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What is a Valuation Survey?

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
6th April 2018 (Last updated on Thursday 28th November 2019)

A Valuation, or Mortgage Valuation, is one of the most basic types of property survey available. It will give you an accurate idea of the value of the property you’re interested in along with any obvious damage. This survey is as much for your mortgage provider as it is for you and it's also the cheaper option.

When you buy a home, you will want to make sure you're getting a fair deal. This will offer you peace of mind that you aren’t paying over the odds for a property. It will also allow you to get a mortgage and effectively fund your new purchase. Without a reliable valuation, it’s possible that your new purchase is based on a false price which could cause all sorts of issues for you and the mortgage provider.

In this guide, we’ll look specifically at what a Valuation Survey is, what type of property it can be used for and what it covers. We will also cover associated costs, how long it will take and when you will receive the report. Finally, we’ll compare a property valuation to a number of other options including a Homebuyers Survey and Full Structural Survey.

Although Compare My Move doesn't specifically offer Valuation Surveys, it's still important to compare surveyors before making a final decision. We do offer the more common and detailed Homebuyers Survey as an option, which often includes a valuation within the report.

This article will cover the following points

What is a Valuation Survey? Valuation Surveys and Mortgages What Does a Mortgage Surveyor Look For? How Much Does a Property Valuation Cost? How Long Does A Valuation Survey Take? What Does the Valuation Report Look Like? Comparing the Different Types of Survey Save on Your Valuation

What is a Valuation Survey?

A Valuation Survey, also known as a Mortgage Valuation, is a basic property survey that can be used on any type of property. This is unlike the other survey options as the properties they are conducted on often depend on the age, structure or condition of the building. A valuation gives an indication of the value of the property and so it can be widely applied to all property types.

If you’re planning on using a mortgage to purchase a property, then you’ll be required to conduct a Valuation Survey as part of the agreement with the mortgage lender to determine the property’s true value. The inspection will highlight any obvious issues but will not go into any thorough detail about the issues raised or how to repair them. The Valuation Survey must be conducted by a RICS chartered surveyor who will often be instructed by your mortgage lender.

The only occasion where a standard valuation may not be suitable is where the building has some sort of cultural or historical importance. In these rare cases, you may need to seek specialist help from a surveyor who understands these nuances.

Valuation Surveys and Mortgages

Getting a Valuation Survey is a vital part of getting a mortgage. As the name suggests, the Home Valuation Survey provides you with a valuation of your property or a property on which you would like to make an offer. This is important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, knowing the value of the property will allow you to understand whether what you have offered or what you plan on offering is a fair and reasonable price. It’s also almost always required when making an application for a mortgage that a valuation is made in order for it to be successful.

In some cases, your valuation may cause issues with the overall purchase of a property. Take for example, that you have had an offer accepted on a new home for £300k. However, when your valuation survey is undertaken it comes in at £250k. This is common as you will often need to pay ‘over the odds’ in highly competitive markets. 

However, in most cases, a mortgage provider will only pay 80-90% of a property’s total value, meaning that they will only pay out £200k to £225k towards the house. This will lead to the buyer having to find a £100k to £75k deposit based on this valuation, as opposed to £60k to £30k if the property was valued at the original £300k offered.

In these cases, the valuation survey may be used to renegotiate the accepted price of the property. However, in very competitive markets this may not always be an option.

What Does a Mortgage Surveyor Look For?

A Mortgage Valuation is one of the most basic forms of the property survey. The report is not as detailed as the other survey types available, simply providing you with an overall valuation of the property and any obvious defects that could affect the price. It will not highlight any hidden problems which is why a Homebuyers Survey is often recommended. You can even ask for a valuation alongside the Homebuyers Report, ensuring you get more for your money.

Your mortgage lender will contact a surveyor of their choice to inspect the property. The valuation will be based on the surveyor's knowledge of comparable prices concerning the local area and other research. The mortgage surveyor will only note down any obvious defects or damage that will affect the property’s price. Unlike the other survey types, you will not be advised on any maintenance or repair work needed. The condition of the property is observed and visible issues like damp, electrical problems and obvious structural damage are highlighted. As it's not as thorough as other inspections, the report is usually only 2-3 pages long. 

The main things the surveyor may look for includes:

  • a brief inspection of the property's overall condition
  • obvious signs of damp, structural damage, faulty wiring, roof damage etc. 
  • if the building has been modernised or refurbished
  • whether the number of bedrooms declared is accurate 
  • how it compares to other houses in the local area

How Much Does a Property Valuation Cost?

A Valuation Survey will usually cost around £300-400 for an average house priced between £100,000 and £249,000. As the Valuation Survey isn’t anywhere near as thorough and detailed as the other types, it’s a fair amount cheaper than them. However, taking into consideration the fact that this type of survey is a very basic review of the building and only gives details specifically on the condition, then it can be considered as rather expensive for what you get.

Price of PropertyAvg. Cost of Valuation Survey
£50,000 - £99,000£275
£100,000 - £249,000£300-£400
£250,000 - £349,000£450
£350,000 - £450,000£525
£550,000 - £650,000£650


Data from TSB

The cost of a survey depends widely on the provider as well as the location and size of the property. Although on some occasions, your mortgage provider will include a valuation survey as part of the deal, it’s likely that you will need to pay for this and your mortgage provider will make suggestions as to their preferred provider of the survey. 

Some mortgage lenders have, however, started to offer free valuations. Research by Moneyfacts discovered that, in the past year, the number of residential mortgage deals offering a free or refunded valuation has risen over 15%. This may be tempting to accept, but a Homebuyers Survey would still be a better option as it's a more comprehensive survey, saving you money in the long-run. 

