Blog: Valuations vs Surveys

Buying a house… is a valuation sufficient, or should you opt for a full structural survey?

Buying a house is probably the biggest financial purchase you’ll make in your lifetime and at a time when you’re already spending a lot of money, a survey can sometimes seem like a big expense. However, knowledge is power and it’s better to be informed of any potential issues before proceeding with the purchase otherwise it may end up costing you further down the line.
When you're at the exciting stage of buying a new property it's easy to get seduced by the appearance of your potential new home, and risk ignoring any hidden problems which could cost you later on.

That’s where a survey can give you peace of mind to purchase your new home with confidence. But with a number of options available, which is the best type of survey for the property you’re buying?

We’ve summarised the different types of surveys available to help you make an informed decision:

A summary of surveys
The type of survey you should go for depends a lot on the age and location of the property. For example, if you’re buying an older property it’s sensible to select for a more detailed report than perhaps someone who’s buying a new-build. The latter usually come with a National House Building Council (NHBC) 10-year guarantee for any big faults or defects in construction or materials.

Basic mortgage valuation
The sole aim of the basic mortgage valuation is to satisfy the lender that your chosen property is worth the price you're paying before they approve your mortgage. It doesn’t go into any detail on the state of the property.
It’s important to remember that this survey is for the benefit of your mortgage lender and doesn’t provide you with any guarantees about the state of the property.

Homebuyers report
This is a detailed report for 'standard' properties which are in reasonably good condition. It provides a more in-depth inspection that will help you find out if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other hidden issues - inside and outside the property. It will also give advice on any defects that may affect the value of the property, along with recommendations for repairs and ongoing maintenance.
A homebuyers report excludes the cost of estimates for repairs.

Full structural survey
Now known as a Building Survey, this is a comprehensive report providing a full breakdown of the fabric and condition of the property, with diagnosis of defects and repairs and maintenance advice. Typically these types of surveys are more suitable for properties that are listed, have an unusual construction, or require significant renovation.