You are here: Why do I need a survey if I have a mortgage valuation?

What is a mortgage valuation?

Mortgage valuations are not in-depth surveys. They don’t take long (about 15 to 30 minutes) and involve only a brief look at the property to assess its value. The valuation report is prepared for the benefit of your lender – bank or building society – and not you, the borrower, even though you may have to pay for it.

The sole aim is to assess if a property is worth the agreed sale price before the lender approves your mortgage. The evaluation report may note obvious problems affecting the property’s value but it won’t give you a full picture of its condition.

What is a property survey?

A survey is a detailed inspection of a property from top to bottom. It will tell you if there are any hidden problems such as subsidence, rot or damp and if any major repairs are needed, like a new roof. A surveyor acts solely on your behalf – and offers impartial, expert advice on a property. For example, if hairline cracks in walls or ceilings  are a serious problem or not. A survey can help you make a fully informed decision about whether to go ahead with the purchase as well as a reasonable price to pay.

Who does the survey?

It is crucial to use a qualified professional. Most surveyors are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Costs will vary from surveyor to surveyor as well as size of property, so it is a good idea to compare quotes. Local surveyors are likely to have a better knowledge of the area and common property problems as well as market values.  You can instantly compare estimates and talk directly to local surveyors through our website

Why do you need a survey?

There is no legal requirement to commission a survey on the property you are buying. And it can seem like an unnecessary extra expense when your finances are already stretched. However, buying a home is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will ever make and it is important to be fully informed about its condition. According to RICS, buyers face an average £5,570 in repair bills after moving in, due to a range of hidden problems. If a survey highlights defects, e.g. a leaking roof, it can be a useful bargaining tool to ask the seller to fix the problem or reduce the price. If the seller isn’t willing to do either, think carefully before going ahead. Check you can afford the cost of any major repairs or replacements the property may need. A survey could save you money and a lot of stress in the long-term.

What kind of survey should I get?

The survey you need depends on the condition, age and type of property you are buying. There are three main types of survey which vary in detail and cost.

·        A Building Survey (used to be called a structural survey) is the most in-depth and expensive of the three.  It includes details of the fabric and condition of the property as well as defects, repairs and maintenance advice. It is usually recommended if the property has been significantly altered, is rundown, of unusual construction or if you are planning major renovations.

·        A Homebuyer Report is suitable for homes that are of traditional type and construction and in reasonable condition. It gives a less detailed description of the of the property with colour-coded condition ratings and comments on defects plus advice on repairs needed. There is usually the option of the surveyor’s opinion of the market value for an extra fee.

·        A Condition report provides an independent assessment of the condition of the property but doesn’t deal with the question of value. It follows standard format and uses a simple traffic light system to flag up any issues that need urgent attention These may be carried out by Home inspectors with the Dip HI qualification who are members of an accreditation scheme operated by SAVA or BRE. Chartered surveyors also offer a RICS condition report.

If you are looking for a Surveyor, you may find some of these links useful: