What does a surveyor look out for when conducting a RICS home survey?02/08/21
A survey on a property can make all the difference to its value and purchase negotiation. Whether it identifies underlying problems which will need to be addressed either before or after the sale, or just acts as a general ‘health check’, to ensure that the overall condition is sound for peace of mind for both parties before the exchange.
Andy Lowe, our Assistant Surveyor, reveals some of the considerations Forge looks out for when surveying a property:
Age and Construction
The age and construction of a property is the first thing a surveyor will assess, as these often go hand in hand. The age of a property sometimes determines the construction type and from this, common defects can often be identified as a result of the construction methods used. This can include a lack of insulation or ventilation, dating back to a time when hot showers were not automatically built in and are a key cause of damp issues in older properties today.
Roofs are a key element a surveyor will assess. Roof repairs are often costly. If not spotted in time, extensive rainwater damage can be caused by rainwater leaking through cracked, missing, or slipped tiles. Pests such as rodents, birds and squirrels can also make their home in roof spaces if there is a gap wide enough for them to pass through, which can also have a detrimental impact on the property’s condition.
Structural movement is another point a surveyor will look for. Small amounts of movement are common during the property’s lifespan as it settles, which may lead to minor cracks, but severe wall cracking may indicate a more serious issue. It is vital for a surveyor to identify this, as structural movement could involve very costly remedial works.
Often overlooked by purchasers, the condition of windows is really important. If in poor condition they can decrease energy efficiency and increase heating bills. Replacing windows can be a considerable expense, which may not have been budgeted for in the property purchase.
A property is not habitable without key services, such as water, gas, and electricity. Therefore, a surveyor must assess what systems are in place and if they are operational. It should be determined if a property is also on mains or private systems, such as a septic tank instead of sewage connections, as this can cause its own set of complications and problems to a property sale.