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Valuation FAQs

Some of the following FAQs relate to surveyor attended valuations only and will not apply where we use an Automated Valuation Model (AVM).

General Questions

Do we lend on any property?

No. We require experienced RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) qualified surveyors to consider all the factors that may affect the suitability of a property to be mortgaged and whether or not it is readily saleable. Factors may include property construction, type, location, uses and environmental issues. Each case will be assessed on its own merits.

Some property types such as houseboats, mobile homes and timeshares are specifically excluded.

Do we lend on houses or flats/maisonettes made from precast reinforced concrete (PRC) that have been designated defective under the 1985 housing act?

Generally not, unless the property has been repaired to a scheme that is approved by us. Flats/maisonettes which are designated defective PRC type are not acceptable.

Do we lend on PRC properties that have been repaired but have no repair certificate?

No. However, we will accept a 'retrospective repair certificate' confirming the repair has been undertaken to the standards laid down in the PRC Homes Repair Scheme or those accepted by us. The certificate must be in a format with wording required by us and prepared by a suitably qualified, experienced professional.

Do we lend on non-traditionally constructed properties?

Yes, subject to inspection and design. Each case is considered on its own merits.

How big does the property have to be for a mortgage?

Our general policy is to consider very property on its individual merits. We do not impose any size restrictions and no property is rejected solely on the grounds of size. A property must however meet the minimum criteria of being habitable, readily saleable and structurally sound.

The property is situated above a shop/commercial property, is it suitable for a mortgage?

There are no specific restrictions although some commercial uses may have a detrimental effect on saleability and every case is viewed on its own merits. The following guidance may be helpful:

  • Any residential security must have a suitable access, which must not be through a business premises.
  • Caution must be exercised where the title of the residential property has been separated from a larger title that includes commercial activity, particularly when this has been done specifically for the purpose of the proposed mortgage. This can sometimes lead to an unusual residential property that may suit the proposed applicants but would be more difficult to sell on the open market. The residential security must meet the general principles regarding saleability.
  • The property must be self contained, with its own private facilities and separate services.

Do we lend on high rise flats?

Every case is viewed on its own merits, subject to construction and saleability. Certain types e.g. large panel systems (LPS) have specific requirements.

Do we lend on properties with short leases?

For leasehold properties to be acceptable, there must be a minimum of 70 years unexpired on the term of the lease at the time of the mortgage application.

Do we lend on houses or flats with solar panels/photo voltaic cells?

We will not usually lend on blocks of leasehold flats where photo voltaic cells have been fitted, but there are some exceptions. Houses with leased solar panels are acceptable for lending providing the agreed lease is acceptable to us. This will be confirmed through the conveyancer or by checking our approved list. The valuer must be satisfied that the photo voltaic cells or solar panels have no impact on the structural integrity of the property and will be taken in to account when assessing value and saleability.

Scottish Properties

In Scotland would a flat above shops (commercial subject) be classed as suitable security for mortgage purposes?

Yes, subject to inspection, each on its own merits and subjective assessment against lending criteria, comments and valuation.

In Scotland would a timber/ metal clad house be acceptable?

Yes, subject to inspection, each on its own merits and subjective assessment against lending criteria, comments and valuation.

In Scotland is a retype on a new build or initial occupancy property permitted?


In Scotland would a retype from a home report on a Buy to Let mortgage be permitted, if there is rental valuation on the original Generic Mortgage Valuation Report/ Home Report?

No. Following changes introduced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Scotland) in early 2016, best practice advice is now that a rental valuation should not be provided in the Generic Mortgage Valuation Report attached to the Home Report.

Do we lend on Scottish Islands?

Yes, in the main although this is subject to demand and saleability.

Would a retpye for refinancing or remortgage purposes be accepted in Scotland?


Do we accept a retype from any Home Report?

The Home Report must have been completed by an approved Firm on our Panel with the appropriate postcode authorisation. The report must have the correct property address and the inspection date must be no more than 12 weeks from the date of the original report. All will be subject to inspection, subjective assessment against lending criteria and suitability.

Do we accept a retype from a privately commissioned valuation report (regardless of level) in Scotland?


Valuation Reports & Surveys

Can my clients appeal the valuation?

Yes they can, please view our appeals process for more information.

How long does it take for the valuation inspection to be carried out?

These are for guidance purposes only and depending on other factors such as property type and size they may vary. For a Level 1 Valuation it will take approximately 30-40 minutes. A Level 2 Survey and Valuation will take approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Where can I find information on your valuation fees?

Details of our valuation fees can be found here.

Will the surveyor need access to the property?

If the valuation is a Level 1 Valuation or Level 2 Survey and Valuation then access will be required to the property and arrangements will be made directly with the occupier or agent.

Do you offer level 3 Building Surveys?

No. Your client can find a surveyor to complete this for them, we do not offer Building Surveys.

