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When purchasing a property, a valuation is usually undertaken for the purposes of the lender in order to determine the market value, however as a buyer you are also advised to have an independent survey done which can confirm the valuation but also check whether the property is structurally sound and establish any potential problems with the property. Usually a qualified surveyor would have the knowledge to provide a thorough survey of the property but it is possible that you could be left with a few nasty surprises upon purchasing your home which is why many people are now choosing to undertake their own survey as well as a Homebuyers survey. This allows you to thoroughly examine the property yourself but of course it is important to know exactly what to look out for.
Firstly, you should prepare well for the survey. Try and organise it for a sunny day, but don’t forget a torch for any loft space or basements which may not be lit well. Also take a circuit tester and a pair of stepladders as well as somebody to help you with any difficult areas. Then create a home inspection checklist which you can use to record all the information you find.
Start from inside the property and check the walls firstly for bulges, cracks or peeling. Trace any stains you may find which could be a symptom of leaks, and don’t forget the ceiling. Check the level of the floor in each room and tap to establish whether it is hollow or solid if it is a wood floor. Next check all of the light switches and sockets. Check that the windows and doors open and close easily and check that locks are in good condition.
Check any appliances in the kitchen which are included in the sale, as well as extractor fans, sinks and drains. Also inspect the condition of cabinets and any other fixtures and fittings. Check the bathroom and any additional toilets for damp and mildew. Inspect grouting around the bath or shower and check that the toilet flushes fine.
Once all of the main rooms have been checked, inspect the loft for sufficient insulation as well as any light coming into the loft from the roof and signs of animal droppings or damaged beams. If there is a basement check for water stains on the floor or walls as well as the joists in the floor above.
When checking the electrics it is important to check and record as accurately as possible. Firstly check the condition of wires outside which should be ten feet above the ground or more and should also have a drip loop. Check any outside lights and also the circuit breaker which should be labelled correctly and have no corrosion. Also check for any exposed wiring and that it is copper rather than aluminium. And finally check any heating systems, ventilation or air conditioning. Ensure everything is recorded as accurately as possible so you can analyse the information later.
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