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.
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
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