If you require a mortgage to purchase a new home, your lender will require a valuation of the property to ensure they are comfortable to lend against it. You may decide to have a more in-depth survey of the property before committing to purchase it for your own peace of mind.

  • Basic Valuation

This is not a survey, but it is in fact a report prepared after a brief inspection of the property; it is solely for the benefit of the mortgage lender. It is carried out by a RICS Valuation Surveyor who is appointed by the lender (i.e. a bank or building society) to determine whether the property provides adequate security for the amount you wish to borrow. Clear defects will be addressed in the valuation, but it must not be regarded as the full survey or a substitute for a Building Survey or Homebuyer’s Report.

  • Homebuyer’s Report

A Homebuyer’s Report is intended to inform you – the buyer – on the soundness of the property and whether it is agreed at a suitable price. This is more expensive and extensive than the Basic Valuation.

This survey and valuation covers all accessible parts of the property, and is approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), but it is deemed less comprehensive than a Building Survey, and the final report is concise. It identifies major defects and includes a roof inspection where possible, yet it fails to detail remedial works.

The Homebuyer’s Report can provide advice on specific items if necessary, and it suggests whether further specialist investigation is required. It may offer you a rather limited recourse should the surveyor (acting on your behalf, rather than lender’s), be negligent in their duty.

Homebuyer’s Reports are particularly useful for homes built during the last 80 years and up to approximately 2,000 square feet/185 square metres.

  • Building Survey (formerly Full Structural Survey)

This is, without question, the most thorough type of survey available and it is usually required when a full assessment of the property needs to occur. This form of survey is highly advisable for properties that are dated pre-1900 or are large and unusual.

Surveys of this sort may take numerous hours to complete in order to cover all aspects of the property in further depth than in the Homebuyer’s Report. It may also detail remedial works that are necessary. In the event of a defect with the property, you have the right of recourse to the surveyor if the defect would have been found in the original survey – for example, rising damp.

Mortgage lenders commonly work with panels of approved surveyors, and it is usually best to allow the lender to instruct their nominated surveyor for the basic valuation that they require. If you desire a Homebuyer’s Report, many lenders will allow you to request one via them, but otherwise, you are entitled to instruct any survey yourself.

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