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Tips for selling your home

(from a surveyor’s perspective)


For some people, the thought of having a surveyor inspect your home in detail is disturbing, particularly when you are conscious that the results of the survey inspection may dictate whether or not the buyer continues with the purchase of the property.


There are however several things that a seller can easily do to make the survey inspection more straightforward for the surveyor and to reduce the number of items that may be flagged for further attention or repair, therefore increasing the chances of a positive survey outcome.


In an ideal world, a seller would instruct a surveyor to carry out a brief (or detailed if they wish) inspection of the property to highlight any major issues and to recommend items which should be attended to prior to putting a property on the market, or in the very early stages. This does of course come with a cost attached which puts may sellers off getting this early advice.


It should be considered however that if you do seek advice from a surveyor before the sale, then they are likely to point out several items which could be addressed relatively easily and cheaply, which may reduce the risk of buyers reducing their offer. If this does occur then the reduced offer is likely to be significantly more than the cost of the surveyor’s fees and any works and further investigations recommended.


If a seller is able to provide concise, relevant and up to date information to the buyer and their advisers (solicitor and surveyor), then this can increase the confidence in the purchase being sound. When information is absent or sellers are evasive about certain issues, this confidence can be knocked, putting the sale more at risk.


Below is a list of items documents which are commonly requested during the sale process, either by the buyer’s solicitor or their surveyor. If you can provide these then the sale process has a good chance of being smoother and quicker.


  • Electrical test certificate from within the last 10 years

  • Gas/oil inspection record and boiler test certificate from within the last 12 months.

  • Drainage survey report from within the last 3 years.

  • Mundic report (if the house or any extensions were built with concrete blocks before 1960).

  • Planning permissions and Building Regulations completion certificates for any extension and alteration works.

  • Window installation certificates and guarantees

  • Flood risk report (if relevant)


There are common issues which can be easily addressed before the survey to give a cleaner survey report. Please note that full refurbishment and internal decoration is not necessary although the points below will help give the impression of good maintenance:


  • Clean and adjust gutters.

  • Repair and decorate external woodwork including windows, doors and fascia boards.

  • Clean and adjust window and door mechanisms.

  • Clean and decorate external painted walls.


When the surveyor arrives to carry out the inspection, it will be useful to them if you can have the documents referred to above ready for them to look at. It will also be useful if you can let them know the locations of the following:


  • Electricity meter and consumer unit(s)

  • Gas meter / oil tank

  • Water meter and stopcock

  • Boiler and hot water cylinder

  • Drainage inspection chambers

  • Boundaries of the site


The surveyor will need access to all parts of the building during the inspection. If access is restricted or not possible in some areas then this will be flagged which can give a negative impression in the survey report. To avoid this issue it is worthwhile considering the following:


  • Provide good access to the loft hatches by moving any furniture directly below.

  • Ensure cupboard doors and access hatches aren’t blocked.

  • Don’t overfill cupboards so that the surveyor can get a good view of the structure.

  • Ensure floors are clear enough to walk around the rooms.

  • Unlock or provide keys to all doors including garages and sheds etc.


Although it may sound obvious or silly, the following issues sometimes happen which can be awkward for both the surveyor and seller:


  • People asleep in bed when the surveyor arrives.

  • Dirty laundry on the floors (the surveyor will need to take photographs of every room!).

  • Dog dirt in the outside spaces (the surveyor will need to walk around all areas and may step in this by accident!).

  • Remove piles of waste materials inside and outside the house.

By following the advice above, a seller may significantly increase the probability of the survey carried out by the buyer's surveyor casting the property in a good light, and that the report is not overshadowed by a lack of documentation or simple maintenance that could easily be carried out beforehand.


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