House Survey Checklist

House Survey Checklist

A house survey checklist is a set of guidelines for checking a property to make sure that its integrity is intact. Not only is it important for your peace of mind, but it will usually be a prerequisite for getting a mortgage.
If you’ve settled on a property that you are now considering buying, it’s important to ensure that there are no hidden defects or problems that might cause issues further down the line, before formally accepting an offer. Sadly, you can’t always rely on the estate agent or the vendor to be completely open about the condition of the property.
Going through the entire house survey checklist using a qualified Building Surveyor will save you time, effort and money. For example, if you buy your house and later find that there are cracks in the wall that require major renovation work, it could cost significant extra personal expense.

House Survey Checklist: What Do Surveyors Look For in a HomeBuyer’s Survey?

The survey checklist covers:

  • Visual inspection of all major parts of the property indoors and outdoors.
  • Information on the property and its location.
  • Checking the insulation, drains and the property damp-proofing (including carrying out damp tests on the walls).
  • Visually checking the building timbers.
  • Functional inspection of heating, electricity supply and gas or oil supply.
  • Identifying issues that may impact the property value.
  • Fault assessment for accessible parts of the house and whether further investigation is needed. This includes problems that urgently need to be remedied.
  • The HomeBuyer Survey is carried out by a RICS Chartered Surveyor and is less in-depth than a traditional Building Survey but is well suited to conventional or newer builds that are likely to have fewer defects. When a surveyor visits your property, they will carry out a visual inspection of the property looking at everything from walls and ceilings to floors, loft, roof and guttering as well as any permanent outdoor buildings.

The surveyor will work from a standard house survey checklist and will note the condition of various areas of the property. These will be scored or designated in the following way:

NI: If the surveyor has not inspected a particular feature they will tell you. This is a mostly visual inspection and the HomeBuyer Survey does not involve taking up carpets or loosening electrical panels to see what is behind them. If a loft extension has been installed in the property, the chartered surveyor will not be able to check the integrity of the underside of the roof.

Score 1: A score of 1 says that no repair is needed on the asset and it has been checked by the surveyor. Everything is essentially in good working condition.

Score 2: This notes that there is a defect but it is not considered dangerous and does not require urgent repair. For a home survey, this could be a small crack in the wall that has no impact on the structural integrity of the property.

Score 3: There is a serious defect that requires repair or an element that has to be replaced or needs further urgent investigation. This could be a major structural problem such as a wall bulging or a chimney leaning to one side or the surveyor has found significant signs of dampness.

Building Surveyors check all visible and accessible parts of the property when making their assessment. That means looking at the outside walls, inside walls and partitions, areas like chimney stacks and the condition of the roof. They’ll inspect the loft and look at the grounds and check which utility services you have access to.

They’ll check doors and windows and built-in fittings such as cupboards to make sure they are installed properly. The house survey checklist will also describe the type of property, the number and type of rooms, its energy rating and environmental impact.

If there are any issues, they might report more extensively. For example, if there is a high damp meter reading when they investigate the property, they may suggest getting a further inspection from a specialist to obtain a quote for the work that needs to be done. A problem such as this may not only cost you more money if not spotted in time, it can also affect your final mortgage valuation.

The survey will also consider local issues. If the property is near a train line or main thoroughfare, for example, the survey might highlight that there may be intermittent or considerable noise disruption that may impact your enjoyment of the property.

Building Surveyor Hemel Hempstead
 Chartered Surveyors Fulham

What Doesn’t a HomeBuyer Report cover?

The HomeBuyer Report, while suitable for newer buildings, is not comprehensive and there are some areas that it will not cover. Because the survey is mostly visual, the surveyor will not investigate areas that are hidden away such as underneath carpets and below floorboards.

The surveyor will provide photos in the report or give technical repair advice, for example, if there is a problem such as faulty electrical sockets. It’s up to the buyer to further investigate and get an estimate for the additional cost of these repairs.

In certain circumstances, the chartered surveyor may not be able to access some parts of the property. This may happen if, for example, they don’t have keys to open the windows to check the seals or there’s limited or poor access to the loft which prevents them from viewing it properly.

Difference Between HomeBuyer and Building Survey

For many properties, especially conventional and new builds, a HomeBuyer Survey covers all the appropriate bases for both buyers and mortgage companies.

The Building Survey is a much more in-depth assessment of the property and is generally preferred when the property is older or is not of a conventional design. It’s also a good idea to have a full Building Survey if you are planning to carry out a major project like an extension on the property once you move in.

Finally, a Building Survey Report provides everything you would find in the HomeBuyer Survey but the inspection and report is more detailed and thorough. It will consider the materials the building is made from and how these are likely to perform in the future. It will also suggest repairs and the possible consequences if these are not carried out and it can include costs for remedial suggestions


A house survey cost varies depending on the different types of survey you require and how large the property is. If you would like to know find out, please enter your details for an instant quote.

