Survey or mortgage valuation - what's the difference?

When you’re buying a new home you want to be confident that the price you’re paying represents good value. A mortgage valuation report is based on a very limited inspection of the property, or sometimes no inspection at all, and is only intended to provide basic valuation advice to the lender. So, you may be given get an idea of the valuer’s opinion of the property's market value, but you won't get enough information to make an informed decision about your purchase.

A survey will provide much more information on the property, particularly focusing on the overall condition of the structure and fittings, which can heavily impact the long- term costs of living there.

Surveys come in a range of formats and offer different levels of investigation and advice. It’s important that you understand the different options available so that you get the right service to meet your needs.

It is important to consider which property survey is right for you and the property you are purchasing. The level and type of inspection you choose will determine how quickly you receive the survey, how much support you can expect from your surveyor, how intrusive the survey is and the level of detail in your report.

The type of survey you need depends largely on the property you are looking to purchase. If you are purchasing a house built after 1880, of standard construction and in good condition, Digital Home Survey or the standard RICS level 2 survey would be a perfect match. However, if the house you are purchasing was built before than 1880, is in bad condition, has been significantly altered or has more than 4 bedrooms, then you would need the level 3 – building survey.