When your home attracts a buyer, their mortgage lender will send a surveyor round to confirm its value.
It is likely that your buyer will also want to get their own RICS HomeBuyer Report (Level 2 Survey) or Buildings Survey (Level 3 Survey) carried out by a local Chartered Surveyor, to flag up any potential structural issues with the property and check areas that the valuation survey does not cover.
It is important to tidy up your home before the RICS surveyor arrives, as a surveyor looks for evidence of steady on-going maintenance and upkeep. A tidy, well presented home is likely to be valued higher than a cluttered, messy home - even if they have the same features.
You may even want to get quotes for your own survey so you are aware of any potential issues and can set a realistic asking price based on your Chartered Surveyor’s findings.
Preparing your home for a survey
To ensure your home and possessions are disrupted as little as possible during your buyer’s house survey, there are many ways to speed up the process and make it easier for the surveyor.
Clear items away from areas with common problems
Move furniture away from exterior walls
Take plants off windowsills
Tidy your home before the appointment
You might also want to begin packing your belongings early so that most of your prized possessions are out of the way before viewers and Chartered Surveyors come round to inspect the property.
Chartered Surveyors are trained to spot areas with potential defects, so if you know there is an area that could be of concern, it is best to notify the surveyor and leave it clear to give them access to it.
If you are concerned about the results the buyer’s survey might return, you may wish to repair any minor defects before you market your home.
This could include:
Fixing dripping taps by replacing washers
Scrubbing off mould on your bathroom tiles
Filling any hairline decorative cracking
Will a surveyor check the garden?
It’s important to ensure your garden and any outside buildings, such as garden sheds and garages, are also prepared prior to your house survey. You don’t want to put all your efforts into clearing and cleaning your well-presented home, only to find that your front or back garden lets you down at the time of the survey.
Bear in mind that your Chartered Surveyor will check any plants and trees that may pose a danger to your property, especially if they suspect any structural damage. Japanese Knotweed is notorious for causing problems for property owners in the UK, so it’s important to make sure plants such as these are checked during the survey.
Take a look at our Japanese Knotweed identification guide if you suspect the plant is growing near your home.
What won’t my surveyor check?
Your surveyor should try and inspect as much as possible during the house survey. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure the surveyor can access all parts of the property. Common reasons that could prevent parts of the inspection often include:
Heavy furniture blocking areas for inspection
Fitted floor coverings, such as laminate flooring
Drain covers causing issues – too heavy to lift
Loft hatches and doors being fixed closed or unable to open easily
Missing keys to windows and doors – all windows must be able to be opened during a survey
Limited access in the loft – if storage items or loft insulation restrict the view for the surveyor, this may hinder the survey
Inability to access garden sheds, garages and other outbuildings
Depending on the survey type, if parts of the property are restricted and your surveyor is unable to complete a full inspection on the day, you may ask the vendor to make the necessary arrangements to allow you to fully inspect the restricted areas again, once they have been cleared. Similarly, you may be asked to clear any restricted areas in your own home if your property is being inspected and the surveyor is unable to carry out a full inspection.
You should note that if you have made any improvements to your home, don’t overestimate the value it has added to the property – as we all know, property values aren’t guaranteed and your home is only worth, in the end, what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
Whatever you decide to do to prepare your home for a survey it will certainly make a good impression on surveyors if you take the time to make your property look presentable. Not only does it make their job easier but it stands you in good stead to secure the value of your home.
For more information about selling your home, and tips to help you during the process, take a look at our guide to selling your house.
Updated: January 2021