06 April 2023

What is the difference between a house survey and a mortgage valuation?

Do you know the difference between a house survey and a mortgage valuation? Read more to discover what each includes and who they benefit.


In a nutshell, a house survey provides an account of the property’s condition and benefits the home buyer whereas a mortgage valuation only provides an estimate of the property’s value and benefits the mortgage lenders. Keep reading to find out more.

Is a house valuation the same as a house survey?

There is a widespread misconception that when it comes to purchasing a property, if a valuation has been carried out, the house survey becomes redundant. You will be forgiven to think that, as terms such as ‘mortgage survey’ are still erroneously part of every day’s jargon. Because of this lack of clarity, many home buyers rely solely on a property valuation when buying a house, as they believe it provides enough assurance about the condition of the property and choose not to instruct a survey. In reality a survey can uncover key information home buyers need to be aware of when making such a large investment.

However, it is important to understand the differences between a mortgage valuation and a house survey to fully acknowledge what each involves.

What is a mortgage valuation?

To put it simply, a mortgage valuation (often just called a valuation) is solely designed for the mortgage lender’s benefit. The aim of a valuation is to reassure the mortgage lender that the property is worth the amount they are lending the buyer to purchase it. A valuation is always carried out before a mortgage is approved. Although the valuer will briefly consider the property condition, the valuation will focus on the location, size, characteristics, and features of the house. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that often a valuation is carried out remotely, without a physical inspection.

What is a house survey?

A house survey is an inspection of a property’s health condition conducted by surveying experts. The surveyor will inspect the property and compile a report for the home buyer. The report will outline any issues with the condition of the property, from minor issues such as blocked gutters to significant structural problems, such as subsidence. The house survey also highlights what repairs are needed or which issues need to be reviewed by experts, whether it’s addressing damp or investigating the potential presence of asbestos. The report from the surveyor also provides expert commentary on the property, ranging from the type of construction to the suitability of the existing glazing.

How long does a valuation take?

A valuation can be conducted remotely and digitally, but in some cases the valuer needs to visit the property to provide an accurate assessment value. Depending on the valuation method the delivery timeframe will change significantly. Sometimes a valuation could be done and returned to the lender in minutes.

How long does a survey take?

A survey, which as we discussed requires the surveyor to visit the property, takes much longer. The specific time it takes will vary according to the type of survey, but a standard level 2 survey (such as our Digital Home Survey or the RICS Home Survey Level 2) usually requires a two-hours visit, therefore will take at least a few hours to complete.

Remember: the valuation is not designed for the benefit of a buyer. Defects that are not a concern for the lender may well be a concern for the buyer.