Is a Mortgage Valuation the same as a Survey?

A mortgage valuation is not a survey. It is not intended to inform a buyer of the condition of the property.

Is a mortgage valuation the same as a survey?

Many buyers who have had a valuation carried out for their mortgage are under the impression they have had a survey.  Many buyers ask the question “is a mortgage valuation the same as a survey?”  A mortgage valuation is not a survey.  It is not intended to inform a buyer of the condition of the property and some lenders do not release a copy to the purchaser.  The valuation is arranged by the mortgage company and may be carried out either by an in-house valuer, or a valuer on their panel.  The purpose of the valuation is to confirm to the mortgage lender the value of the property in the event that you default on the mortgage payments the lender needs to know that the property offers sufficient security for the loan.

For an average 3 bedroomed house the mortgage valuer is likely to spend no more than 20 to 30 minutes carrying out the inspection.  The valuer will not normally get into the roof space (head and shoulders inspection only) and will not usually lift back edges of carpets, open windows, run water down the drains, etc.   Part of this time will be spent measuring the property in order to calculate the rebuilding cost therefore the inspection itself will not be detailed.

In comparison, a surveyor carrying out a survey on the same property is likely to spend around 3 hours carrying out the inspection, although the actual time will obviously vary from one property to another.  The surveyor will normally carry out a detailed inspection of the roof space (if safe access is available), lift edges of carpets (where possible) to check the construction of the floors, open windows, run water down the drains (where possible) in addition to inspecting other parts of the property.

 

What Types of Property Require a Survey?

All properties require a survey, whether new, old or newly refurbished.

A survey is not only necessary to check whether a property has any defects, other items may be identified in the course of a survey which require further investigation or specific enquiries to be made by your solicitor.  Questions may include:

  • If there have been any recent alterations to the property have these been carried out with Local Authority approvals?
  • Are there any issues with trespass such as overhanging gutters or trees?
  • Are there any asbestos containing materials (ACMs) within the property? These are not always obvious and may be in the form of textured coatings to ceilings and/or walls, floor tiles, etc.
  • Has adequate fire protection been provided between the house and any attached/integral garage?
  • Are there any flying and/or submerged freeholds? These may affect your buildings insurance.
  • If you are purchasing a flat do you know whether there is adequate fire protection and means of escape?
  • Are there any trees which may be within the zone of influence of the building?
  • Are there any known issues in the area, such as subsidence, pitch fibre drains, etc?

The survey can either be carried out by the valuer at the same time as the mortgage valuation or you can instruct a surveyor of your choice to carry this out separately.  You are able to instruct a surveyor who you think is most suited to carry out the task, this may be someone who is recommended by a friend, family, solicitor or anyone else.     You are NOT under any obligation to have the survey carried out by the valuer who carries out the mortgage valuation.  See also how much does a survey cost? 

To find a Chartered Surveyor in your area visit:

http://www.ricsfirms.com/


 

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Selling a house in winter

Many people choose to market their property in the Spring as they consider selling a house in winter may be more difficult.  Spring is a time when gardens can be seen as a pleasant and useful addition to a house rather than an uninteresting area which needs maintaining.   But sometimes circumstances dictate when a property is marketed, eg, where there is a deceased estate, and it may not be possible to avoid selling a house in winter.  And by marketing your house during winter you may find a buyer before the surge of properties comes onto the market in Spring.

