Home Reports – DM Hall’s Comment on Recent BBC Features

On two consecutive days, the BBC has carried stories about the process of house surveys and valuations which have highlighted the differences in the house selling processes North and South of the border.

BBC1’s breakfast show carried a significant feature on the difficulties facing house purchasers in England. The process there is similar to the Scottish system before December 2008 where it is the responsibility of the purchasers to organise their own surveys and valuations.

However, a report issued by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has highlighted major problems with this approach. Most purchasers are simply relying on the Mortgage Valuation prepared for the lender. Unfortunately, this is not a survey. At best it will involve a limited walk through the property, but there are instances where it will involve the surveyor simply carrying out an external “drive by” inspection. It is not a survey, and is unlikely to highlight many defects.

The research has identified that one in five house purchasers who did not bother with a survey later uncovered faults with remedial works costing £5,750 on average. The research further indicated that 17% of new owners ended up paying more than £12,000 to make their homes habitable.

The show went on to highlight some individual horror stories, particularly a lady from Romford in Essex, now left with tens of thousands of pounds worth of work after not having a survey done. Having spent £35,000 on her property already she then advised: “It is estimated that we will have to spend another £50,000 to £60,000 to get into a position where we’re happy and it is structurally safe to live in.” A horror story indeed.

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