Why are some instructions panelled?

E.surv are our surveyor of choice and wherever possible will carry out the valuation instruction. However where e.surv do not have coverage or to ensure we meet the needs of your clients, the instruction may be panelled to a member of e.surv's Valuation Panel who are administered by e.surv.

Both e.surv and the valuation panel follow the same lender guidance provided by us and are audited on a regular basis.

Why does my client need to sign the Terms of Engagement documentation you have sent them?

Terms of Engagement are issued in order to reflect accurately the scope of the service to be provided so that your client is in a position to fully understand what service the firm is providing to them. As such, a report cannot be released to them until the Terms of Engagement have been read, signed and returned by the client.

Does my client need to provide the surveyor with any paperwork when they visit the property?

No, the surveyor will have all the information they need.

Does my client need to be present?

No, as long as there is a person over the age of 18 that can let the surveyor in. Alternatively the surveyor can collect the key from a neighbour or estate agent for example.

Will the surveyor need access to the loft?

For Level 1 Valuation inspections access is generally not needed, although there may be occasions when the surveyor will want to have access to complete their investigations. Access will always be required for the Level 2 Survey.

Is a copy of the Valuation Report sent to the solicitor?

E.surv surveyors are unable to release valuation reports directly to solicitors. If your client requires a copy by post, fax or email then they must request it directly from e.surv. Please be aware that we cannot send reports to solicitors or any other third party at your client's request. We can only issue the report directly to your client.

Can I discuss an existing case with e.surv if I am not named on the application?

E.surv are only able to discuss valuation instructions with an applicant named on the case. The named applicant can authorise us to discuss the case with another party by calling and setting up a specific agreed security password.

Does the Valuation Report contain an insurance or rebuild valuation figure?

No, an insurance figure is generally not provided on the report. Your client can obtain an insurance figure independently by visiting the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website. The ABI website has a residential rebuilding cost calculator. Your client will be required to register with the website but can then log in and obtain a rebuilding/insurance figure for free.

What kind of comparable research on properties is used by the surveyor?

Our reports are provided in accordance with the RICS Valuation - Professional Standards. When preparing reports, valuers compare evidence of recent sales in order to provide an opinion of value at a specific point in time. Ideally comparables include properties within the immediate locality offering similar accommodation and style to that of the subject property. However, comparable evidence need not be identical and it is sometimes the case that no direct comparable evidence is available. In such cases the valuer will use their experience to adjust for any variances in matters such as size, condition and specific location or geographical appeal. Valuers consider a wide range of comparable evidence and their research is thorough.

Details of properties currently on the market and valuations provided by estate agents do not relate to realised sale values. Also, estate agent marketing appraisals are prepared for a different purpose than mortgage valuation or survey reports. Such information cannot be considered in lieu of comparable sales evidence.

My client has received an encrypted mail from e.surv, how do they open it?

All emails containing sensitive and confidential information are sent using the Symantec secure email encryption service. The initial email will contain a link which takes your client to the Symantec service so they can register as a new user, including creating their own password. Symantec is not compatible with mobile devices therefore a desktop or laptop computer will be required to open the email.

Will my client be charged a fee if the valuation is cancelled?

A fee is not charged if the surveyor does not either visit the property or accept the instruction.

If the surveyor visits the property and finds it unsuitable they will complete a Level 1 Property Risk Assessment and confirm that they cannot give a valuation figure. They will point out that the property is unsuitable for lending and provide the reason. The valuation fee is payable in these circumstances.

Will you report on the property's condition?

Level 1 Valuations are based on a limited inspection of the property highlighting only those items that are deemed to have a material impact on value. It is prepared in order for us to make an assessment of our loan to your client. It is not a survey of condition and is not designed to list individual property defects. It should not be relied on for their buying decision.

Level 2 Survey and Valuations report on specific condition matters and other issues to the extent outlined in the individual Terms of Engagement which could affect a decision to buy. We base our lending decisions on the valuation aspects only.

Why might my client need a specialist report?

Occasionally serious or potentially serious defects are found. The surveyor may not be able to provide a valuation without further investigation so a Specialist Report is requested. Serious defects warranting further investigation may include dry rot, structural movement, trees and drains but this is not an exhaustive list.

For the use of mortgage intermediaries & other professionals only

If you do not have professional experience, you should not rely on the information contained on this site. If you are a professional and you reproduce any part of the information contained on this site, to be used with or to advise private clients, you must ensure it conforms to the Financial Conduct Authority's advising and selling rules.

These pages are for the use of those people who are resident and ordinarily resident in the UK and should not be regarded as an offer or invitation to sell Mortgage products in any jurisdiction other than the UK.

Birmingham Midshires is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered office; The Mound, Edinburgh, EH1 1YZ

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register number 169628. Telephone number 0345 850 5000. Telephone calls may be monitored or recorded.

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