Why a mortgage valuation is not enough

Home buyers who have found their dream home and had their offer to buy it accepted may think it’s all plain sailing from here, as long as their lender approves the mortgage on the property. Regrettably, it’s rarely as simple as all that.

It is an unfortunate misconception to think that the mortgage valuation will provide the buyer with any insights into the condition of the property, therefore making redundant the need to have a separate home survey carried out. There is a big difference between an in-depth property survey carried out by a professional surveyor a basic mortgage valuation. If you are keen to protect your investment into a property asset, we would never advise a buyer to rely solely on a mortgage valuation report.

What is a Mortgage Valuation?

The first thing to stress is that a mortgage valuation is commissioned by the lender and carried out on behalf of the lender. It is designed to be a risk assessment exercise to verify that the mortgage loan will be secure. As such, the valuation report will only comment on aspects of the property that directly affect its market value.

A basic visual inspection of the property will take around ½ hour – enough time for the lender-appointed assessor to list the main details about the property and tick them off or rate them against specific lending criteria. The final report will only be a few pages long and the buyer is not entitled to a copy of it although they may be required to pay for this valuation as part of the mortgage application.

Most importantly, a mortgage valuation is not a home condition survey. It doesn’t provide an impartial overview of the property’s condition, nor give details of any urgent repairs. As such, it is not a useful document to inform the purchaser’s decision making.

What is a Home Condition Survey?

A Home Condition Survey (HCS) is a clear, concise and jargon-free report on the condition of a residential property. It’s a professional survey carried out by qualified surveyors whose job it is to deliver impartial information, using a simple 1-2-3 rating guide to flag up any risks or unforeseen expenditure that could crop up.

Also included with the Home Condition Survey are advice sheets to help new home owners deal with some of the more common building problems that may be encountered.

Alan Rance Surveyors provide a cost-effective service, with a site inspection and report that allows home buyers to make speedy, intelligent decisions.

What does a HCS cover?

Our Home Condition Surveys start with an external inspection of the chimney stacks, roof coverings and guttering, evidence of settlement or subsidence cracks on the main walls, the condition of timber fascia and bargeboards and windows. We will also comment on patios, ponds, garden fences and walls.

Inside, we will inspect each room for damp, and check the condition of internal plaster, electrics and gas, oil or electric heating. We will also survey timber floors, doors, skirting boards, cupboards, kitchen and bathroom fittings. Finally, a loft inspection will include looking for timber defects and roof coverings, penetrating damp and rising damp.

Benefits of a Home Condition Survey

Buying a home can be a stressful process and the principle of ‘buyer beware’ still largely applies. Regrettably, it isn’t always in the seller’s best interest to be completely transparent about the property’s issues and idiosyncrasies, and a Mortgage Valuation isn’t designed to provide this kind of information either.

This is where the Condition Survey can add real value, informing the buyer of any aspects that constitute serious building faults, need urgent attention or may be long-term repair issues. A HCS can only be carried out by a fully qualified and accredited surveyor including SAVA (Surveyors and Valuers Accreditation) and BRE (Building Research Establishment), trustworthy professionals who will deliver a valuable in-dept report.

What to do next

Buying a property is a major investment and it makes good financial sense to be equipped with all the salient facts in order to make the best possible purchase decision.

At Alan Rance Surveyors, we have more than 30 years’ professional experience and an unrivalled knowledge of the local property market in Dunstable, Bedfordshire and beyond. Always acting in your best interests, our property surveys are produced for your benefit alone. To find out more about our services and to discuss your surveying requirements for your next property purchase, please contact us today for excellent service and competitive fees.

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