Recent Reviews from Harding Chartered Surveyors

Alaa provided a very thorough report in a short time scale. He is professional, competent and very supportive post survey. Recommended.
Franco Pagliari
01:39 10 May 22
Really outstanding sevice by Al. Very responsive and couldnt do enough to help.
Lewis Nurcombe
13:02 08 Mar 22
Professional and courteous. Thank you for your service.
D Alwan
19:02 19 Feb 22
Very professional, knowledgeable and efficient service from Harding. My surveyor (Al) - was very thorough, he took time to review my property internally and externally, discuss in detail the current situation and then followed up with an excellent detailed report and commentary. His inspection and work have given me vital and essential documentation on my property for now and the future. Thank you Al and I would highly recommend this organisation.
Nick Gee
13:01 03 Feb 22
Alaa is a very nice, helpful and knowledgeable, patient person. He was willing to spend time with me to go through the report in detail and provide me recommendations for any problems. Very professional service and highly recommended.
May Yao
16:56 21 Dec 21
Incredibly efficient and professional service. Survey report was very through and helpful in identifying areas of work needed to be undertaken urgently, together with a ball park cost. Speed with which they undertook the survey and turned around the report ensured the transaction kept to the tight timeline set by the vendors. Can 100% recommend them.
Jonathan Biggs
13:25 31 Aug 21
Very good communication and fast turnaround! I highly appreciated their service.
Juriana Spierenburg
13:34 02 Jul 21
Professional, helpful, friendly, prompt, value-for-money. I cannot speak highly enough of their thoroughly excellent and efficient service - in particular I really commend Kate's quick and friendly service (I always heard back same day on any query), and Jason's thorough but clear survey (he also phoned me to talk through report as well as submitting formal in writing).
Alex Durbidge
13:09 10 Jun 21
A very helpful, competent and customer-oriented team. Thank you for a great job.
Umar Manzoor
03:11 02 Jun 21
timely & friendly service. thank you
Ilian Walker
08:28 24 May 21
We received a a very detailed and informative survey report and were very happy with the service provided by the friendly and knowledgeable team!
Vishal -
12:20 23 Apr 21
The homebuyer's report carried out by Harding Chartered Surveyors was clear informative and timely. The level of detail was just what I needed in order to appreciate what the property needed doing and to help me with my decision to proceed with the purchase process.
Sara Thomas
09:07 19 Jan 21
Really helpful, made the process easy and really efficient service even though it was over the holiday period. Would def recommend / use again
Aimee Glensor
19:09 08 Jan 21
Kate is very responsive and also took time to advise me on the phone at the very beginning. Scott Ingham did our report. It was thorough and informative. Felt in safe professional hands throughout.
Claudio Mascolo
18:24 30 Nov 20
Scott completed a survey for me on a flat purchase and both he and Kate were great - very quick to respond, knowledgeable, thorough and happy to address any additional questions I had. Would definitely recommend and use them again.
Martina Glaser
17:56 28 Oct 20
I requested Harding to provide a valuation for a lease extension. Albert Wellington was in charge of my property and he was extremely professional and helpful in addressing all my concerns. I would recommend him and the company with no hesitation.
Bene Walters
10:47 05 Oct 20
A very efficient, timely and thorough service for us, as we go through the house buying process. I'd definitely use them again.
Claire Brown
14:17 19 Aug 20
Very satisfied with service. Report was delivered promptly and provided the information we needed.
Nicholas R.
10:05 23 Jul 20
Excellent service; professional, helpful, communicative and courteous as well as relatively quick. I would highly recommend.
Richard Denison Gay
14:49 02 Jun 20
Very efficient and professional. I had my survey few months ago before buying my house and I am still following the advice from the survey to fix and repair what needed. I dealt with Scott Ingham and I think he worked very accurately and checked everything very carefully. Highly recommended.
Marianna Ciampa
14:25 30 Jan 20
Needed a valuation for a property purchase and can honestly say the service was 1st class from start to finish. Queries were dealt with promptly and followed up via telephone to make sure I was happy with the responses.The team are extremely knowledgeable.Thank you Kate, Albert, David and the rest of the team I will definitely use the company again.
Amel Ahmed
16:15 13 Nov 19
Harding's were great - very responsive, gave a very clear and detailed report and were happy to run through their comments with me over the phone.
Millie Jones
16:07 30 Oct 19
Brilliant thorough service!
Emma Goldschmidt
16:21 01 Oct 19
Dealt with James Brook, very efficient and professional, James had the report sent out to us within 24hrs. would highly recommend.
Harry Coaker
09:46 22 Aug 19
Harding Chartered Surveyors are a very professional business who handled a challenging task for us with ease. I highly recommend them and will be using their services again.
David Good
10:34 20 Jul 19
Very efficient service and very detailed report. We are very satisfied.
Karen Ng
22:30 01 Jul 19
Really quick turn around and professional service.
Lily Kwong
10:38 24 Jun 19
The surveyor turned up on time as planned to survey the roof, both inside and out, then was happy to discuss it all with us afterwards. Bit tricky in high winds. Report arrived 2 days later, just what we needed. Professional and thorough. Recommended.
Kevin Loughlin
20:27 28 Mar 19
Quick, responsive and very thorough. Would definitely recommend Hardings to others, and will come back to them the next time I need a survey completed.
Jon Brennan
09:44 01 Mar 19
Quick, efficient and excellent service. Came as a recommendation from a friend and we’d happily recommend too.
Abi and Andy La Fontaine
20:57 20 Feb 19
Thorough and professional surveyors. Very happy with their service. Highly recommended.
Giulio Pepe
16:25 16 Dec 18
Good, thorough, and promptly scheduled homebuyer survey in Fulham. The surveyor called me and explained everything clearly.
Simon Wilson
15:54 10 Nov 18
I highly recommend David. Very good technical knowledge. He was always available for our questions, which included a detailed call on the same day as the survey. The written survey report was clear, detailed and included pictures and estimates of the cost of repairs.
Daniel Vernazza
10:41 29 Apr 18

Summary of House Survey Checklist

There isn’t a major difference between a HomeBuyer Survey and a Building Survey. It comes down to the type of property. If it’s a relatively new and conventional build, the HomeBuyer Survey is perfectly acceptable and should highlight any major problems that you need to be aware of. If the property is much older, of high value, an unconventional build, you’re thinking of major renovations or you simply like a more detailed report, then a traditional Building Survey will be more appropriate