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How to Prepare for a Survey

Zenyx Griffiths
Written by Zenyx Griffiths
20th March 2019 (Last updated on Tuesday 16th April 2019)

A property survey is when a qualified and professional surveyor inspects the condition of a property to highlight any defects or structural damage. It allows buyers to determine whether the property is a good investment and so can be a nerve-wracking time for sellers.

Arranging a survey is a normal part of the process when buying or selling a property so there is no need to be concerned when preparing for it. It’s recommended to compare property survey quotes as a seller, to hire a reliable surveyor to compare with the information received by the buyer to check its accuracy. 

We understand how stressful it can be selling a property and that waiting for the surveyor can be rather daunting. But it doesn’t have to be, honestly! Here are a few useful tips to help you prepare for your chartered surveyor to survey your property and ensure a quick and smooth process.   

11 Ways to Prepare For a Survey

1. Understanding the Different Types of Surveys 2. Ensure that the Property is Empty 3. Gather Necessary Documents 4. Give it Some Elbow Grease 5. Clear All Windowsills 6. Inform the Surveyor of Any Concerns 7. Fix Minor Issues 8. Inspect the Outside of the Property 9. Check All Electricals 10. Move Large Furniture Away from the Walls 11. Arranging Your Own Property Survey

1. Understanding the Different Types of Surveys

As a seller, it can be helpful to prepare for a survey by understanding the main types available so that you know what the surveyor is looking for. Each survey is different and can be used for a variety of property types. The three main surveys to explore are:

  • Valuation Survey - not considered a comprehensive survey, it’s vital when buying a property with the aid of a mortgage lender but simply notes obvious defects to provide an accurate valuation.
  • Homebuyers Survey - one of the most common types for conventional houses, the home-buyers survey detects surface-level defects like damp, rot and insulation problems. The checklist includes the most common concerns for home buyers.
  • Full Structural Survey - the most detailed survey available, the building/full-structural survey is more invasive, looking under floorboards and in attics to detect issues and structural damage.

Different surveys require different lengths of time to be completed in. It could take as little as 2 hours to up to a week for more thorough inspections. By exploring the type of survey being held on your property, you’ll gain a better understanding of what the surveyor is looking for and how to better prepare for the process.

2. Ensure that the Property is Empty

To provide the surveyor with as much space and time as possible, try to ensure that the house is empty on the day. If you have any children or pets perhaps arrange for them to stay elsewhere (maybe a friend or relative’s) whilst the survey is being carried out to reduce distractions or potential accidents. There should only be one or two people there to greet the surveyor, reducing delays or overcrowding.

All keys must be collected and within reach as, depending on the type of survey occurring, windows may need to be opened, all rooms to be checked and perhaps even other structures like garden sheds or garages will need to be accessible. Some surveys, like building surveys, require access to the attic or loft so ensure that they’re cleared and attainable. Any restricted areas can be marked down and shown to the buyer, encouraging doubt.

3. Gather Necessary Documents

To ensure a more efficient survey (and to help the surveyor a little) copy and gather any necessary documents beforehand so that they’re ready to view. Documents like a Planning Permission Notice or Energy Performance Certificate can instil confidence in the history of the property, encouraging better results. The more documents you can find the better!

Other certificates that would be useful to have on hand are a current Electrical Test Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate or a Building Regulation Completion Certificate. Some of the documents needed may depend on the type of survey being conducted, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

4. Give it Some Elbow Grease

It might not sound fun, but cleaning your property is vital when preparing for a survey. Cleaning and decluttering can add value to your home whilst also allowing easy access to all areas. One room you’ll really have to scrub thoroughly is the bathroom. Ensure that all the tiles are clean and that no mould has built up. Check the taps and pipes to make sure they’re all in good working condition.

Make sure that all carpets have been thoroughly cleaned, especially if you have small children or pets. Declutter any mess and ensure that a clear path provides safe access throughout the property as obstructions could delay or even terminate the inspection. Now would be a good time to start packing and clearing your personal belongings.

