Valuations Versus Surveys

Valuations Versus Surveys

A valuation should not be used as a survey. If you’re trying to buy a property with a mortgage, your mortgage company will conduct a basic valuation of the property to assess whether the property is worth the money you are paying. More often than not, Watsons will be asked to complete these assessments on behalf of your bank or financial institution.

You may receive a copy of the mortgage valuation from your lender, but it is not a survey and does not involve the same level of inspection. It is important, therefore, that you employ a surveyor yourself to undertake a thorough inspection of the property you wish to buy.

The Types of Survey Available

There are two main types of survey available for those buying a residential property: an RICS HomeBuyers Report or a Building Survey.

RICS HomeBuyers Report

This choice of survey is designed to keep costs to a minimum and is the better option if you are buying a relatively standard property that seems to be in reasonably good condition and is less than 30 years old. Our Chartered Surveyors will seek to identify urgent problems with the property that are likely to impact on its value. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors explain the main objectives of the RICS HomeBuyers Report as:

  •       Make a reasoned and informed judgment on whether or not to proceed with the purchase
  •       Assess whether or not the property is a reasonable purchase at the agreed price
  •       Make clear what decisions and actions should be taken before contracts are exchanged

Your surveyor will make a number of assessments, including:

  •       The general condition of the property
  •       Any major faults in accessible parts of the building that may affect the value
  •       Any urgent problems that need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract
  •       Results of tests for damp in the walls
  •       Damage to timbers – including woodworm or rot
  •       The condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
  •       The estimated cost of rebuilding the property, for building insurance purposes
  •       The value of the property on the open market

Building Survey

This survey is a more thorough and detailed assessment of the property’s condition and as a consequence it is more expensive. It is therefore suitable for the following residential properties:

  •       Listed buildings
  •       Properties more than 30 years old
  •       Buildings constructed in an unusual way, however old they are
  •       Properties you plan to renovate or alter in any way
  •       Properties that have had extensive alterations

Your surveyor will produce a final report which will describe the construction of the property, the materials used and a list of all minor and report on:

  •       Major and minor defects and what they could mean
  •       The possible cost of repairs
  •       Results of damp testing on walls
  •       Damage to timbers – including woodworm and rot
  •       The condition of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
  •       Technical information on the construction of the property and the materials used
  •       The location
  •       Recommendations for any further special inspection

Cost range

The Full Building Survey is the most expensive survey available, but is also the most detailed. In understanding what to expect in terms of costs and timings before you commission your survey, contact our Head Office on 01603 751577 or You should bear in mind that prices may vary by property value, by surveyor, and also by where in the country you live. We have experienced surveyors working across East Anglia please contact Bury St Edmunds 01284 337180, Cambridge 01223 656290, Ipswich 01473 350095, Kings Lynn 01553 600860, Norwich 01603 751577 or Peterborough 01733 907830.


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