Have you found a property to buy and your offer has been accepted? Congratulations! You are on the road to becoming a homeowner. All that remains is for the lender to approve the mortgage on the property and you’re home and dry, right? Wrong.
It is a common misunderstanding that the mortgage valuation will give you an insight into the condition of the property and that, therefore, you won’t be needing a separate home survey. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Mortgage valuations must not be confused with property surveys carried out by independent Chartered Surveyors. If you wish to protect your considerable financial commitment into your new home, it is unwise to rely on a mortgage valuation alone.
What is a mortgage valuation?
A mortgage valuation is commissioned by the mortgage lender – it is for their benefit alone. The valuation is designed to confirm to the lender that the mortgage to be granted for the property will be secure. It is purely a risk assessment exercise and, as such, will only comment on aspects of the property that affect its value.
Unlike with a home survey, the visual inspection for a mortgage valuation will only take around 20 minutes. This gives the assessor enough time to list the main details about the property and rate them against specific lender requirements. Often no more than a ‘tick box valuation’, the final report may only be a few pages long. And while you may have to pay for this service in order to get your mortgage approved, you may not even get to see a copy of the report.
Crucially, what a mortgage valuation doesn’t do is to provide an impartial view of the condition of the property, nor information about repairs that need to be carried out. If you are hoping for a document to help you make an informed decision on how to proceed with your purchase, a mortgage valuation is not it.
What is an independent home survey?
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offers three types of property survey – a basic Condition Report, a mid-level HomeBuyer Report and a comprehensive Building Survey. These are professional surveys carried out by qualified surveyors whose job it is to provide impartial information about the condition of the property in question.
The survey report is designed for property buyers who wish to understand the building they are in the process of buying, including any costs associated with its maintenance, upkeep and repair. It may also give an insight into how the property is likely to perform when it is eventually sold on. In many cases, when significant defects are identified, a survey report can be used as a tool to renegotiate the purchase price.
The RICS Building Survey, the most detailed investigation available and previously known as a full structural survey, consists of a wide-ranging examination of all accessible aspects of a property. The survey can be tailored to your precise requirements and cover elements of particular concern – handy if the building is old, large or unusual, or you are planning refurbishments or alterations.
The choice of the right type of survey largely depends on the age and construction of your chosen property. At Gowers Surveyors, we have extensive experience in all types of surveying as well as particular expertise in Period Building Surveys. Why not get in touch with our friendly team and we can talk you through all the options and advise on the most suitable survey.
Your next steps
We hope you are now beginning to understand why you should never rely exclusively on a mortgage valuation. Buying a property is a huge investment and it is good financial sense to have all the necessary facts at your disposal in order to make an intelligent decision about your purchase.
At Gowers Surveyors, our experienced team of skilled Chartered Surveyors work solely on your behalf and act in your best interests. Make sure you receive our expert independent advice via one of our property surveys. To find out more about Gowers Surveyors and to discuss your surveying requirements for your next property purchase with one of our team, please feel free to contact us.