survey doesn’t mean hiding any faults with your home, it just means making your home more accessible to the surveyor so they can do their job properly. Here are some of our best tips for preparing for a property survey…

Make a list of questions to ask 

It’s always good to be prepared, so definitely make a list of questions to ask your surveyor. You can also point out things that worry you and ask about them. 

Some example questions include: 

  • If you were considering buying this property, is there anything that would be a dealbreaker for you?
  • Does anything need specialist maintenance? (especially for character buildings)
  • Are there any local issues in the area that could affect my property?
  • Is [insert issue here] covered by insurance? (e.g. damp)

No question is a “stupid” question – the surveyor is the expert and you’re essentially their customers…so ask away! 

Have a general tidy up

It’s worth having a quick tidy up around the home so the surveyor can efficiently complete their assessment. If the house is a mess then it can be difficult for the surveyor to access the areas they need to inspect, so it’ll take them longer. This includes making sure everywhere is accessible such as fuse boxes, water mains, the loft, basement and so on. If the surveyor has to spend more time trying to access certain areas then you could end up paying a higher fee for your survey to be completed. 

Make sure exterior walls are clear

Move all furniture away from all the exterior walls and take down any wall-hangings such as art prints, canvases, decorative items or photographs. Even though a surveyor can’t look through walls, they will use their trained eye to spot any potential hazards. It’s also a good idea to clear all the windowsills so the surveyor can properly check them for damp, mould and other hazards.

Turn on the boiler

If you’re trying to sell your home in summer then chances are you haven’t used your boiler in a while. It’s worth turning the boiler to get rid of any dust in the pipes. This is why boilers have a strange smell when you haven’t turned them on in a while – the dust heats up and dissipates. Another reason why you should turn on your boiler is to identify any immediate risks such as a gas leak or a problem with the circulatory – both of which are highly dangerous. 

Do some basic DIY

Doing some basic plumbing around the home is a great way to prepare for a home survey. Replacing the washers in taps, tightening up the pipes and unblocking the sink / drains are all quick and easy ways to make minor improvements to your home. You can also fill in hairline cracks or clean up mould and damp. Of course, cleaning up any visible mould and damp won’t get rid of the problem, but it will be easier for the surveyor to assess the cause of the damp. It’s also a good idea to let them know where the damp was rather than hiding it – because any good surveyor will find it anyway! 

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