A Valuation Survey is usually commissioned by the buyer or the buyer’s mortgage provider, prior to exchange of contracts to purchase a property.
If you need a mortgage, the mortgage provider will require an independent valuation of the property known as a Home Buyers Report. This report must written by a qualified Chartered Surveyor, usually appointed to a ‘panel’ of approved valuers by the lender. If you do not need a mortgage, there is no requirement upon you to have a valuation but, given the sums involved, a valuation survey of some sort undertaken by a qualified independent third party would be prudent.
The Homebuyer’s Report is paid for by you, the borrower, but it is usually solely for the benefit of the mortgage provider. The lender will have certain minimum requirements in terms of Loan to Value Ratio and the report will confirm that the property is of sufficient value to meet these criteria. The report may not necessarily value the property at the purchase price.
It’s important to know that a Homebuyer’s Report is a basic valuation of the property and whilst it must be undertaken by a suitably qualified Chartered Surveyor, it is not a Full Structural Survey. When purchasing an older property it may therefore be worthwhile commissioning your own more detailed valuation survey (ideally undertaken by the same ‘panel valuer’ at the same time as the inspection for the valuation) or a full structural report. You should also make sure that this report is acceptable to the lender and may also be relied upon by you, the purchaser. Clarify this before the valuation/survey is requested.