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Do I need a House Survey or a Mortgage Valuation?

  1. Katie from London
  2. Surveys questions and answers

Question

Can you advise on the differences between a House Survey and a Mortgage Valuation please. I am purchasing a house but I don't know which one to get.

Answer

For the majority of home buyers, the investigation into the condition of the property they wish to buy starts and ends at the Mortgage Valuation. Mortgage Valuations should not be confused with house surveys that are carried out by independent Chartered Surveyors, as a house survey will provide significantly more detail than a Mortgage Valuation.

Mortgage Valuation
A Mortgage Valuation will confirm to a lender the property’s worth and whether the mortgage for the property will be secure. It will only comment on aspects of the property that may affect its value.

This type of house inspection will usually last for 20 minutes and is conducted for the benefit of the lender – not the home buyer. It is also unlikely that the home buyer will be able to access a copy of the Mortgage Valuation report.

The Mortgage Valuation will not always provide information about repairs that need to be undertaken so it is not recommended to solely depend on this inspection of the property to help you make an informed decision on whether to progress with your purchase.

House Survey
The two house surveys available to home buyers that will provide full information about the condition of a property are the RICS HomeBuyer Report and the Building Survey.

The RICS HomeBuyer Report, sometimes identified as a Homebuyers Survey, will rate the aspects of a property to describe how urgently they need repairing or further investigation. It will also include a current valuation of the property.

The Building Survey, previously titled as a Structural Survey, is the most comprehensive of the house surveys, providing a wide-ranging examination of all accessible aspects of a property. This survey can be tailored to the requirements of a home buyer to cover elements of particular concern. Although not typically included in the Building Survey, you can request for a valuation to be included if required.

The type of survey that would be more appropriate for the property you are purchasing will depend on its age and construction type; your surveyor will be able to advise on which would be more suitable.

Valuation or Survey?
It is vital that you don’t rely exclusively on the mortgage valuation to assist your decision of whether to proceed with the property purchase. Make sure that you receive the expert and independent advice of a Chartered Surveyor, as they are working solely on your behalf for your best interests.

Additionally, if your mortgage lender approves of your Chartered Surveyor, the valuation included in the survey may be acceptable for your Mortgage Valuation.

A house survey will provide you with a detailed and in-depth account of the condition of the property that you would not receive with a Mortgage Valuation, so it is important that you commission a full house survey from a Chartered Surveyor before you complete on your property purchase.

Remember a valuation is NOT a survey. Here's a handy video from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors that highlights this issue.  

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