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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a mortgage valuation?

The mortgage valuation is a brief report on a property for the Lender’s purposes only, to advise of the value and any characteristics which might affect its value as security for the proposed loan.

How long will the appointment take?

This will vary depending on the type and size of the property and any pre-inspection preparation carried out by the Surveyor. On average, our Surveyors are likely to be on site 20 -40 minutes. However, for very small properties like studio flats the time on site may be less and for larger houses may be more.

What will the Surveyor need to see?

The Surveyor may need to see the full extent of the property which could include loft spaces and cellars although there are exceptions to this. Sometimes fixed cupboards/wardrobes that conceal walls may need to be opened although no furniture would be moved. 

Surveyors will usually want to know what outbuildings or garages you have and in many cases will want to check these internally. Where your property has a substantial plot, it may not be practical to see the full extent of your estate and the valuer will discuss this with you when they arrive.


Measurement of the size of the building is needed for houses and bungalows and overall internal measurements of flats; we typically do not rely on measurements from other sources. Measurements are used to aid the valuation process and to inform the lender.

Will the Surveyor need to take photographs?

Yes. Most Lenders and SDL require their Surveyors to take 5 photographs – front and rear of the property, a street scene, and kitchen and bathroom. Most Surveyors would also take a garden photo but if necessary, some other photos may be taken as a photographic record. Any representation to personal information will be dealt with in line with data protection law.

What will the Surveyor ask me?

Surveyors will often ask the person providing access some questions where the information we hold might be incomplete or incorrect. This can include, but is not restricted to:

  • Confirming we have the correct address and postcode
  • Confirming we have the correct purchase price or estimated value
  • Confirming where an estimated value (for re-mortgage) was derived
  • Asking about the marketing of the property (if a sale). For example, how long was the property on the market for, what was the asking price
  • Confirming the current rent and estimated rent (buy to let cases)
  • Confirming the type of tenancy (buy to let cases)
  • Asking how long you have lived in the property and what you originally paid
  • Property age
  • Property alterations and consents
  • Lease length, ground rent and service charges

Do not worry if you don’t know all these things when asked.

Will the Surveyor confirm the valuation or details in the report?

In most instances the work to determine the valuation will not be completed until after the inspection. The report is for our Lender client only and we are unable to discuss the report or likely valuation figure.Whilst we are not permitted to provide copies of the reports we produce to customers after our visit, some Lenders will disclose the Valuation reports, but most do not, as these reports are of limited scope and focus on factors important to lending. In contrast, a Homescore, Homebuyer or Building Survey report is designed with buyers in mind, and we cannot disclose information regarding these reports to anyone other than our client.

What else does the Surveyor have to do after they leave the property?

After the inspection, the Surveyor will have to finalise their site notes and then source and analyse recent comparable property sales in the local area to decide on the valuation. They may also need to refer to the Lenders policy before they prepare the report.

When will the Lender receive the report?

Most Mortgage Valuation reports will be submitted to the Lender electronically within 24 hours, but occasionally additional information is required that delays this process. We do try to provide the Lender with the report as promptly as possible.



SDL Surveyors can undertake a range of home surveys including Homescore Condition type Reports, RICS Homebuyer Reports and Building Surveys. These are reports for a Buyer of a property and not a Mortgage Lender. The Surveyor will need to carry out a longer more in-depth inspection of the property. When the appointment is booked we will indicate if a Survey is being completed.

How Much Does a Property Survey Cost?

The cost of a property survey will vary based on the type of survey you require & the price of the property that the survey is to be conducted on. Homescore reports (also known as condition reports) are the cheapest available survey, whilst HomeBuyer reports & building surveys are respectively more costly but also contain increasingly more detail. 

Take a look at our summary comparison table outlining how much each type of property survey costs.

What is the Difference Between a Home Report & a Survey?

The main thing to remember is that a Homescore report (condition report) or a HomeBuyer report are both forms of a property surveys in themselves. They each respectively provide more details about a property’s condition but are low to mid range property surveys, presenting information to the customer using rating systems that are simple to understand.

In comparison, a building survey is the most comprehensive type of property survey available on the market and goes into much more detail about a property’s condition, it’s defects & what actions can be taken in order to prevent further costly issues from occurring in the future.

Our comparison table summarises the differences between house surveys.

What is a Homescore Report?

Homescore is a Level 1 survey aimed at providing a concise report on the condition of the property with no technical jargon. No valuation is included within this report. Inspection time usually vary from 45 minutes to over 1 hour depending on the size and type of the property.  This report is typically returned to the buyer with 1-2 working days.

What is a Homebuyer Report?

The RICS Homebuyer is a Level 2 survey suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition. A valuation is included within this report. General advice on repairs and maintenance is highlighted. Inspection time usually would vary from 1 to 3 hours depending on the size and type of the property. This report would normally be provided to the buyer with 3-5 working days.

What is a RICS Building Survey Report?

A Building Survey report is a Level 3 report and a far more detailed and bespoke product which can be prepared for any property, regardless of construction, condition or age. It gives specific advice on repairs and maintenance, likely cause of problems and approximate costing for works. Site inspection time usually varies from 3 – 6 hours depending on the size and type of the property. This report is usually returned to the buyer with 5-7 working days. This report does not include a valuation.


General Questions

What Is A Property Surveyor’s Dress Code?

