Nervous about House Survey? What can you do.

Whenever comes to selling an asset, in general, the owners are getting a little bit nervous about its condition. Is the same when comes to selling your home, but following our guide you can learn about some survey misconceptions, the common problems which are uncovered and most importantly, what can you do to prepare for your home comprehensive survey.

Many people are nervous about house surveys and is understandable because is most likely their biggest asset and naturally the most time and money has been spend on it. So, when comes to the inspection a survey can dictate whether the sale can continue or not. 

According to a 2021 survey more than 305,000 house sales fell through due to a series of reasons: mortgage application problems, purchase chain failures, and due to issues highlighted within survey reports.

However, 1 in 10 house sales fall through due to problems unveiled in a building survey, so, it is vital to understand what these problems are and how important is to be upfront about them, in order to avoid wasting your time and money.

Naturally, you will be feeling nervous about the outcome of house survey, as you want every step of the house buying/selling process to be smooth and easy. However, it is important to remember that is no point to add extra stress to this process until you know it should be worried about.

Also, every problem has a resolution, whether it is something small or complex, a solution can be found. By the end of the day, is about the costs. That can mean either you agree to sell your house for less than you originally planned or you can prepare yourself before you put your property on the market by assessing and fixing any potential issues. We highly recommend looking for professional advice.

A home survey involves inspecting the property, usually by an expert, to determine the level of quality and record the value. Home inspections can be a building survey, a home buyer report or just a status report.

The survey takes place when the seller accepts the offer, but before the exchange of contracts. The surveyor checks your property condition and any potential issues are highlighted within his report which is feedback exclusively to the client.

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If you are not confident about your house inspection, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk of finding something wrong with your property during the survey. Here are some ways to address problems that may arise from the survey of your house:

  • Commission a building survey prior to the survey. A seller is not obliged by the law to undertake a survey prior to sale, but taking the trouble to pay for your own building survey gives you an opportunity to uncover any potential problems with your house. This gives you the chance to make the necessary repairs and adjustments before the buying/selling process starts.
  • Get an electrical check. Even as a best practice and for your safety, getting an electrician to carry out an annual electric check and have any issues fixed is a fantastic way of diffusing the nervousness and to be honest, to give you a peace of mind.
  • Get your building regulation certificates together. Also, is highly advised that with any major building works or extensions to have the paperwork that warrants the work and you everything was compliant with the right building regulations. So, it is best to have all your paperwork together just to be sure you’re not missing anything and eventually to make it available to the surveyor on the day of inspection.
  • Run gas safety checks, boiler service. Safety is paramount to every house buyer and any slight suggestion of compromise is a turn off. Therefore, you can be ahead of the surveyor by having your boiler service and gas safety inspected beforehand. This way, you will be at ease knowing that your heating system is perfect.
  • Inspecting the property’s exterior & interior. With safety in mind, you might want to check the condition of your gutters and roof. If you can see signs of algae growth, cracked tiles, vegetation or blockages, you might have a problem that needs fixing sooner rather than later. Also, is a good idea to check the fireplace and window sills for signs of damage. 

This are just some ways you can prepare for your house sale. Failure to prepare your house for a sale can easily slow down the process, particularly if the buyer’s surveyor picks up an issue you may not have been aware of. At its worst, the sale may fall through. 

Next, please read more what are the most common problems found by a RICS Chartered Surveyor.

Looking as objectively as possible, if your home seems to be in reasonable condition, you probably do not need to worry about any potential issues which can be highlighted during the home inspection. However, are some problems that can be hard to notice (especially if are not obvious) and yet can be deal-breakers. 

Here is our list with the most common issues highlighted in survey report:

  • Damp – Can be enough to put people off buying your home. Damp can be caused by a range of underlying issues, such as poor ventilation, pipe or gutter leaks, excess moisture, etc. However, one of the most common causes of damp is condensation, a problem that’s usually easy to repair.
  • Roof problems – Severe roof problems are hard to ignore. But issues such as poor ventilation or inadequate insulation can easily be overlooked. Many potential buyers will want to know about your property’s energy efficiency. If there are any issues, it’s better to address them before showing people around. You can repair a broad array of roof problems for a reasonable fee, especially when considering it could make all the difference.
  • Electrical issues – Any surveyor will check the electrics and will report back. Is normal to take any precautions, either you are a first time buyer or a landlord, before committing yourself to an investment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. It would be wise to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) undertaken by a qualified electrician to uncover problems and their causes.
  • Heating system issues – For your own and family safety, you should have an annual gas safety check and boiler service done every year (or at least every two years). If you don’t have any recent certificates, now’s the time to get in touch with a team of certified professionals. That way, you won’t have to worry about the surveyor noticing anything amiss.
  • Building regulation approvals – If any alterations occurred previously, you might want to make sure they complied with the relevant building regulations therefore is important to have any certification for it; however, are cases when the previous owner did not adhere to building regulation or lost the certification, then a building control approval should be seek retrospectively.
  • Cracks – In most cases, small cracks are enough to bring enough stress to the potential buyers to make them suspicious and reluctant on the actual property condition. Most cracks aren’t serious, but it’s worth having them inspected and fixed by a professional.
  • Japanese Knotweed –  Did you knew that 5% of British residential properties are affected by Japanese Knotweed (is an invasive plant)? This weed isn’t usually harmful for your health, but it can lead to structural issues, damp and a range of other costly problems. It’s also notoriously difficult to get rid of, which means it’s best to have it removed professionally.

When you look for a surveyor, you should always look for a RICS registered surveyor and normally your mortgage lender or estate agent would recommend one. Of course, in some cases, they will use the ones for which will get a commission or a lead percentage. So, you should always keep in mind that maybe some incentives are behind the recommendation, but either way always check their reviews and if are local. We champion the independent local chartered surveyors because they will bring the local knowledge and their competitive prices while keeping a high standard throughout. 

Written by Danil P.
12th Jan 2022 (Last updated on 23th Jan 2023)
5 minute read
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