Posted on: 8 Aug 2023 by James Brook, FRICS

Seven Things a Surveyor May Ask You

Preparing your home for a survey can be stressful, but being aware of the questions that may be asked and taking a few steps to make the process as efficient as possible can make a huge difference. So, what will a surveyor look for, and what might they ask you as they inspect your home?

What does a surveyor do?

First, let’s be clear on what a surveyor does and their role in house-buying. A surveyor will assess your property for defects, issues, and potential future problems. They will then produce a report that will be shared with the buyer, which will give useful information on the state of the home, helping them be confident they are paying a fair price.

What will happen during a house survey?

To a certain extent, what happens during a survey will depend on the type of survey the buyer has arranged and the property being surveyed. In most cases, the most appropriate survey will be a RICS Building Survey, also known as a Structural Survey. This is the most in-depth report available and provides a detailed picture of the property’s construction and condition, inside and out. As the surveyor will assess all key aspects of the property, such as windows, doors, roof spaces and outbuildings, this will likely take at least a few hours, possibly even a full day if it’s a particularly large or complex property. The surveyor will need access to all areas of the property and will also assess any gardens and other associated buildings. They may also look under carpets and behind furniture, so moving things such as sofas that may be against walls in advance can save time. Novello’s surveyors may also use tools such as drones and pole cams to explore those harder-to-reach areas, so don’t be surprised if the surveyor turns up with these.

While a Building Survey is usually the best option, the buyer may opt for the less comprehensive HomeBuyer Report. In this case, the surveyor will carry out a visual inspection of accessible areas but without the technology that helps them get the more thorough insight associated with a building survey and without moving any carpets or furniture. Instead, they will focus only on obvious, visible defects. This survey could take as little as an hour to complete.

Six things a surveyor may ask you

1. How old is the property?

Your surveyor may ask you for some information, such as the age of the house and if any major changes have been carried out, such as extensions or loft conversions, when these were completed.

2. Have you carried out any recent improvements?

If you have carried out recent improvements, such as replacing roofs, windows, bathrooms, and kitchens or if you have features such as underfloor heating or insulation, your surveyor may give you the opportunity to share details, although they will not be able to test ‘hidden’ features such as these.

3. Where are your services?

The surveyor will look at services such as gas, electricity and water to assess the general condition, note the meter type, and check the pipework and the like, so be ready to show them where your meters are. They may also ask if you have test certificates and an EPC. They will not, however, test the services.

4. Do you have keys?

The surveyor needs full access to all areas of the property and may also test features such as windows and door locks. This being the case, they will likely ask for keys to sheds, garages and cellars and those for the main windows and doors.

5. Do you have the necessary certificates?

If you’ve carried out work that required planning permission or building regulation completion certificates, your surveyor will likely ask if you have these documents. Having them hand in preparation can speed up the process and make the process as simple as possible.

6. Is there any history of insurance claims?

Whether you’ve had to make any insurance claims for things that could impact the value of the property, such as structural movement or flooding, will also be on the list of things asked by your surveyor. It’s important that any history with such issues is disclosed as the buyer may be able to claim damages if they complete the sale based on inaccurate information.

7. What is the parking situation?

Your surveyor may ask about parking arrangements, such as if there is off-street parking or if a permit system is in place. This is to let the buyer know if they should look into buying a permit and the costs associated with this.