*It is our advice that you should choose a survey based on the condition of the property itself, not the cost of the survey. Money spent on a decent survey can save you a fortune in the future. “Surveys” are also referred to as “Valuations”.
BASIC MORTGAGE SURVEY. (Basic Valuation)
The main survey that you’ll hear mentioned when you’re about to become a homeowner is the all-important mortgage valuation. The funny thing is, it’s not really a survey at all, even though people often refer to it as one. The true purpose of a mortgage valuation is to satisfy your potential lender that the property you want to buy is worth the amount you’re prepared to splash out. The lender will appoint someone to take a cursory look at the property to assess its value – but don’t mistake it for a comprehensive picture of the home’s condition.
A mortgage valuation won’t point out the finer detail about structural problems or maintenance work the property needs, although the surveyor might make a note about any major works that affect the value of the building. Typically, the cost of a mortgage valuation is based on the size of the property and can be anything from £299 – to over £1,500. If the property is valued below your offer price, you can go back to the seller or estate agent, and offer a lower price based on the lender’s valuation. Another option is to dispute the valuation by providing evidence, if possible, of similar properties in the area selling for the same price or higher.
The sole aim of the mortgage valuation is to satisfy the lender that your desired property is worth the price you’re paying – or at least the amount it’s lending, before they approve your mortgage.
A valuation is just that – it won’t point out repairs or structural problems that you will have to pay to fix.
Generally, you will pay for the lender’s survey. The cost is based on the value and size of the property and is typically £299 to £1,500.
If the property is valued below your offer price, you can either:
- Go back to the seller or the estate agent, and offer a lower price based on the lender’s valuation
- Dispute the valuation by providing evidence, if possible, of similar properties in the area selling for the same price or higher
HOME BUYERS SURVEY. (Homebuyers Report)
When you’re buying a new house, it’s easy to overlook hidden problems such as structural defects, shabby brickwork or a broken down boiler. Research has revealed many first time buyers set themselves up for unforeseen repair bills, so it can pay to shell out for a full Home Buyers Survey before you put in an offer.
It can be carried out at the same time as the Basic Mortgage Valuation, usually costing in the range of an extra £200 – £400.
A HomeBuyer Report is a survey suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition. Costs start at £499 on average.
This will help you find out if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other unwelcome hidden issues inside and outside.
But the HomeBuyer Report doesn’t look beyond the floorboards or behind the walls.
Some home-buyers’ reports include a basic mortgage valuation, so you might be able to revise your offer if the survey reveals a lower price than the mortgage lender’s valuation.
If there’s no valuation included, you could use the report’s suggestions for repairs to renegotiate the price.
For example, if it’s going to cost you £5,000 to carry out work on the property’s damp walls, it’s reasonable to offer £5,000 less than the asking price.
FULL STRUCTURAL BUILDING SURVEY. (Full Survey)
A comprehensive Building Survey is the ideal choice for the discerning home buyer, providing a fully detailed report about the condition of the property and the land that it sits on. This type of survey is especially useful for older buildings, larger houses and non-traditional properties – or if you are planning taking out any major renovation work yourself after completion.
Although a Building Survey typically costs around £1,000 (depending on property size of course), the surveyor will give you a complete breakdown of the condition and fabric of the property, with repair diagnosis and expert maintenance advice. It may sound expensive, but remember, repairs can costs thousands upon thousands to put right, so a Building Survey may save you a small fortune in the long run.
This is the most comprehensive survey and is suitable for all residential properties. It’s particularly good for older homes or homes that might need repairs. This type of survey typically costs upwards of £699 and provides detailed advice on repairs.
It’s very extensive and in some circumstances worth the extra money but it does not usually include a valuation. Although this survey can’t look under floorboards or behind walls it should include the surveyor’s opinion on the potential for hidden defects in this area.
The surveyor should also provide information on potential repair options. Again, you could try to save money by comparing the details of the repairs required against the lender’s valuation.