A property valuation is not a home survey

March 2022

What's the difference between a digital home survey report and a home valuation?

As the UK’s leading provider of residential home valuation and surveying services, e.surv surfs a pretty high media wave.

We actively seek out opportunities to inform and educate the home-buying public, addressing their concerns, dispelling some of the common misconceptions, and explaining the roles of each party in the purchase process when it comes to digital home survey reports and home valuations.

But if there is one misunderstanding we deal with daily, it’s that perpetually held view that a valuer has arrived to conduct a survey when in reality, he/she is there to carry out a mortgage valuation.

A valuation is not a survey. Conducted on behalf of mortgage lenders (bank or building society), a valuation is a non-structural inspection designed to advise lenders whether or not a property is suitable for a mortgage, based on a pre-defined set of criteria.

Mortgage lenders have different lending criteria. Some will be comfortable lending larger amounts on a variety of property types. Other lenders will be more risk-averse with far stricter criteria.

Like all valuation providers, e.surv is obliged to follow a lender’s guidelines and criteria. We deal in facts and it’s up to lenders to interpret those facts. Most lenders don’t disclose the content of a valuation report to a mortgage applicant. Instead, they marry our findings with their lending criteria and if the conditions are met, the mortgage application is approved. If not, the application is declined.

It’s not a personal decision. Just as you wouldn’t place your money in a bank you felt was unsafe, so banks and building societies won’t take unnecessary risks with theirs.

The fact is, only a comprehensive, structural residential survey report is designed to highlight the defects in the property you’re thinking of buying.

For the protection of everyone in the process, we welcome the opportunity to work with mortgage brokers, financial advisers, lenders, industry bodies, peer groups and the media to drive a greater understanding of this long-held surveying myth.