It’s understandable why many borrowers prefer to stick simply to the mortgage lender’s valuation. Buying a home is expensive at the best of times, let alone off the back of the incredible house price rises seen over the last year. According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, house prices jumped by a mammoth 10.6% in the year to August, taking the average home value to £264,000.
In cash terms, that’s a rise of £25,000 in just 12 months.
Of course, there is no shortage of other costs for buyers to consider too, from legals and stamp duty to cleaning and removals, with reports suggesting that plenty of those costs have spiked this year.
The reality is that homebuyers have never been so financially stretched. With that in mind, the thought of yet another outlay on their home purchase may seem a step too far.
An expensive mistake
However, I think it’s more constructive to view a survey as an investment rather than a cost. Let’s be clear, for the vast majority of us a property is the most expensive asset we are ever going to buy. And with that in mind, doesn’t it make sense to do a little bit of homework so that you understand precisely what you’re buying?
All too often homeowners are treated to an unpleasant surprise when they complete a purchase, discovering some hidden issue that needs resolving. Sometimes it will be a fairly innocuous, albeit irritating issue, but there are times when there is actually something far more significant wrong with the property.
Putting that issue right can easily run into the thousands. In fact a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors a couple of years ago found that homebuyers ended up forking out £5,750 on repairs to their property once those hidden problems became apparent.
Spending a little bit of money early on in the process means your client will be in a far more informed position about exactly what they are buying, and can move on accordingly. It may be that because of what the survey reveals, the buyer opts to negotiate down the price they are paying, or even decides to walk away entirely.
Ultimately though, that decision comes from a position of strength, of understanding the property in detail rather than a lender’s valuation which tells them nothing other than what it is likely worth.
Why surveys should matter to brokers
Brokers want to provide their clients with the best possible guidance, and that has always stretched beyond simply picking out a cheap rate here and there. The best advisers have long highlighted the other aspects of a deal that their client should consider, such as whether they have adequate protection in place should they be unable to work or even pass away.
It’s no different with surveys. Clients will undoubtedly remember your counsel if you highlighted the merits of a survey, and it then uncovered something significant about the property. That sort of experience engenders trust, and only adds to a broker’s appeal in the future. Those clients won’t just come back when they need a new mortgage, they’ll also be more likely to pick your brains for other financial needs too.
What’s more, surveys can also provide brokers with an additional revenue stream. Brokers can instruct a survey on their client’s behalf through the eConveyancer platform, with the client contacted by The Moving Portal within a matter of hours and the broker receiving a fee for the introduction.
Surveys are not just a ‘nice to have’, they can be an essential part of any property transaction, providing peace of mind or a timely warning signal. Highlighting the role of the survey can not only provide brokers with additional income but also help secure their relationship with the client for the long haul.
Karen Rodrigues is sales director at eConveyancer