Q&A; What is a basic valuation for mortgage purposes and what other types of survey are there?
Author: Andy Bedford » Publish Date: 26 August 2010
Most house purchase mortgages and many remortgage products will include a fee charged for a ‘basic valuation’.
This valuation is not for your benefit; it does not protect you against a property defect or if work is required, such as damp treatment or for subsidence.
You are paying for some form of valuation to satisfy the lender that the property is suitable as security and estimate its value. The surveyor owes no duty of care to you as the buyer, even though you pay for it.
Many borrowers believe that this ‘basic valuation’ is suitable evidence that the property is in a good state of repair; many have found out in court, to their dismay, that this is not the case.
Some valuations will not even involve entering the property; it may just be a ‘drive-by viewing’ or even performed on an AVM or ‘auto valuation model’. The latter is just a computerised average.
Many lenders will offer either a ‘home buyer report’ or a ‘full structural survey’ as an upgrade to a basic valuation. These survey types do offer you some legal protection and do entitle you to a duty of care from the surveyor in question.
A home buyer report is intended to identify mainly major problems and structural defects with less detail; a full structural survey should be thorough and identify any serious issues in more detail.
Although, both types of report would not usually involve invasive testing or inspection of concealed areas.
If you are buying a property and you want to know that it is structurally sound, do not rely on a basic valuation to protect you; unfortunately, it will not.