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What can I expect when my home is being surveyed?

When you are selling your home, shortly after going sale agreed the buyer will likely have a pre purchase survey complete.

The reason for this is because the buyer is spending hundreds of thousands and committing to decades of debt to buy your home. But they've only seen it themselves for a few minutes during viewings. They've never lived it in and they don't know how well you have maintained it and they have no personal experience in identifying potentially costly structural issues.

So they hire an expert surveyor (Building Surveyor, Architect or Engineer) to inspect the property and produce a report that will help them do their due diligence before they sign contracts.

In Ireland, over 80% of buyers of second hand homes hire a surveyor before signing contracts. So, it doesn't necessarily mean the buyer thinks something is wrong with the property, it's just part of the house buying process!

The surveyor's job is to inspect the property and produce a report on it's condition. This is part of the buyer's due diligence and will help them to make their final decision to sign contracts
Surveyor will be looking out for any potential defects the buyer needs to be aware of

Who arranges access for the surveyor?

The surveyor will contact your estate agent to find a suitable day and time to conduct the survey. If you are still living in the property, the estate agent will speak with you first to ensure the time works for you.

We never turn up to a property without first getting the go ahead from the agent.

The surveyor will contact the estate agent to arrange a time to conduct the survey. The estate agent will clear it with you.
The surveyor will contact the estate agent

Will the buyer be attending with the surveyor?

Only you and the estate agent can give permission for the buyer to attend the survey. So if the buyer has requested this, your estate agent will inform you. In most cases, if the buyer is attending the estate agent would also be in the property at the time.

What will the surveyor be doing in my house?

Firstly, the survey will be a visual inspection only. So the surveyor is not going to be pulling up carpets or floorboards or drilling into walls. They also won't move any heavy furniture etc.

They may open access hatches and drain covers etc.

They will cover every room in the property looking at the floors, ceilings, walls, doors, fixtures, fittings, windows etc. They'll be looking to identify he locations of all services (boilers, meters, shut off valves etc.)

To ensure there is no moisture or damp in the walls, the surveyor will use a moisture meter to test the walls. When some models of meter beep, it just means it has got a clear reading, not that it has a bad reading. So if you hear beeping, don't worry!

The surveyor will also get into the attic of the property. From here they are looking at the internal roof structure, party walls, chimney breast, insulation levels and making sure the water tank is up to standard.

A survey is a visual inspection so the surveyor will not be lifting floors or damaging walls

Documenting the Survey and Photographs

Throughout the survey, the surveyor will be documenting the inspection on their iPad or other device.

They will take numerous photos to show the current condition, highlight defects or just to note the location and type of services like boilers.

Note: Surveyors take care to ensure they do not capture any people or images of people in the photos they take.

The notes taken by the surveyor and photo taken are used exclusively for the survey and surveyor records.

Outside the property

The surveyor is going to be taking a look at the structure of the property including the walls, chimney stack and roof. They will view the roof from the ground level.

They will walk the gardens of the property and inspect any sheds/workshops etc.

They are also looking at the condition of the boundary structures (walls, fences, gates etc.).

How long will the surveyor be in my home for?

Depending on the size and condition of the property, the surveyor can take anywhere from 1-2 hours in the property. The average time is about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Can I help to prepare my house to be surveyed?

Yes, there are several ways you can assist to ensure the survey goes as smoothly as possible.

Ensuring all parts of the property, including all rooms, sheds, garages etc. are assessable can help to speed up the survey and will prevent any "Could not access" notes on the survey.

If you have service certs for boilers, certificates of compliance/exemption etc. for any alterations to the property or any inspection records for wells or septic tanks, leaving these somewhere visible like the kitchen table and they surveyor will be able to record that they have seen the documents.

This will reduce the amount of back and forth requests between solicitors down the line and can help speed up the entire process.

If you've still got a bit of time before your survey, check out our full guide on preparing your home for a survey: Blog - As a Seller, what can I do to prepare my home for a survey?

Do you need your own survey or other services?

At Get House Survey, we offer a range of services for sellers, including:

  • Land Reg Maps

  • Certificates of Identity

  • Certificates of Compliance

  • Certificates of Exemption

  • Planning Searches

You can see the full list here: Seller's Services

Then if you are buying a house or apartment, we offer the most detailed pre purchase structural surveys in the country: Pre Purchase Surveys


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