How to Prepare Your Home for a Property Survey?

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

When you have an appointment with a surveyor, your first thought may be to make sure your house is clean, tidy and well presented. And, while it’s always good to present your home well, there are a few more steps you can take to help the survey process run smoothly.

What does a surveyor look for?

Before you start preparing your home, however, it can be helpful to understand what type of survey will be carried out and what this will involve.

Novello offers two main types of property survey.

HomeLevel Report – This level 2 survey, equivalent to the RICS HomeBuyer Report, is a concise, economic survey report suitable for flats and more modern houses such as those built after 1970, which are in a reasonable condition and worth less than £1,000,000. It will highlight visible or suspected defects like damp, rot and brickwork issues.

Building Survey – This comprehensive survey is much more thorough in its scope and reporting, offering a detailed insight into a property, including those difficult to reach and less visible areas. It will explore all elements of a property, including its structural condition, areas of movement, dampness, insulation, roof structure, external walls and much more. It will also offer advice on defects, repairs and maintenance, including the estimated costs of any repairs.

How long the survey takes to be carried out will depend on the size of the house and its condition, but expect around an hour or two for a HomeLevel Report and four or five hours for a Building Survey.

Preparing your home

While you might be tempted to accentuate the positive and cover any areas of concern, a better option is to clear items away from any problem areas ahead of the survey. A RICS surveyor is trained to identify potential issues, so if you declutter and make sure the surveyor has the access they need, you’ll help to speed up the process. You may even benefit from your surveyor’s expert knowledge on how to fix them.

Simple steps to take include:

  • moving furniture away from walls so they can be checked for signs of damp, mould or unauthorised renovations;
  • clearing window sills so windows can be opened and signs of damp identified – it’s also a good idea to have keys to hand so mechanisms can be tested;
  • and making sure areas such as lofts can be accessed if you’re having a building survey.

Fix minor issues

If, as you’re tidying and preparing, you notice any minor issues such as dripping taps, hairline cracks in walls, bathroom mould or cracked tiles, now is the time to fix these before the surveyor turns up. You probably won’t want to embark on significant work at this point, but consider spending a bit of time on those cosmetic jobs that don’t require an expert, such as touching up any scuffed or marked paintwork. The surveyor will look for signs that the house has been well maintained and general upkeep has been carried out as you’ve lived there; such small jobs like this can make a big difference.

Don’t forget the garden

Your surveyor will also want to see any gardens and outbuildings, so don’t forget these areas in your preparations too. The surveyor will check any large plants or trees close to your property, which could pose a danger. They’ll also look for invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed as well as assess any boundaries such as fences and walls.

Look up

While you’re outside, it’s also worth having a quick look at the roof to see if there are any obvious concerns, such as cracked or missing tiles. Similarly, check the guttering for leaks or blockages and be sure to inform the surveyor if you notice anything awry.

Prepare your documents

To help the survey run smoothly, it can be good to have any necessary certificates and documentation to hand. This could include planning permission notice and electric and gas safety certificates. While all of these may not be essential, they will further highlight that the property has been well looked after.

Give the surveyor space

Finally, on the day of the survey, aim to have as few people at home as possible, and if you have any pets, it can be a good idea to keep them out of the way for the duration. Having someone on hand to greet the surveyor, explain any issues and highlight where keys and the like are will certainly be helpful. Also, if you have any concerns about the outcome of the survey, this can be a good time to speak to the surveyor, who will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Contact us today to find out more about Novello’s surveys and how we can help make the process run smoothly for all involved.

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