House Surveys – What are the Options? | NatWest

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House surveys

What are the options

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The different types of house surveys

If you're in the process of buying your dream home, you'll soon come to realise that mortgages and surveys go hand in hand. Mortgage lenders love a good survey, but the various different types can cause confusion.

Here, we explain the purpose of the various different types of mortgage surveys, and why they're important:

Mortgage Valuation

The main survey that you'll hear mentioned when you're about to become a homeowner is the all-important mortgage valuation. The funny thing is, it's not really a survey at all, even though people often refer to it as one. The true purpose of a mortgage valuation is to satisfy your potential lender that the property you want to buy is worth the amount you're prepared to splash out. The lender will appoint someone to take a cursory look at the property to assess its value – but don't mistake it for a comprehensive picture of the home's condition.


A mortgage valuation won't point out the finer detail about structural problems or maintenance work the property needs, although the surveyor might make a note about any major works that affect the value of the building. Typically, the cost of a mortgage valuation is based on the size of the property and can be anything from £150 – to over £1,500. If the property is valued below your offer price, you can go back to the seller or estate agent, and offer a lower price based on the lender's valuation. Another option is to dispute the valuation by providing evidence, if possible, of similar properties in the area selling for the same price or higher.

Condition Report

Whereas a mortgage valuation is chiefly for the benefit of the lender, a Condition Report is optional but something every buyer should consider for their own peace of mind. It provides an objective overview of the condition of the house, but not in granular detail, and typically costs £100 – £250.


Homebuyer Report

When you're buying a new house, it's easy to overlook hidden problems such as structural defects, shabby brickwork or a broken down boiler. Research has revealed many first time buyers set themselves up for unforeseen repair bills, so it can pay to shell out for a full Homebuyer Report before you put in an offer.


It's more detailed than a Condition Report with information about how much problems could cost to fix further down the line. It can be carried out at the same time as the Mortgage Valuation, usually costing in the range of £250 – £400.

Building Survey

A comprehensive Building Survey is the ideal choice for the discerning home buyer, providing a fully detailed report about the condition of the property and the land that it sits on. This type of survey is especially useful for older buildings, larger houses and non-traditional properties – or if you are planning taking out any major renovation work yourself after completion.


Although a Building Survey typically costs around £1,000 (depending on property size of course), the surveyor will give you a complete breakdown of the condition and fabric of the property, with repair diagnosis and expert maintenance advice. It may sound expensive, but remember, repairs can costs thousands upon thousands to put right, so a Building Survey may save you a small fortune in the long run.

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