To give an indication of potential costs, providers usually cost between £150 - £300 for a valuation. Some specific quotes on what a typical home valuation might cost include:

If your mortgage provider does not make recommendations on which chartered surveyor to work with, or if you choose to look elsewhere in order to get a better price, it’s important to make sure that the provider is accredited by RICS. RICS set the standards for surveyors and offers peace of mind that the individual surveying your house is both knowledgeable and will be accepted by your bank.

How Long Does A Mortgage Valuation Survey Take?

A Mortgage Valuation Survey will take between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the property. You should then receive the report within 2 to 3 working days unless you have to specifically request to view it first. Let's take a look at the timings associated with a mortgage valuation. 

Here is a basic timeline for how long a mortgage valuation takes to be booked and completed:

Booking the survey

Although it’s possible to undertake a survey on a building at any point (with the current owner’s permission), it’s most likely that you’ll be undertaking a Valuation Survey after you’ve had an offer accepted on a house. This is due to the requirements set out by your mortgage provider that a valuation must be undertaken before they can finalise the mortgage agreement.

Once you've submitted a mortgage application, your lender will most likely want to underwrite the financial position of the case before organising the valuation. The length it takes for a mortgage valuation to be instructed depends on your specific lender. Keep in mind that the time it takes will often increase during busy periods and so it could take up to 5-7 working days for the valuation to even be organised. This may even be doubled if the surveyor themselves are also busy.  

You will need to take into consideration the fact that the current owner or tenant could still be occupying the property. It’s key to maintain a good line of communication with both the seller and the surveyor in order to organise a suitable time for the survey to be undertaken.

Good communication with the surveyor will allow you to be aware of what they require access to and if there are any concerns they have so that you can help remedy them in time. However, due to the basic nature of the survey, it’s unlikely that any special effort will need to be made. 

On the day

Unlike a Homebuyers Survey or Full Structural Survey, both of which will certainly take a number of hours or even a full day to complete, the Valuation Survey is likely to take a much shorter amount of time. This is based on the fact that they are not looking specifically at any issues or concerns of the building, but are instead looking at its general condition and location in regards to its overall value.

As an average, a Mortgage Valuation Survey is likely to take 20-30 minutes for smaller houses and up to an hour for larger homes.

When will you receive the report?

The average time it takes for the lender to receive the report is 2 working days. However, the report will be queued and so it could take another full working week until it's seen. As the valuation report is much shorter and more concise than other surveys, it will take a much shorter amount of time to put together. Which is why it usually only takes a couple of days. 

Once your mortgage provider has received the report, they will be able to either confirm that your mortgage has been agreed or determine whether there are any concerns over the overall value. It usually takes 5-10 working days after the valuation is conducted to receive an offer or have the mortgage confirmed. 

What Does the Valuation Report Look Like?

As a very basic report, the Valuation Survey is easy to read with a very simple layout. In most cases, the information will clearly state the estimated value and will easily be identified.

What's in the report?

The report is likely to be sent as an email, although in some cases it may be received as a printed letter. The report will highlight pieces of information like the estimated value of the property and any potential stress or clear defects. For example, the property may be valued at £300,000, but due to clear damage to the property, this would negatively impact the value leading it to be worth £270,000.

How do you read the report?

As we have mentioned previously, the report is very easy and simple to read. This is due to the fact that it’s a very simple inspection and not very detailed in its results. Due to this, there are no systems such as the traffic light system that are used in the more detailed reports.

If you are having any issues reading the report, you can always ask your mortgage provider to help you go over it. This is within their interest too as it will help them better explain the mortgage plan they are offering to you.

Comparing Valuation, Homebuyers and Building Surveys

A Mortgage Valuation may be all you choose to opt for when buying a home. However, as it goes into very little depth around the actual condition of the building and any potential concerns about ongoing maintenance that may be required, it may be worth considering other options available to you.

In the table below we explore some of the pros and cons of the three main types of survey available to home buyers; Homebuyer Survey, Building Survey or Valuation Survey.

Valuation SurveyHomebuyers SurveyBuilding Survey

Who does it benefit?

Mortgage lender

You

You

What property type is it for?

New build properties or a property you’re looking to obtain a mortgage for 

Any type of property that isn't of high risk or over 50 years old

Properties over 50 years old or that are unusually constructed   

Completed by a qualified surveyor

Valuation included

×

Includes a clear traffic light rating

×

×

Looks at the condition of the property

Allows you to be fully informed on the property’s condition

×

Identifies potential problems 

×

Offers professional repair recommendations

×

Highlights defects and urgent issues

×

Helps buyers negotiate a better price 

Includes information for your conveyancer 

×


For further reading, check out our detailed guides on both the Homebuyers Report and Full Structural Survey, so you're fully informed about the survey you need. If you're looking to buy a new build property, check out our guide on the ever-dependable Snagging List too. If you're moving to or within Scotland, you'll want to take a look at our guide on the Home Report as there a few differences between this and the other survey types.

Save on Your Valuation

We hope this guide has made you fully informed on all aspects of your Valuation Survey and that you're now ready to make your choice. For some more helpful reading, check out our guide on common issues highlighted by property surveys, so you know what to expect in advance. 

When you're ready, remember to use Compare My Move to compare and save on your surveying costs. We've partnered up with the best RICS accredited surveyors to save you money when it matters most. Just fill in a quick and easy form to compare surveyors and save yourself both time and money.