All building societies are required by law to undertake a valuation before making a mortgage offer on a property. A valuation is not a survey, it is a property inspection undertaken for the sole purpose of deciding on the amount and terms of any loan. Buyers can expect to pay for a valuation to be carried out and are usually given a copy of the report. However, the extent of the inspection is very limited when compared to a survey and no potential buyer should rely solely on the information provided by a mortgage valuation when deciding whether or not to buy a particular property.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) HOMEBUYER Service is in a standard format and is designed specifically as an economy service. It is intended only for particular types of home: houses, flats and bungalows which are:
It focuses on essentials: defects and problems which are urgent or significant and thus have an effect on the value of the property. Because of the practical limits on the type of property and of the scope of its coverage, the HOMEBUYER Service is priced mid-range - more expensive than a Mortgage Valuation, but less than a Building Survey.
The main objective in providing the service is to assist the prospective homebuyer to:
The surveyor also gives his or her professional opinion on the particular features of the property which affect its present value and may affect its future marketability.
A Building Survey is suitable for all residential properties and provides a full picture of their construction and condition. It is likely to be needed if the property is, for example, of unusual construction, is dilapidated or has been extensively altered - or where a major conversion or renovation is planned. It is usually tailored to the client's individual requirements. A building survey is more comprehensive than a homebuyer report and includes extensive technical information on construction and materials as well as details of the whole range of defects, major to minor.
A valuation is only provided as an extra, by agreement.