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Home Buyers Survey & Valuation – Why Is It So Important to Commission an Independent Survey?

16th April 2019

For the vast majority of people, purchasing a home is likely to be one of the biggest investments. Whether you’re purchasing your first property or moving up the property ladder, buying a home involves a number of costs and considerations, not just the purchase price. Alongside legal fees, moving costs and Stamp Duty Land Tax, the buyer should also seriously consider commissioning an independent survey. 

There are a number of types of survey you can opt for as a buyer. Whilst obtaining a mortgage valuation is compulsory if your purchase is being financed by a lender, this valuation report will only confirm to the lender that the property is worth what you have agreed to pay.  The mortgage valuation may identify significant defects that will have a material effect on value, but it won’t identify repairs and more detailed concerns that you’ll need to be aware of before deciding to go ahead with the purchase. The mortgage valuation is also done for the ‘lender’ and not the ‘buyer’ and as such the surveyor has no duty of care to the buyer.

A Home Buyers Survey & Valuation is one of the most popular property surveys and with prices starting at around £400 for this type of mid-level survey, it represents real value for money when you consider how much you could save if there is something wrong with the property that you didn’t previously know about. 
In this blog-post, we take a closer look at what’s involved in a Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report and explain why having  independent advice is essential if you want peace of mind when purchasing your next home.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), 80% of homebuyers only obtain a mortgage valuation report and choose not to obtain an independent survey! - an action that leaves many with unexpected repair bills once they move into their new property. 

What is a Home Buyers Survey & Valuation Report?

A Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report is based on criteria set out by the RICS and is one step up from the RICS Condition Report, which reports solely on the condition of the property. Whilst not the most in-depth survey, a Home Buyer Survey & Valuation digs deeper than a Condition Report to reveal any hidden repairs and structural issues that could cause problems later down the line. The report surveys both the inside and outside of the property but doesn’t delve under the floorboards or behind wall coverings. The report will also provide an independent valuation and will provide a Building Reinstatement valuation as well. 

Like the condition report it comes with a rating system for the property and should include professional support or further explanation from the surveyor after the inspection. It is most suitable for properties built in the past 100 years without significant structural problems.  

Why commission a Home Buyers Survey & Valuation Report?

A Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report could save you a fortune in repair costs. The information this type of report reveals can also be used to negotiate a better purchase price, as buyers are often able to deduct the cost of repairs identified within the report from the asking price, using the Home Buyers report as evidence.
A Home Buyers Survey report helps you make this very important purchase with your eyes wide open and with this survey, you’ll know whether investing in a particular property is right for you. 

How can going independent help?

Some lenders provide Home Buyers Survey & Valuation reports as an add-on, courtesy of their in-house or partner surveyors, but commissioning an independent survey provides independent advice and a fresh pair of eyes. With an independent survey, the surveyor you commission works on your behalf, unlike the surveyor who carries out the valuation for the lender. An independent Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report will help you identify any defects that could cost you money in the future.

Understanding the difference between each independent report is important. The age and condition of the property will however determine which is the most appropriate survey. A Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report offers more detail than a Condition Report. It is also easier to understand than a Building Survey, the most comprehensive report available to UK homebuyers. The advice a Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report offers is however limited, relating to minor repairs and ongoing maintenance, not major works. The Home Buyers Survey & Valuation report is therefore only suitable for more conventional properties that are in a reasonable condition. Older properties or those in poor condition may require a more specialist survey.

Rory Mack Associates is an independent firm of RICS Registered Chartered Surveyors who can provide Home Buyers Survey & Valuation reports and Building Surveys and will be happy to discuss your own individual requirements and concerns. Call us on 01782 715725 and ask to speak to one of our Building Surveyors for further information.