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Valuations, surveys and Energy Performance Certificates

This content applies to England & Wales

Information about valuations, surveys and Energy Performance Certificates

Valuations and surveys

Lenders will insist that a qualified valuer checks the value of the property before they formally offer to make a loan. The valuers used by lenders are usually either directly employed by them or on a list approved by them. Valuations only assess the value of the property although they may highlight any major structural problems that would affect its value. Purchasers will have to pay for a structural survey if they want to have a more detailed check to find out whether the property is structurally sound and whether it has any major defects. Most lenders offer this service and usually offer three types of valuation/survey:

  • valuation only
  • valuation and home buyers' report - this should look for any visible structural faults and assess the general condition of the property
  • valuation and full structural survey - this should look for any major or minor defects in the property but will not be able to assess services like wiring, heating or plumbing. The surveyor may recommend that a specialist be brought in to look at these or any other defects s/he identifies such as dry rot or subsidence.

Purchasers do not have to have the structural survey offered by the lender. They may wish to employ an independent surveyor, although a separate valuation by someone approved of by the lender will also be necessary. This may make having an independent survey an expensive option.

Surveyors' liability 

The duty of care owed by a property valuer/surveyor to a mortgage lender to prepare a valuation/survey report with skill and care extends to the buyer of the property who relies on the report when deciding to proceed with the purchase, and cover economic loss.[1] This applies only when the transaction involves ordinary domestic householders purchasing their homes without requesting an independent survey; not to commercial transactions, such as buy-to-let, where it is reasonable to expect buyers to obtain their own independent advice.[2]

Energy Performance Certificates

Sellers are required to have obtained or commissioned an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before they put their home on the market.[3] The EPC records the energy efficiency of their home using A to G ratings, with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient. An EPC is valid for ten years. See the section on Energy performance certificates for further information about EPCs or visit the Direct.gov website.

[1] Smith v Eric S Bush (A Firm) [1990] UKHL 1.

[2] Scullion v Bank of Scotland Plc (t/a Colleys) [2011] EWCA Civ 693.

[3] Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 SI 2010/1456.

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