Residential Property Valuation

The aims, terms and conditions of a residential property valuation


There are several types of property valuation, used for different purposes. We thought it’d be useful to take a look at the general terms and conditions behind a residential property valuation, so you know the thinking that sits behind the valuation documentation we provide.

What are the aims of a residential property valuation?

A residential property valuation report lets the surveyor express their professional opinions on – and findings about – the value of a property. The surveyor always takes into account the specific purpose of the valuation, whether it’s to sell, to buy, to let, or for another reason altogether. It’s vital that the person relying on the valuation understands why the report has been written in the first place.

The valuation report will reveal the purpose of the valuation. This is supported by a letter the surveyor sends out to you, which officially confirms your survey instructions. If you don’t give a specific reason for the valuation, the surveyor will assume you want to know the market value of the property. If it’s something different, let them know at the start.

The market value is provided by a surveyor as laid out in the special definition provided by RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and their Appraisal and Valuation Standards:

The estimated amount for which a property should exchange on the date of valuation, between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s-length transaction after proper marketing wherein the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion”.

Your surveyor makes a limited visual inspection of the property, looking at everything that’s safely accessible from the boundaries of the site or from public or communal areas next door. This type of survey doesn’t cover the building itself or the services inside it. That’s the responsibility of a RICS Homebuyer Survey & Valuation (HSV) or an even more detailed Building Survey.

The surveyor takes measurements according to the RICS Code of Measuring Practice. If the dimensions came from a plan or other source, rather than being taken at the scene, we’ll make that clear in your report.

We also have to make certain assumptions on your behalf. We assume there hasn’t been any harmful or hazardous material used to construct the property, or added since the original was built. We assume there’s no contamination either in the ground or coming from it, and that the property isn’t built on landfill. We assume there are no ‘unusual or unreasonable’ restrictions or expenses affecting the place, and that no legal or statutory rights affect either the property or its value. We assume the property has planning permission and/or building regulation approval for the way it is being used at the time we inspect it. We assume there isn’t any Radon gas at the property.

If you’ve already had a Building Survey or have any other kind of report into the building’s condition you need to show it to your surveyor in case it impacts the value. If the report talks about repairs, it’s wise to get quotes for repair before committing to buy.

You need to inform our RICS Valuer if the title to the property is freehold or leasehold and if there are any tenants inside. If so, we need to know the terms of the agreement or lease, and we will rely on the information we’re given. It’s also important to tell us if you want your residential property valuation to bear in mind planning permissions given for extensions, new buildings and so on.

If you want a valuation because you want to buy the place, your solicitor is responsible for the Searches, finding out if the seller is actually the legal owner, and checking vital things like planning restrictions, planned developments, rights of way, architect certificates and more.

The report we provide meets the purpose we state it will, and it’s only for you to use. You can share it with your professional property advisers if you like but because we copyright it, you can’t legally copy it or pass it on to other people without our say-so.

One last thing. A report is so much better than any form of verbal advice. Verbal advice can lead to misunderstandings. You should never, for example, commit to buying a property until you have received, read, and fully understood the surveyor’s professional written report from cover to cover.

Are you ready to book a residential property valuation in London and beyond?

Our RICS qualified survey experts are waiting to hear from you. They’ll do a superb job of valuing properties on your behalf, for every imaginable reason.