5. Clear All Windowsills

The surveyor will often check windowsills and fireplaces for defects and so removing all plants or ornaments is highly recommended to ensure a smoother survey. Windowsills are a common place for damp and mould to build up so they must be examined. If there are plants or ornaments disrupting access to any important areas, remove them immediately. It lessens the chance of delays and makes for a more efficient survey.

The surveyor will need to check if the windows are double glazed so easy access is essential. Keep your keys close by so that you can open any doors or windows when necessary. If your windows are wooden, check the condition of the paintwork and that they’re sealed securely with no cracks to allow wind or rain to leak through.

6. Inform the Surveyor of Any Concerns

It’s important that you’re honest with your surveyor and to not hide any problems whilst preparing for the survey. Focus on making your property look presentable rather than hiding anything you think will affect the report. Chartered surveyors are highly qualified and know where to look and what issues to look for, allow them to do their job successfully.

Dishonesty can lead to major delays in the inspection. Chartered surveyors are very thorough. Be as honest and helpful as possible and inform them of any concerns or renovations you’re aware of. If there are any areas containing obvious damage, provide easy access so that the surveyor can carefully examine the issue and provide expert advice on the repair work.

7. Fix Minor Issues

Another way to prepare for a property survey is to fix minor defects. Do not try completing major jobs without an expert to assist, but smaller issues can be easy to solve. Mould, cracked tiles, hairline cracks and dripping taps are all easy fixes that you could try before the surveyor arrives. Give yourself enough time and research so that you don’t panic, making the situation worse.

Fill hairline cracks, re-paint certain areas, scrub away minor damp or mould, there are a variety of easy ways to prepare the property yourself. Whilst you’re fixing these issues, note down any major problems you uncover and report them to the surveyor. Don’t try fixing them yourself. Improving these minor faults can greatly improve the condition of the property, you just have to be willing to spend a little time and money on enhancing them.

8. Inspect the Outside of the Property

Checking the outside of the property is just as important as inspecting the interior when preparing for a survey. Take a brief look at the roof, see if there are any missing tiles or cracks that could be of concern. Check the guttering for leaks or blockages. Note down any major issues and relay them to the surveyor. 

 Be wary of growing vegetation as some plants can cause damage to your property. Japanese knot-weed is a well-known disruptive plant that can force its way up through concrete and foundations. Ivy, though often seen as a beautiful extra, can lodge its way through piping or cause damp on your property. Just be wary of any potential concerns that could arise.

9. Check All Electricals

As a safety precaution, it would be a good idea to inspect all electricals and the conditions of any wires connecting them. But be careful as you do so! Don’t take on any job you’re unsure of, just tell the surveyor.

Tidy anything that may cause an accident, keeping wires close to the walls. Check the conditions of the wires outside of the house as well as inside. Make sure no water is able to penetrate the service panel and check that any and all lights are working and in a safe condition.

Ensure that exposed wires are safely capped and that all outlets are in good condition. This would also be a good opportunity to check the property’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. If you uncover any issues, repair any minimal problems if you’re able to and report larger issues to the surveyor. If anything concerns you, speak to the surveyor.

10. Move Large Furniture Away from the Walls

Preparing your property is all about safety and easy access. Any large furniture should be moved to allow easy access for the surveyor, removing any obstructions that could delay the inspection. You can move the furniture into the middle of the room but make sure there is an easy path to follow to avoid any confusion or accidents.

All comprehensive surveys require an examination of the property. To be able to complete this successfully, the surveyor will need clear access to all areas. The walls will be checked for any unauthorised renovations and for common concerns like damp or mould. This is why moving furniture is a vital part of the preparation as the surveyor could delay or even terminate the inspection if heavy furniture is too large of an obstruction.

11. Arranging Your Own Property Survey

Hiring your own surveyor can benefit you greatly when selling a property. It can help you develop a realistic asking price to attract more people whilst also giving you something to compare to the buyer’s survey results to ensure that they’re reliable and accurate. There’ll be no unexpected defects that way, making you prepared for the buyer’s report. 

Here at Compare My Move, we only deal with the most trusted and qualified surveyors ensuring customer satisfaction. To save you both time and money, you can complete our quick and easy form to compare surveyors in your area.