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 the home owner defaults 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.   Remember to obtain written quotations on the cost of a survey.

To find a Chartered Surveyor in your area visit:

http://www.ricsfirms.com/

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Buying a house in winter

If you are buying a house in winter which is vacant there are a few extra items which need to be checked, particularly if the water has been turned off.

If you are buying a house in winter and it is occupied then the chances are that it is being heated (at least in part) and the service installations are being used.  But if you are buying a house in winter which is vacant there are a few extra items which need to be checked, particularly if the water has been turned off and the heating system drained down.  

If the water has been turned off you will not be able to check the water pressure, working order of the fittings, watertightness of pipework or be able to check whether the drains are flowing freely.  Ask the selling agent to arrange for the vendor to turn the water on so that these items can be checked by specialists before you agree to purchase the property.  

When the water is turned on, arrange for a heating contractor (contact a Gas Safe Registered contractor if the heating is gas) to inspect and test the heating and hot water system.  Have its age and condition checked and make sure the boiler is a sufficient size to adequately heat the property.  

If the house is damp, check whether this is simply condensation due to the house not being adequately heated and ventilated, or whether there is rising dampness or penetrating dampness.  If there is rising dampness or penetrating dampness find out the specific cause/s of the dampness and deal with the defect/s.  Some replastering may be required if plasterwork has been affected by salts.  See also Buying a 1930s House.   Consider instructing a Chartered Surveyor to report on any dampness and/or condensation issues.  This can be checked as part of a detailed house survey.  Visit RICS Find A Surveyor to find a surveyor in your area. 

Check whether and drains or gullies have become blocked by leaves.  Check whether gutters need clearing to avoid overflowing and/or rain penetration which may lead to dampness internally and staining externally.  

See also Selling a house in winter.

 

 

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Choosing replacement windows: things to consider

When choosing replacement windows there are many options to consider but don’t overlook important issues relating to Building Regulations, Planning, fire safety, means of escape and management of condensation.

Plastic or wood?  Fixed or opening?  Side hung or top hung?  Or even traditional sliding sash? When choosing replacement windows these are only some of the options to consider.  But there are important issues relating to Building Regulations, Planning, fire safety, means of escape and management of condensation which can easily be overlooked.

When choosing replacement windows:

  1. Check the installer is FENSA registered and obtain a FENSA Certificate to confirm compliance with Building Regulations. Keep a copy to pass to your buyer in the event that you sell the property.
  2. Consider matching the existing style, especially if only some of the windows are to be replaced.
  3. Try to choose a style which will maintain the character of the building.  This is particularly important for older properties. Think about the position of opening casements, and whether they should be top hung or side hung.  
  4. Have handles which can be locked in an ajar position.  This will aid security particularly at ground floor level, and and will make it safe to leave windows open slightly overnight. 
  5. Have trickle vents fitted into the frames to aid ventilation, reduce condensation and mould. The small additional cost will help comfort within the home.  
  6. Ensure that windows can be opened sufficiently and are of sufficient size to allow escape in the event of a fire.  This is particularly important for windows to upper rooms.  
  7. For flats, check the terms of the lease. In some instances windows will be the responsibility of the individual flat owners and in others they will be the responsibility of the Management Company.  
  8. For flats in blocks constructed with cavity walls, ensure the required cavity barriers/fire stopping remain in place to ensure the safety of residents within the block.

So when choosing replacement windows, don’t simply make your choice by appearance alone. Your final choice may be a compromise after considering all relevant issues.

buying and selling a house

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