The valuer should obtain legitimate access to the property to enable a physical inspection in accordance with industry standards and assignment requirements. This is usually by permission of the owner if the property is owner occupied or vacant. If the property is subject to a tenancy then the physical inspection is at the convenience of the tenant as he/she has the right of quiet enjoyment. It is usually left to the owner or property manager to arrange a suitable inspection time with the. tenant. On no account should the valuer inspect on his own volition as this may jeopardize the status of the tenancy.

The physical identification of the property is usually by way of address but should be checked against known features from the plan or map. For example, if it is a corner site. Very occasionally the address is incorrect.

Measurements, notes, and verifications of the physical aspects of the land, buildings, plant and equipment, and/or improvements are in accordance with the local authority's and government's requirements, regulations, and the relevant industry standards.


A plan is an accurate and formal document usually prepared by a surveyor or survey draftsman. If plans are available of the house they should be incorporated in the report and thus making it easier to measure the building or the site.

See sketch - urban



The court case Ker v Allan & Sons (1949) (UK) 11 The Valuer 199 was concerned with the necessity or not of the valuer discovering dry rot in a house. It was held that the possibility of dry rot was a thing that should always be in the mind of the valuer and that he/she should look for any evidence that might, to his/her skilled mind suggest dry rot. However, in such circumstances and in the absence of suspicious circumstances it was not necessary for him/her to lift carpets or linoleum and to go underneath floor and make a detailed examination of every hidden corner of the building.

In Grove v Jackman (1950) Estate Gazette, 4 March 1950 the valuer reported that the property was "soundly constructed on good modern principles of building". Floors and joists were subsequently found to be in an advanced state of dry rot, the damp proof course was of poor quality, the air brick ventilators were useless and there were other structural defects. Lord Goddard held that he was satisfied that there were indications in the house that should have warned a careful and competent valuer of the possible presence of dry rot. That being so, he should have arranged or advised the plaintiff to arrange, for floorboards to be lifted and a more thorough examination made.


It was found in Phillips v Ward [1956] 1 All ER 874:

That a reasonable and competent surveyor after making a careful examination of the residence... would have discovered, as was the fact, that the roof had reached the end of its life and required complete reconstruction, using the old timbers and tiles where they were still able to fulfil their original function; that the condition of the wall plate and exposed joists in the cellar was such that a complete renewal of most of the joists was a virtual certainty; that the main timbers of the house were infected with death watch beetle and required examination and treatment and renewal or repair where necessary. (877)

Both the Official Referee and Court of Appeal held that the failure to notice these defects and report them to the plaintiff in assessing the value of the property constituted negligence on the part of the defendants.

A photograph should be taken of at least the front of the premises. This is often at the direction of the client and mortgage lenders. Some lenders require 5 different photos of the property. A colour photo should be taken as it conveys much more information that a black and white photo.


The proper taking, keeping and storage of field notes is most important particularly if litigation should occur over the valuation. The courts and opposing counsel are only concerned with your field notes. Each valuer has his/her own particular field note system but a typical system records the identifiers, physical description and an inventory of inclusions on one side and the building sketch on the reverse side.

Calculations and a list of sales are also often recorded on the reverse side.

It is often necessary to use codes and abbreviations to fit a reasonable description of the property on an A4 page. There are no valuation standards for abbreviations, but it is recommended that those used by real estate agents in real estate advertisements be used.

The attributes of the property are ascertained by way of physical inspection of the property but many can also be checked by other sources. This may include a previous valuation carried out by the valuer. A useful verification, if the property is on the market or has just been sold, are advertisements and sale brochures published by the agent.

An advantage of the sales brochure is that it emphasises those features that the agent and owner consider to be important and therefore, most likely by the market.

Field notes, transcripts, photographs, and other evidence (eg sale brochures or house plans) gathered through the inspection process are securely filed and retained by the valuer in accordance with his/her company's requirements and industry standards. Professional indemnity insurers and lending bodies may also have their own requirements on record keeping.

See inspection urban questions