Given the sums of money involved in buying a property, it is vital to know its true condition before proceeding with the transaction.
Did you know that a quarter of all home buyers who fail to have a survey are forced to make unplanned building works to their property after purchase?
A thorough survey will reveal any defects within the property.
The consensus of opinion is that you cannot rely soley upon the mortgage valuation report, as this will not reveal all problems or repairs needed to the property, it will simply confirm that the property is worth what the lender is loaning:
"A change in the rules means that, as from May 2011, roof void inspections are no longer required to be carried out by bank & building society valuers."
- Source: the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) practice manual (The Red Book), as agreed with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), and the Building Societies Association (BSA).
This means that, when you have a mortgage valuation carried out, up to 25% of the property you want to buy may not have been inspected.
So such matters as leaking roof coverings, woodworm, rotten timbers, sub-standard roof frame, missing fire walls, may not be brought to your attention.
Without such knowledge, you could be paying too much for the property, as the agreed price would not reflect such defects.
Yet another reason for obtaining your own independent survey.
"It's a scary fact that nearly 80% of buyers don't check that their property is safe or what work needs doing"
"Don't rely on the mortgage valuation report...it merely confirms to the lender that the property is worth at least what they are loaning to you - it is not their responsibility to point out any repairs that need doing".
"The [mortgage] valuation is not an extensive survey and will not necessarily identify all the repairs or maintenance that might be needed. For a full picture, you should consider having a complete building survey or a mid range home - buyer's type report carried out"Source: Council of Mortgage Lenders (The House Buying Process - Valuing the Property)
"A lenders valuation isn't a survey. It's a limited check on the property that your mortgage lender carries out to ensure it's worth the money they're lending to you."
"There may be problems in the property that would cost you a huge amount to put right - and they won't appear in the valuation report. This is why it's really important you have a survey."
"Remember that this is a valuation for mortgage purposes and not a survey. You should consider appointing your own surveyor to carry out a survey on the property."Source: The Law Society - "Buying a Home - Survey Advice"(Law Society)