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Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Valuation and an RICS Home Survey


Buying a home is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, and it’s a decision that comes with a multitude of considerations. One of the most crucial aspects of the home-buying process is understanding the condition and value of the property you’re interested in. This is where two important assessments come into play: the mortgage valuation and the RICS Home Survey. While both serve the purpose of assessing a property, they have distinct differences and fulfil different needs for both buyers and lenders.


Mortgage Valuation

A mortgage valuation is a basic assessment conducted by a lender to ensure that the property provides adequate security for the loan they are providing. It is primarily for the benefit of the mortgage lender rather than the buyer. Here are some key points about mortgage valuations:

  1. Purpose: The main purpose of a mortgage valuation is to determine whether the property’s value is sufficient to cover the loan amount. Lenders want to ensure that the property is worth at least the amount they are lending to minimise their risk.

  2. Scope: Mortgage valuations are usually basic and cursory. They typically involve a brief inspection of the property to identify any obvious defects or issues that might affect its value.

  3. Report: The lender receives a report outlining the property’s estimated value and highlighting any significant issues that might affect its security as collateral for the loan.

  4. Cost: The cost of a mortgage valuation is often covered by the buyer but is ultimately for the benefit of the lender. It's usually a relatively low-cost assessment compared to more comprehensive surveys.


RICS Home Survey

On the other hand, an RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Home Survey is a more detailed inspection conducted by a qualified surveyor. Unlike a mortgage valuation, which is primarily for the lender's benefit, an RICS Home Survey is for the buyer's benefit. Here’s what you need to know about RICS Home Surveys:

  1. Purpose: The main purpose of an RICS Home Survey is to provide the buyer with a comprehensive assessment of the property’s condition. It helps buyers make informed decisions about the purchase and understand any potential issues or defects.

  2. Scope: RICS Home Surveys come in different levels (Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3), each offering varying degrees of detail and comprehensiveness. These surveys involve a thorough inspection of the property, identifying visible defects and potential problems.

  3. Report: The surveyor provides a detailed report outlining their findings, including information on the property’s condition, any defects identified, and recommendations for further action. This report helps buyers understand the true condition of the property and any associated risks.

  4. Cost: The cost of an RICS Home Survey varies depending on the level of survey chosen and attributes such as the size, location, condition and age of the property. While it is an additional expense for the buyer, it can potentially save money in the long run by identifying issues that may require costly repairs.


Key Differences

  • Purpose: Mortgage valuations are primarily for the benefit of the lender, ensuring the property provides adequate security for the loan, whereas RICS Home Surveys are for the buyer's benefit, providing a detailed assessment of the property's condition.

  • Scope: Mortgage valuations are basic and cursory, focusing on the property's value and any obvious defects, while RICS Home Surveys are more comprehensive, offering a detailed inspection of the property’s condition and identifying any potential issues.

  • Cost: Mortgage valuations are typically low-cost and may be covered by the buyer, while RICS Home Surveys are more expensive but provide greater value by offering detailed information about the property’s condition and any associated risks.


In summary, while both a mortgage valuation and an RICS Home Survey involve an assessment of a property, they serve different purposes and offer different levels of detail. While a mortgage valuation is necessary for securing a loan, an RICS Home Survey is essential for buyers who want a comprehensive understanding of the property they are purchasing. Investing in an RICS Home Survey can provide peace of mind and help buyers make informed decisions about their property purchase.


Nuven Surveyors operate across the South of England providing RICS Home Surveys, RICS Valuations, Damp Surveys, Thermal Imaging Surveys and New Build Snagging Surveys. We are here to guide you through the survey process and ensure that your dream home does not become a nightmare. Our surveyors are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and with that comes the experience and knowledge to provide you with an in-depth report. Our focus is on customer communication and local knowledge - each surveyor only operates within a small area from their base, allowing them to spend more time on each instruction to ensure they can offer our customers the best possible service.

Visit our website to learn more about the services we have to offer.




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