What to Look for when Surveying an Empty Property

Home surveys aren’t as complex as builder’s surveys and if you have a little building knowhow and don’t wish to pay for someone to come in to do a short survey of your potential new home, you may want to do it yourself.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors will tell you most homes need a home survey, whether new or old and this is most certainly true. By surveying your potential home for problems you can limit any future problems you may have with the home, that may not be evident on superficial viewing.

Of course, we’re not saying you can be as comprehensive as a professional surveyor, but there are some things to look out for.

Damp in n Empty Property

Damp walls are a key clue to problems with a home and mean that you should seriously consider a more comprehensive survey from a professional person. Damp can leak into homes and is a terrible problem as it can rot the structure of a home. Older homes, or ones with timber will seriously be damaged by this and alarm bells should ring. Keep an eye out for damp behind cupboards, in corners, around windows and in the attic. It’s usually where you won’t check, so be very careful where you look.


One of the most expensive parts of a home to repair is the roof. Roofs can cause all sorts of issues in homes and can be down to age, poorly constructed roofs, or badly fitted ones by roofers that don’t know what they’re doing. Keep an eye out for indentations and uneven roofs, as well as loose tiles, or problems with rafters in the attic. These are often all signs of issues with a house’s roof. Be aware that these problems can cost up to tens of thousands of pounds to fix and really are of issues in the long term.

Flat roofs can also be a severe problem and incorporate both issues with damp and problems with the home’s structure. Be very wary of these roofs, which though cheaper to add, can really cause issues in time.

Insulation in Vacated Properties

A well insulated home will save you money and also heat and is better for the environment. Many older homes are badly insulated and can really cost a lot of money to heat because of this. Make sure to ensure that all the home is insulated, especially the roof as this is where a large amount of the heat exits the house and really means extra money in the long term. Poorly insulated homes also are more inclined to be damp and this is where money is really haemorrhaged.

Make sure that the areas around windows are well insulated, as well as around doors. Of course, double glazing and uPVC windows tend to be a lot better at keeping heat in then single pane glass for instance. This is also something to consider when doing your survey.

Keeping an eye out for such issues can go a long way to ensuring a home is okay, however, you’ll never beat a chartered surveyors more comprehensive examination.

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