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Guide to Australian Mortgage Valuation Types for Homebuyers

Understanding Different Mortgage Valuation Types: A Guide for Australian Homebuyers

When embarking on the journey of buying a home in Australia, understanding the ins and outs of mortgage valuations is crucial. These assessments help lenders determine the value of the property being purchased, affecting how much they are willing to lend. There are several types of mortgage valuations, including drive-by valuations, desktop valuations, and full appraisals. Each serves a unique purpose and is required under different circumstances. This article aims to demystify these mortgage valuation types, aiding buyers and working with mortgage brokers in Brisbane and across Australia.

What Is a Mortgage Valuation?

A mortgage valuation is an assessment carried out to determine the value of a property. This valuation is used by lenders to ensure the property is worth the loan amount being requested. It’s important to note that a mortgage valuation is for the lender’s benefit, not the buyer’s. For a more detailed analysis of the property’s condition, buyers may consider a building survey or a homebuyer report.

Types of Mortgage Valuations

The type of mortgage valuation required can vary based on the lender’s policy, the nature of the property, and the specifics of the mortgage application. Below are the most common types:

Drive-By Valuations

Drive-by valuations are exactly as they sound. In this method, a valuer does not enter the property but instead assesses it from the outside. This type of valuation is quicker and less expensive than more in-depth appraisals. Drive-by valuations are typically used in straightforward lending scenarios, where the risk to the lender is perceived to be low.

Desktop Valuations

A desktop valuation is conducted without the valuer visiting the property in person. Instead, they use online resources, such as property databases and listings, to estimate the property’s value. Desktop valuations are efficient and cost-effective, making them popular for refinancing and low-risk mortgage applications.

Full Appraisals

A full appraisal is the most comprehensive type of mortgage valuation. It involves a detailed inspection of the property’s interior and exterior, assessment of the property’s condition, and a review of local market conditions. Full appraisals provide the most accurate estimation of a property’s value but are also the most time-consuming and expensive. They are often required for higher-risk lending scenarios, such as when the borrower is seeking a high loan-to-value ratio or the property is unique.

When Each Valuation Type Is Required

Understanding when each type of valuation is required can help borrowers prepare for the mortgage application process. Here’s a general guide:

  • Drive-By Valuations: Used for low-risk scenarios, such as refinancing an existing loan or when the loan amount is a small percentage of the property’s value.
  • Desktop Valuations: Suitable for low-risk applications and refinancing, especially when the lender has previous knowledge of the property or when recent, reliable sale data is available.
  • Full Appraisals: Necessary for new purchases, particularly in high-risk situations or when the property is unusual in some way that affects its value.

Working with a Mortgage Broker in Brisbane

Navigating the complexities of mortgage valuations can be daunting. This is where working with a reputable mortgage broker in Brisbane can be invaluable. A mortgage broker can offer guidance on the valuation process, helping you understand which type of valuation may be required for your specific situation. They can also assist in finding the most suitable lender and mortgage product for your needs, making the home buying process smoother and more efficient.


Understanding the different types of mortgage valuations and when they are required is essential for any prospective homebuyer. By familiarising yourself with drive-by, desktop, and full appraisals, you can approach the mortgage application process with confidence. Remember, working with a mortgage broker can provide additional support and expertise, ensuring you find the right mortgage solution for your needs.

  • Drive-By Valuations: Quick, less expensive, suitable for low-risk lending scenarios.
  • Desktop Valuations: Conducted online, efficient, ideal for refinancing and low-risk applications.
  • Full Appraisals: Comprehensive, detailed, required for new purchases and high-risk situations.

Whether you’re working with a mortgage broker in Brisbane or navigating the property market elsewhere in Australia, a clear understanding of mortgage valuation types will serve as a valuable asset in your home buying journey.