Doing Your Own Home Survey

The Essential Home Survey Checklist

Buying a house is a big step. You need to know how much you can afford by looking at how much money you already have and how much you have to borrow. Before you take on a property you need to know if you can afford to pay for other fees on top of the cost of property. You should also take into account the expenses that you'll need to run the new property - water, gas and electrical, insurance, community charges and more.

Prospective home buyers know that it is imperative that a home survey or inspection is done by a qualified person to assess a building. However, the valuation is for the sole benefit of the lender as this type of survey will only determine the market value of the property. As a prospective buyer it is best to have an independent home survey to not only for valuation but also to determine the structural stability of the property for sale and to determine any existing or potential problem of the structure.

A professional home surveyor has the capability to properly do valuation of the property and see any defects that could affect the true value of house. This thorough report is included in the Homebuyer's Report. A lot of homebuyers opt to pay for this service. However, more often than not, some inspectors are not thorough enough in pinpointing defects of the property that in case a sale is made, the new homeowners might be surprised by the damp course in the basement or woodworm in the closet. A homebuyer's report is necessary when purchasing a new home. But if you want to inspect and survey the property that you are eyeing, here are some points to consider checking.

Prepare for the Survey

It is best to schedule your personal home survey during the day, preferably, sunny. Bring a flashlight to use in crawlspace or basement or loft. If you can, bring a stepladder for inspecting the insulation on the loft. Bring a circuit tester for testing. If you can, bring somebody with you to help you out with your personal home survey. Note that your personal home survey is not designed to take the place of a professional home surveyor. Before you start, make a home inspection checklist.

Living Room, Dining Room, Bedrooms Checklist

Start your inspection from the inside out. If you don't like what you see inside, why bother inspecting outside? For the walls of these areas, see if there are any bulges, cracks, peeling wallpaper or paint. If the house is more than 10 years old and there are water stains on the wall, look out for more stains and trace where they lead. Inspect the ceilings for sags, peeling paint and water stains too. Check to see if the floor is level. Tap to see if it sounds solid or hollow if it is wood. Solid sound is good while a hollow sound could mean termites. If the floor is carpeted check for lose parts or stains. Test all the light switches and electrical outlets. Check if the windows are opening and closing easily and smoothly. See if the glasses on windows are all intact and if the locks are all in good working condition.

Kitchen Checklist

The same living room checklist applies to the kitchen with additions. If appliances are part of the sale, check if they are working. An exhaust fan located in the kitchen should be in good working condition. Check the faucets, sink and drain. Turn on all the faucets and see how long hot water comes on. Are the faucets in good working condition? Does the sink drain fast enough? Check under the sink for any signs of moisture. Inspect the conditions of cabinetries and counters in the kitchen. Are all the tiles intact?

Bathroom Checklist

Check the walls and ceilings for any cracks, dents, bulges, peeling paints, water stain and mildew. Check floor and wall tiles for chips and cracks. See that the condition of the grouting. Check the condition of the faucet, tub, lavatory and shower stall. Is the hot water line working just fine? It is best to know what kind of boiler the house has too. Check if the water closet flushes fine and that the floor drain is not clogged.

Loft Checklist

If the loft is not converted check if there's sufficient insulation. Check that the wires are all updated. Look up and check the roof. If you see some light from the outside, then the roof must have holes and therefore leaks. If you can't find holes, check for water stains. Check for animal droppings or chewed wood. If there are some, then there are pests in the loft.

Basement Checklist

If there are water stains in the basement floor and bottom part of the wall, then that is not a good indication as that would mean a flooded basement. Look up the ceiling which is actually the floor joists of the floor above. If there is sag or rot, then that is an indication of insect infestation. Check the support system in the basement. If there are new supports, ask the reseller why. If there are faucets and sink and drain, check if they are all in good working condition. If there are cracks on the floor, then check the extent.

Electrical Checklist

Check the conditions of wires outside. The lines should be more than 10 feet above the ground and should have a drip-loop to keep rain water from entering the service panel. If there are lights out in the yard, see if they are working. There should be breaker and not fuses in the panel box. Each circuit breaker should be labelled and correctly sized. There should be no corrosion on any of the terminals.

Wiring should be copper and not aluminium and no part of it should be exposed. The wires should be in conduits and any exposed wire ends should be capped. All outlets should be covered and all in good working condition.

You should also check the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system of the house. Note that no house is perfect but the needed repairs should be minimal.

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"Really useful page of survey check points - about to be used this afternoon! So many thanks."