Buying a home is much more different from buying a pair of shoes.

You don’t just show up with cash and pay right away. Instead, you want to be sure that you’re paying a justified price that reflects the true worth of the property. That’s why you need a building survey or a homebuyer’s report despite your lender’s basic valuation.

Most potential homebuyers don’t realize that valuation is not the same thing as a survey. If you would like to uncover what lies beneath the surface of that beautiful and shiny home, you’ll need more than just your mortgage lender’s valuation.

Differences Between Bank Valuation & Building Survey

It’s not uncommon to see people mistaking these two terms for each other despite the distinct differences. A bank valuation is different from a full building survey, and most of these differences are outlined on the RICS Website.

That said; we’ll still discuss some of these core differences here.

What Is Bank Valuation?

The bank or your mortgage lender carries out a valuation to determine whether the property you intend to buy is valuable enough for them to lend their money against. Its purpose is strictly for the benefit of the lender and not for you, the buyer.

Valuation is straightforward to conduct. It can be done remotely with simple internet tools or by a valuer visiting the property. It doesn’t take much time and can be done under just fifteen minutes. As a buyer, you can’t rely on your bank valuation since the process can overlook faults and other issues that may be of interest to you.


What Is A Survey?

Unlike valuation, which is just a cursory inspection, a survey is a more advanced health-check carried out on the property to uncover potential issues and the actual condition of the property.

The survey is done with the interest of the buyer at heart. It will ensure you do not overpay for the property and help you uncover issues that may put you in a better position to negotiate or to walk away.


There are two types of surveys;

Depending on what you want, you can either get a homebuyers’ survey or a full structural survey, at varying costs. While a homebuyers’ report would cover the structural condition and other details, a full structural survey, on the other hand provides full information on the construction, walling, joinery, roof coverings, rainwater fittings, drainage, damp proof, flooring, ceilings, timbers, electrics, decorations, plumbing and heating, and other things you may want the surveyor to look at.


Bank Valuation Vs Survey

Here are some of the significant differences between a valuation and a survey;


Done for the lender.Done for the buyer’s interest.
May overlook certain problem issues.Will highlight potential issues that may become problematic later.
These are cursory inspections that can be done under fifteen minutes.These are more thorough and so the process usually takes longer to finish
Done to ascertain property valueOffers detailed report of the condition and issues that may affect the value


Do you really need a survey?

A professional surveyor can help you conduct a full building survey or at least the homebuyer survey. While this means additional costs, it’s almost always a good investment.

First, surveying will help you understand the actual condition of the home beyond the shiny and aesthetically appealing exterior and interior. Getting this done is essential for your comfort, safety, and peace of mind if you’ll be moving into the house.

Secondly, a survey can help you uncover major problem issues, so you don’t have to make costly repairs after moving in. This can help you negotiate better so you don’t overpay or move on if the issues are significant defects you can’t put up with.

Getting a survey done is also very important when you consider that a resale is possible in the future. If you don’t do it now to detect issues of concern, it may cost you later on if the prospective buyer chooses to conduct their survey.

Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new home or an old property.

Getting a survey will help you uncover issues lurking around that may not be picked up during valuation. It will help your negotiation or renegotiation and will give you peace of mind on your property. It may cost you a few hundred pounds, but it can save you thousands more, going forward.