Buying & Selling

Independent SURVEYS AND determinations of Market Value

Thinking of buying or selling a property?


A property valuation tells you how much your property or asset is worth if you were to buy (acquire) or sell (dispose) it on the market as of a defined valuation date. The process itself is typically very straightforward for residential and commercial properties. You can do this through a qualified Chartered Surveyor (who is also an RICS Registered Valuer).

If you are thinking of buying (acquiring) or selling (disposing) a property and would like a Market Valuation or Survey report , Websters Surveyors are here to help.



Before deciding whether you want a valuation or a survey, it's important to consider what you're buying and what your justification is. We can talk through your options and make sure the service you're paying for is the right one for you.

A Survey in simple terms is a health check for the property. Like with any health check, you should only pay for what you need. There are three types of Survey that you can consider. The HomeBuyer report also comes with the optional extra of providing a valuation. The entry level type is a Condition report, the mid range type is a HomeBuyer report (with the optional extra of also providing a Valuation) and the most detailed is a Building Survey. 

Will a mortgage valuation be sufficient?

 A mortgage valuation is normally an extremely basic estimate of the value of a property. It is not a Survey so is not a health check on the the property. Though the buyer will pay for it, it is commissioned by the mortgage lender for their benefit, not the buyers. 

As it is not a Survey, it will not provide an independent account of property condition or highlight any potential concerns. If you are having a mortgage valuation carried out, you may consider getting a Survey done as well to highlight any potential concerns and perhaps give you something to aid negotiations for the purchase.

What is a ‘Red Book’ Valuation? 

The RICS Valuation – Global Standards 2017 (the ‘Red Book’) is the gold standard of valuation reporting by Chartered Surveyors.

A ‘Red Book’ valuation report provides a professional estimation on how much the property would achieve on the open market at the date that of the report.

Our reports comply with the Red Book.

What factors are considered to determine the Value?

Factors affecting value may include the property type, location, specification, condition/defects, vendor’s objectives and/or likely purchaser plus external factors such as the availability of credit (i.e. mortgage and market sentiment).

A ‘Red Book’ valuation report will consider the condition of the property but investigations are limited. We will report on the comparable evidence and provide you with a report that may assist when considering a price to pay.


Condition Survey (Level 1)

This is the lowest grade of our RICS reports. It will provide a basic description of the condition of the property, identifying any apparent risks and legal issues. Though it does describe any defects, it does not provide advice on the defects and ongoing maintenance.

It is typically suitable for conventional properties and newer homes where the risk of defects is by comparision, relatively low. 

Some of our clients choose to add a Valuation figure to the Survey as well to identify the right price to pay and sometimes use it as a negotiating tool.

HomeBuyers Survey (Level 2)

By far, our most popular Survey type. This provides all of the information of the Condition Survey and also provides advice on any identified defects and ongoing maintenance.

Some of our clients choose to add a Valuation figure to the Survey as well to identify the right price to pay and sometimes use it as a negotiating tool.

Building Survey (Level 3)

This is the gold standard of Surveys. It goes into far more detail than either a Condition Survey or a HomeBuyers Survey. 

Building Surveys are commonly used for very large or old properties, where the risks of defects are far greater. Similarly where a buyer is considering undertaking major works to a property, this type of Survey can be very helpful.

Red Book Valuation Report

The RICS Valuation - Global Standards 2017, including the UK National Supplement is known as the 'Red Book.' Whilst a Building Survey is the gold standard of Surveys, a Red Book Report is the gold standard for Valuations. 

Our Valuation reports are not meant as Surveys so provide little more than a cursory description of any defects identified. However, the detail considered in reaching an opinion of Market Value is greater, due to compliance with the Red Book. 

This type of report is often considered when our clients have no concerns over potential defects but have the primary concern of identifying the Market Value. 


How do Auctions work?

Auction houses usually advertise their catalogues around a month in advance of the properties being offered at auction. During the short time frame between the catalogue being published and the auction date, the properties can be viewed at set times, often in block viewings with many other people.

The successful bidder enters into a contract to purchase the property as soon as the hammer comes down. At this point, they are normally required to pay a 10% deposit.

The seller is only required to sell the property once a bid meets or exceeds a Reserve Price which is a hidden minimum amount that they are willing to accept, which would have been made clear to the auctioneer prior to the auction.


‘Red Book’ Market Valuations for Auction Purpose

It would be very useful to gain this professional opinion prior to an auction to put you in the best possible position to estimate how much you should bid on a property.

Likewise, if you are selling a property at auction, it would be equally valuable to have a ‘Red Book’ Market Valuation for best guidance on what to fix your Reserve Price at.


What about the legal risks associated with buying at auction?

Auction catalogue entries will normally have legal packs with them. These will be documents which your solicitor can examine and advise you on prior to your deciding whether the make an offer or not.

The risks associated with buying at auction aren’t for everyone but they can be mitigated through preparing well and taking professional advice.

Because the risks aren’t for everyone, bargains can often be picked up at auction. If you are considering buying at auction, you should always consider what professional advice to gain before. It may be that if you choose not to buy somewhere or are outbid, that you waste the money spent on advice. However, if you buy without advice, you risk being stung by far more.

If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. Or be very very lucky!


At Websters our Chartered Surveyors (who are also RICS registered valuers) have the necessary knowledge and expertise to carry out surveys across London and the South East.

We endeavour to provide valuation advice in compliance with the RICS Valuation – Global Standards, also referred to as the RICS ‘Red Book’. This document sets out the gold standard for undertaking valuations through a quality assured process, so you can have confidence that consistency, objectivity, transparency and a high standard of service is maintained.

Feel free to get in touch to chat through your options

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