Valuations and surveys…… how not to make a big mistake when buying!


It’s super rare for someone to buy a house they shouldn’t have (based on condition). Funnily enough though, it’s incredibly common for someone to NOT buy a house they really should have and would have if they had interpreted the information they have to hand in an accurate way.

What covers what, plain English

A valuation is helpful for one thing…. telling the bank if they should lend you money on the property. That’s it. Zero help for you as a buyer. Anything that is on that report, such as a retention, retainer etc. etc. is worth noting, but as likely nothing as it is something serious.

There are varying levels of a survey you can have done, but basically, these surveys are designed to advise/inform you if the condition of the house is alright or not.
The 5 biggest mistakes I see are:

Hiring a cheap surveyor to do a homebuyers report. This is definitely the number 1 cause of buyers problems. You’ll get a copy and paste report covering the surveyor from you suing them, but no actual advice and the report will make you think the house is falling down. For me, this is a waste of time at being helpful. Doubly bad is when people see these reports as being thorough and hire them again for the next property! Then don’t buy that perfectly good house either.

Not doing enough due diligence. Explore possible problems. Get an expert in, don’t throw your money away by assuming a highlighted problem is definitely a problem. More often than not, it’s not a problem. You’ll find there are very few people offering you solutions when moving home.

The number two issue I see is those taking bad advice from people that have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about but think they do. These people, in all walks of life, are super dangerous.

Expectation. Let’s say a survey report says XYZ about your 1930’s house. Sounds terrible! But what if every single 1930’s house in the local area was built in exactly the same way. You’d probably interpret the problem a little differently, right? Imagine the shock on a home-buyers face when they learn this after pulling out of buying their dream home…. it happens!

Bad communication. Had a buyer try and pull out of a purchase over something the owner had all the answers for. Was fine once I’d got to the bottom of it, but the buyer would have thrown away circa £1000 over it.

In summary

If in doubt, do more research, learn a bit more. We recently had a buyer pull out of buying a property over condition from a mortgage valuation.

The next logical step was to have what they were worried about checked out. I’d have bet it was nothing. A huge waste of time, money and stress suffered by all involved.