Mortgage Solutions recently ran a story based on a poll that revealed broker frustrations when it came to challenging a valuation. According to the poll, more than half of brokers who challenged a property valuation were not successful in doing so, while 17 per cent had not attempted to dispute a surveyor’s decision.
The worrying thing about the story was not the rate of success that brokers had experienced, but their opinions about engaging with surveyors. The brokers quoted in the story implied that surveyors were headstrong, rarely budged in their views and did not take kindly to having their judgement questioned by a “mere mortgage broker”.
In response to this, I would say that if you are frustrated with valuations you should find a surveyor who you know, trust and like to work with.
The success of this industry is built on partnerships and, at Arnold & Baldwin, we are open to establishing strong working relationships with brokers based on open lines of communication.
For example, I might receive a call from a broker who is considering an application to a particular lender on a property in a high-rise block to ask whether it’s the sort of property they would be happy lending on. Brokers can also contact us if they have received a valuation from another surveyor that they think is incorrect. We will carry out a desktop valuation and if we think it is unjust, we can provide some comparables for a broker to use to contest the valuation. If a surveyor is presented with three robust comparables that they did not have sight of initially, they are allowed to change their opinion and valuation. So, with reasoned rationale and increased engagement with surveyors, you may have a more fruitful outcome.
It is worth remembering that surveyors are independent professionals carrying out a job. Our role is to carry out an accurate valuation within the framework of the RICS Red Book guidelines and the lender’s own guidance notes and we have no bias or incentive to value a property in any other way. There is no such thing as a "down valuation" as the surveyor's valuation is often the only formal valuation that has taken place. A vendor might list at a high price or, as many will know, there are some agents that purposefully inflate prices. It is often the few who create a difficult job for the many.
When placing a remortgage application, brokers often have influence over the value that is stated on the application forms, so be realistic and this will help your application success rate.
I understand that brokers have frustrations when a property is not valued as they would expect, but by establishing more open avenues of communication with surveyors, you will find that you will have more positive experiences. Quite simply, brokers can benefit from greater engagement with surveyors.