What are valuations and surveys?

There are essentially three types of surveys to be considered, the building survey (previously known as a structural survey), the Homebuyer Survey, and the basic Valuation. If you are unsure as to the most appropriate survey for you, please feel free to call or email us for further advice.

Building Survey

A building survey (previously known as a structural survey) is a comprehensive inspection suitable for all properties but especially recommended for listed buildings, those built before 1900. It is also a good to get a building survey on any building constructed in an unusual way; properties you are planning to renovate or alter in any way, or properties which have already had extensive alterations.

At Surveying Devon & Cornwall, we carry out a detailed examination of all accessible parts of a property and tailor it to suit your individual needs and concerns. We come back to you with experienced advice on all major and minor faults, what the implications are and the possible cost of repairs. We'll also include recommendations for any further specialist inspections.

It is important t let you know that a building survey does not include a valuation. Of course, we can provide you with a separate valuation report if you need one.

If you are not going to have a lender’s valuation you may also need to obtain a rebuild valuation for insurance purposes. Surveying Devon and Cornwall can also provided this service within the remit of a building survey if required. Please mention this to our staff when you ask for a quotation.

RICS Homebuyer Report

The RICS HomeBuyer Survey includes an inspection, a report and a valuation.

The RICS HomeBuyer report is a standard format, and is different to a building survey in three main ways. It is designed for particular types of home. These are houses, bungalows and flats that are of a traditional type and construction; and are apparently in reasonable condition. It identifies what the surveyor considers to be the most important issues.

By applying condition ratings to elements of the building, the services and any garages and permanent outbuildings, the surveyor will tell you whether defects are serious or urgent. It also includes the surveyor's opinion of the market value and reinstatement cost (which you will need for insurance purposes). It focuses on matters that, in the surveyor's opinion, may affect the value of the property if they are not dealt with.

If you would like to download a sample report please click here.


A valuation is an inspection carried out on behalf of your mortgage lender to determine the amount and terms of a mortgage offer. Your mortgage lender will probably ask you to pay for the valuation and will send you a copy of the report.

A valuation is not a survey. It's a limited inspection to identify problems that affect the security of your mortgage lender's loan. A property can have defects that are critical to a prospective buyer, but are not of concern to the mortgage lender and therefore won't appear in a valuation report. That's why you should not just rely on the information provided by a valuation when deciding whether or not to purchase a property.

More Information

Feel free to read the RICS publication Choosing Between Surveys which explains the various types of surveys that are available to see what is appropriate for the type of house you are buying.

There are essentially three types of surveys to be considered. The Building Survey (previously known as a structural survey), the Homebuyer Survey, and the Basic Valuation

Building Survey

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Homebuyer Survey

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Basic Valuation

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The Importance of getting a survey

Home buyers are often confused about their lender's valuation. Many still believe their valuation is a survey and is being done for their benefit. Independent research by RICS found that on average homebuyers spent £5,750 on unforeseen repairs when they moved into their new home. The vast majority will have relied on the lender's valuation only. For more information you are invited to view the attached short video produced by RICS.