Tips on selling a house in winter

  1. Keep the house warm. Setting the central heating for a longer period, ideally all day (even at a slightly lower temperature) is better than turning the heating on for short periods.  This helps to heat the walls, etc, rather than just the air within the house and gives a more comfortable temperature with less chance of condensation.
  2. Even when it is cold outside, remember to open windows regularly, particularly when cooking and after using the shower or bath. You may have viewings at short notice and what could be more off-putting than water running down windows?
  3. Clean any mould from windows and window frames.
  4. Clear any leaves from gullies to allow drainage of rainwater. Check that gutters are not holding leaves, moss, etc.
  5. Drain water from any outside taps and pipework to outside WCs.
  6. If there is a cold spell, put salt or grit on paths/drives so that potential purchasers can safely walk around external areas to view the property.
  7. Clear any moss/lichen from paths/steps so that they are not slippery.
  8. Set traps or poison to control pests such as mice, looking for a warm place to nest, particularly if the house is in a rural area.
  9. Clean windows regularly and open curtains and blinds fully to maximise light into the property. Where rooms are poorly lit, consider low level lighting or lamps for additional light.

If you are selling an empty house then:

  1. Turn off the water at the stop cock and drain down all services well before there is a risk of freezing. If there are any outside taps don’t forget to turn these on to drain any water from within the pipe/s.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, inform your buildings insurer that the house is empty.
  3. Consider putting some heat into the property. If the central heating has been drained down then heat could be provided by electric heaters, possibly on a timer, or set manually the day before any viewings.  The house doesn’t have to be warm enough to live in, just enough heat to take the chill out of the house.

And above all, check the house regularly and check for damage after any storms.  If you are not living at the property you will not have heard tiles crashing to the ground during high winds.  If you don’t live nearby, then ask the selling agent to make regular visits and make this a condition of your instructions.

See also preparing your house for viewings.

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Obtaining a valuation when selling a house bought under the Help to Buy Scheme

Obtaining a valuation when selling a house bought under the help to buy scheme.

When selling a house bought under the help to buy scheme (or repaying the loan in part or in full), Target HCA have specific requirements, one of which is to obtain a valuation.

The valuation must be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor (FRICS or MRICS), must be independent to an estate agent and must be someone who is not known to you.

The Valuer must inspect the property internally and externally.  It is likely that the Valuer will also have questions to ask you such as whether the property is freehold or leasehold, the extent of the plot, whether there are any garages or parking spaces outside the plot, whether there are any shared drives/access ways, etc.  The Valuer will also need to confirm the agreed purchase price.

The Valuer will research sales of comparable properties, making adjustments for any differences in size, location, changes in market conditions, etc.

The Valuer will prepare a report which will include a description of the property and its location.  It will also include brief details of at least three comparable properties in the area which have sold (or are under offer).  The report will set out the Valuer’s opinion on the value of the property based on the inspection and comparables.

Target HCA place a time limit of 3 months on the Valuation, therefore many homeowners choose to wait and instruct the Valuation when a sale has been agreed, rather than when the property is first offered for sale.  If the sale of the house does not complete within the 3 month period then a further valuation will need to be obtained.  Target HCA will accept a Desktop Valuation by the original Valuer provided certain criteria are met.

For further information visit     http://www.myfirsthome.org.uk/

To find a suitably qualified Chartered Surveyor who carries out valuations in your area visit   www.rics.org/uk

See also our home page for further information on buying and selling a house.

Source:  Target HCA Customer Information Pack

 

buying and selling a house

 

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How much does a survey cost?

How much does a survey cost?

As a rough guide, the cost of a survey for most properties will fall within the range of £300 to £1,200, depending on type of property, type of survey, level of detail, experience of the surveyor, geographical location, whether a valuation and insurance rebuilding cost are included, etc.  For larger properties the fee could be anything upwards of this figure.  If a firm is VAT registered then VAT will be added to the surveyor’s fee and so you should check whether the fee quoted is inclusive or exclusive of VAT.

