At Daily Move, we strive to make things simple, which is why whenever a customer asks us about the difference between a valuation and a survey, we’re happy to help them with the answer. What’s concerning to us is that 80% of buyers don’t commission a survey of their home – quite possibly because of this confusion.

Both mortgage valuations and surveys have their benefits, but they really aren’t interchangeable. Before you exchange contracts on a house, make sure you understand the differences so you can make an informed decision about your purchase.

Mortgage Valuations

What’s a mortgage valuation for?

The purpose of a mortgage valuation is to check that the property is worth what you’re offering to pay for it. While this information is useful for buyers, mortgage valuations are actually carried out for the benefit of your mortgage provider, so that if you default on your repayments, they can recoup their losses by repossessing the house.

What does a mortgage valuation entail?

Your valuation will be carried out by a specialist surveyor, or a valuer, who is knowledgeable about the prices of comparable homes in the area. The valuer will only spend between 15-30 minutes at the property, and will only take into account superficial details. As a result, a mortgage valuation has a very limited scope and can only uncover very obvious defects that you have probably already seen for yourself.

In some cases the valuation will also include a “reinstatement value”, which is the cost of rebuilding the property from scratch (used for insurance purposes). You may need to specifically request that this is included.

How much does a mortgage valuation cost?

Even though they are purely for the benefit of your lender, in many cases you will be expected to pay for it. The cost of a standalone mortgage valuation is usually £200, although this may vary if the property is very unusual or large.

Property Surveys

What’s a property survey for?

There are various kinds of property survey, but all of them are designed to investigate the condition of your house and inform you about any defects or structural issues that are found. Even if a house looks fine to the untrained eye, surveyors often uncover hidden problems and potential threats to the safety of the building.

Learning about these defects before exchanging contracts with the seller gives you an opportunity to re-negotiate your deal, potentially saving you thousands of pounds in remedial work. It’s not uncommon for buyers to ask the vendor to make repairs prior to the sale, or to lower their offer (for example, if the problem will cost £10,000 to repair, they will reduce their offer by the same amount).

What does a property survey entail?

There is more than one kind of property survey, and the exact process will vary according to which one you choose. In every case a chartered surveyor will visit the property and conduct an investigation, however the time spent and the level of detail provided depends on the survey you choose.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors provide three levels of property survey;

• Condition Reports – the most basic option, providing a snapshot of the property’s condition to give buyers peace of mind. The surveyor focuses on superficial items and any obvious problems that need to be addressed.

HomeBuyer Reports – A non-invasive survey which results in a reasonably detailed report. This will include structural observations and information about issues that should be urgently addressed. Suitable for typical homes.

Building Surveys – Ideal for large, unusual or historic buildings, building surveys are the most thorough investigations on the market. The surveyor will check all reachable areas of the building and make recommendations about how to repair and maintain them.

At Daily Move, we offer our clients a choice between the two more detailed survey types as in our experience these provide the best value for money.

How much does a property survey cost?

House surveys typically range between £250-£1000, depending on the size of your house and the level of report you wish to receive. While this may seem a lot, remember that it’s only a fraction of the total house price, and the cost of not finding a defect until after you move in can be much, much higher.

Hopefully this has cleared up some of the confusion between valuations and surveys, but if you have any more questions about any of our surveying or conveyancing services please feel free to contact our team for more details. You can call us on 0845 862 2275, get a quick online quote, or send us a message via our Contact Us page. We look forward to hearing from you soon.