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Understanding Surveys & Mortgage Valuations

Surveys are a routine part of the home buying process.

This is something that falls on the buyer although the negative consequences of which can directly affect the seller.

The Home Owners Alliance (HOA) have provided a very helpful guide about surveys including how to get the most from them.

To begin with, the HOA define a property survey and then a mortgage valuation. Knowing the differences is important so that you can understand the potential ramifications.

Property Survey

In summary, a property survey is a detailed inspection of a property’s condition, undertaken by a qualified surveyor. They will inform you if:

  • there are structural problems eg. unstable walls or subsidence

  • any major repairs or alterations are needed eg. fixing the roof or chimney

The report they produce also provides expert commentary on the property, from the type of wall construction to the type of glazing.

The HOA recommend the use of a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (RICS) qualified surveyor because they carry professional indemnity insurance.

Mortgage valuation

A mortgage valuation is a cursory look at a property to assess how much the property is worth. Banks require this to ensure the property is sufficient security for the mortgage that the buyer wants to take out.

Do I Need to Obtain a Survey?

No a property survey is optional for buyers. However, the buyer can help avoid expensive and unwanted surprises, like an unexpected rewiring job as well as giving the buyer peace of mind by having a survey done.

Based on the surveyors report you may decide to:

  • continue with the sale unchallenged

  • continue with the sale but challenge some of the findings highlighted in the surveyor's report and require that the seller addresses these as part of completing the sale (your solicitor can include these conditions in the terms of sale)

  • seek to reduce the sale price to cover the cost of you arranging the repairs

  • not proceed with the sale (clearly, this has many implications including potentially loosing any money you've spent so far as well as the time you've invested in getting this far)

What Does this Mean for You as the Seller?

Surveys are commissioned by the buyer so in essence you have two choices:

  • cross your fingers and hope that the surveyor won't find any material issues when they undertake the survey - not an approach we'd recommend

  • tackle any repairs or maintenance jobs before you put your property for sale or at least have these carried out before the surveyor visits and at the very worst, advise your estate agent when these are being dealt with so they can be upfront with your buyers.

Our advice is to not delay tackling those repairs or addressing those maintenance jobs because they can delay or stop a sale going ahead.

Getting Your Property Ready to Sell

Take the initiative early to address head on any repairs or maintenance that are needed as part of getting your property fully ready for sale. You will reap the benefits because this will be one less hurdle to overcome.

Not only is it important to address the obvious repairs and maintenance, it's also important to present your property at its best so that it attracts as many potential buyers as possible. This is where we come in ...

How sort style and stage can help

Whatever the size, shape or value of your home or investment property, we can maximise its appeal to your target market. We do this by:

1. Understanding your target market and your competition

2. Identifying and tackling head on any red flags that would otherwise put off your target market, either when the buyer visits your property or as part of the survey

3. We then focus on maximising your property's appeal to your target market, in and out with our well proven staging methodology. We have a range of home staging, virtual and property staging services - all tailored to your specific needs.

Professionally staged properties sell for more, typically 8% and sell more quickly, typically up to 3 times faster than a non-staged property. This is evidenced by the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland.

If you professionally stage your home or investment, you'll be that step closer to securing a sale or let.

If you want to sell or rent for more, call us now on

+44 7984 005 626 for a no-obligation discussion

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