A house survey cost will vary depending on a number of factors including:

  1. Size of property.  Clearly, a house with more rooms will take longer to inspect and this will affect the survey cost.
  2. Age of the property.  Many older properties have been the subject of alterations and improvements, some of which may be detrimental to the property.  Alterations give the surveyor more issues to consider during the course if the survey.
  3. Type of property, eg, house, flat, maisonette.
  4. Complexity of the property, eg, whether there are any extensions, whether any alterations have been carried out, whether there are any flying or submerged freeholds, etc. Typically, a surveyor carrying out a survey will ask the vendor about any alterations and other works which they have carried out.  However, some surveyors may simply report that a client ‘s solicitor should make enquiries on such matters.
  5. How detailed the report will be.  Survey reports vary considerably.   A surveyor who prepares a detailed report will clearly need to take more notes and photographs than a surveyor who merely reports “satisfactory” “in need of repair”, etc.

 

Survey with valuation and/or insurance rebuilding cost

A survey cost can vary if any additional services are required such as a valuation figure and/or insurance rebuilding cost. This will clearly affect the time input and therefore the cost of the report.

 

Survey cost when carried out by the mortgage valuer at the same time as the valuation

If you are taking out a mortgage then there may be an option to have a survey carried out at the same time as the mortgage valuation.  The mortgage lender will choose who carries out the valuation but remember that it is you, the buyer, who chooses who carries out the survey as this will be carried out on your behalf.  While this may be a cost effective way of having a survey, some purchasers prefer to have the survey carried out by a surveyor who has been recommended to them, eg, by family, friends or their solicitor.

 

Surveys on flats

Some purchasers are surprised at the cost of a survey on a flat.  Flats vary significantly.  A flat may be small, with, say, four rooms, but if it forms part of a large building then it is likely that the Surveyor will need to inspect the external parts of the block, or possibly other blocks on the site.  The terms of the lease must be checked before the survey is carried out, and all areas which the flat owner is either wholly or partly responsible for must be inspected.  This may include roof coverings, roof spaces, walls, drives, parking spaces, walls, etc.  In some cases a survey on a flat will take longer than a survey on a small house, and this is likely to be reflected in the price of the survey.

 

Obtain quotations

You can find names of Chartered Surveyors in your area by contacting the RICS Find a Surveyor facility on ://www.ricsfirms.com/

It is a good idea to forward the sales details for the property to a small number of Surveyors to obtain quotations.  When you obtain quotations for surveys, ask for sample reports so that you can compare the level of detail in addition to the price.  Also, ask who will be carrying out the survey and check that you are happy with their level of experience.  Remember that price is not the only factor in choosing a surveyor.

 

 

 

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Do I need a survey on a buy to let property?

Do I need a survey on a buy to let property?

In some ways it is even more important to have a survey on a buy to let property than one you plan to live in yourself.  If you live in a property yourself you will note whether any maintenance works need attending to.  If a property is let then you will be relying on the tenant to inform you if any works need attending to.  If you employ the services of a letting agent, while they may carry out periodic checks they may not be aware of repairs being required unless the tenant informs them.  Some tenants will bring any necessary repairs to your attention but others may not.  It is not a risk worth taking.

When instructing a surveyor to carry out a survey on a buy to let property it is a good idea to let them know that you plan to let the property rather than live there yourself.  This can then be considered during the inspection.

A survey should reveal whether anything needs attending to before a tenant moves into the property.  In most cases it will be necessary to carry out a test on the electrical installation and to service any gas appliances, such as boilers and gas fires.

The survey report will also let you know if there are any other potential hazards including:

  1. Dangerous wiring.
  2. Low level glazing and/or large panes of glass which are not safety glass.
  3. Large opening windows without opening restrictors.
  4. Windows to upper floors which do not allow escape or rescue in the event of a fire.
  5. Large gaps to balustrades.
  6. Lack of a handrail to staircases.
  7. Lack of smoke detectors.
  8. Infilled/capped chimneys or flues. A tenant must be aware that any disused chimneys/flues should not be used.
  9. Loose tiles.
  10. Inadequate fire door (or lack of a fire door) between the dwelling and any integral garage.

And finally, don’t forget to forward a copy of the report to your solicitor and to arrange buildings insurance.

 

buying and selling a house

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