The modern property surveyor has moved away from the stereotypical three-piece suit; which is impractical for possibly climbing in loft spaces or entering potentially dirty areas like cellars or outbuildings. surveyors are however expected to wear smart casual clothing.

Will A Surveyor Keep Their Shoes On When Conducting A Property Survey?

 surveyors are unlikely to remove their shoes during inspections due to the potential health and safety risk policy.

What Level Of Access To A Property Does A Surveyor Need?

Ideally, Surveyor like to meet property owners during there inspections as they are best able to answer any questions you may  have. However, Surveyor can meet tenants or agents if this is more convenient. Subject to prior agreement, surveyors may also be able to collect keys from an agent, returning these in person or by recorded post. If there is an alarm to the property can you please make sure the Surveyor is aware of this prior to attendance.

Will Pets Affect My Property Survey?

If you have any pets in the property please let the Surveyor know before visiting . Surveyors would usually appreciate if there placed in a separate room whilst they conduct the inspection so they do not cause any unnecessary distress to them.

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property renting faqs

I need to find a place to rent. What do I do first?

Before you start searching for your new home it’s a good idea to write down a budget. What are your current outgoings and what money do you have left each month to spend on rent? Take into account that, when you first move in, you will need to front a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent and a refundable holding deposit.

I've found a place I want to rent. Now what?

If you haven’t already, make sure you go and view the property. If it’s a house-share, meet all the people you’ll be moving in with. The letting agent will ask you to sign a Tenancy Fee Declaration form which lists the services they will provide and the Permitted Payments expected from you, in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The agent will then begin the referencing process to ensure you’re in a position to rent the property.

Why do I need to be referenced?

The landlord needs to be sure that that their tenant won’t have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of their property.

What does referencing involve?

Referencing is nothing to worry about. Tenants applying to rent need to give details of their employer and income, their previous address, and some bank account details. These will be checked to ensure they are able to commit to monthly rental payments.

Do I need to show ID?

As part of the referencing process we need to be sure a tenant is who they say they are. We will require a proof of residency (such as a utility or council tax bill from the last 3 months) and proof of ID (such as a passport or driving licence).

What if there are problems with my reference?

In some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are students without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. This is not uncommon, and there are still options for tenants in this position. They could pay the rent for the full term up front, or seek out a guarantor.

What is a guarantor?


If a tenant is not fully approved by the referencing process, they can ask a guarantor to support them. A guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to. Guarantors are required to pay any rent arrears (if the tenant does not pay) and for any damages costing more than the deposit.

What does a guarantor need to do?


A guarantor needs to go through the same referencing process as a tenant. The normal requirement is that they are employed and a UK resident, with sufficient earnings to cover the tenant’s rental commitment.

Why does my guarantor have to guarantee all tenants?


In the case of a house-share, the tenancy agreement makes all tenants jointly responsible for all rents and responsibilities. There is no individual ‘share’ of the rent written into the agreement. The guarantor therefore has the same responsibility.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

The landlord trusts the tenant to keep the property in a good condition and in good order. The deposit is held to ensure that any damages (over and above fair wear and tear) can be corrected at the end of the tenancy.

What will happen to my deposit?

Landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Your Move landlords register their deposits with a scheme such as My Deposits. The deposit is then either held by the landlord, the agent or the deposit scheme itself. You should receive details of the scheme, explaining where the deposit is held.

What does a Tenancy Deposit Scheme do?

A Tenancy Deposit Scheme like My Deposits will protect the money for you and can offer assistance should there be a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract signed by both the tenant and the landlord. It outlines all the rules to which both parties must comply.

What is a routine visit?

Your landlord or letting agent will regularly schedule visits to the property. They want to make sure that the property is being looked after and maintained in a good condition, and they’ll be looking for any maintenance issues.

Who is responsible for repairs?

The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property in a good state of repair. They will either take care of this directly, or do so via a letting agent – make sure you know who to go to when there’s a fault at the beginning of the tenancy. Check your 'Welcome letter' to find out what service level your landlord has. If it is Tenant Find or Rent Collect, then you will need to talk to your landlord directly. It it is Fully Managed then the agent will help. If you do damage to the property you a

Can I decorate or make changes to the property?

In most cases, a tenant can only decorate or make changes to the property with the express permission of the landlord. We recommend receiving this permission in writing.

What if I accidentally cause damage to the property?

Don’t worry – accidents happen. Tell whoever is responsible for the property maintenance (either the landlord or letting agent) as soon as possible. You will be expected to cover the cost of putting it right. Don’t try to ignore or hide damage because it could get worse, and it will only come out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy.

What if the landlord isn't keeping to their side of the agreement?

If a tenant believes the landlord is not keeping to their side of the agreement – for instance, not maintaining the property in a fit state of repair – then the first thing the tenant should do is speak to their letting agent. The letting agent has a duty of care to the tenant, and may be able to help to resolve issues depending on the service type the landlord has with the agent. Look at your 'Welcome letter' to find out the service level of your landlord. Alternatively, a tenant can find independent advice from The Citizens Advice Bureau.

When can my landlord enter the property?

A landlord has to give the tenant notice before entering the property, unless it’s an emergency.

What if I can't pay my rent?

It is always your responsibility to pay the rent, but circumstances change. What happens if you become unemployed or are unable to work due to sickness? The most important thing is not to let arrears pile up until they’re unmanageable. Speak to your landlord or letting agent and see if you can reschedule your payments. And don’t forget, you can get insured against sickness and unemployment to keep yourself protected. Click here to find out more.