On 26 April, RICS proposed changes to better protect buyers, and sellers, by introducing improved communication and more standardised offerings.
Rip Off Britain highlighted two case studies about irreputable surveyors who had failed to raise attention to faults at properties, leading to thousands of pounds worth of losses by the homebuyers.
Speaking on the programme Paula Higgins, Founder and CEO at the HomeOwners Alliance, said:
“There’s a massive variation in surveys. If you were to have one property and two surveyors there, the style of the reports could be very different. One might have very detailed photos, a list of things that need to be fixed and estimated costs. Another one might just have lots of caveats and ask for further investigation.”
One of the changes that RICS is proposing will be to emphasise the levels of the survey in a numerical system to make it easier to understand, with minimum levels of service for each one, making it easier for consumers to identify what type of survey they need.
Another important area included is to use a surveyor with local knowledge of the area, depending on instruction, who would have specialised local knowledge such as areas prone to flooding or subsidence.
Speaking to the BBC on behalf of RICS surveyors, Joe Arnold, Managing Director at Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors, said:
“There’s definitely confusion around the different levels that are out there in the marketplace. Some people are buying a Condition Report, which is a basic report, and expecting Building Survey quality. So perhaps they haven’t really had the right guidance to begin with or the right communications with the surveyor to set those expectations from day one.
“It’s making sure that consumers understand what’s on offer, they understand the different products that are available to them and also have the confidence that their surveyor will have to meet minimum standards when producing the report.”
Arnold adds: “These new standards could potentially benefit every property transaction, so everyone involved in the process should have an interest. If you have an interest in the future of your business, I suggest visiting the website and making your opinions heard.”
The RICS consultation is live at www.rics.org/homesurveystandard until 26 July. Rip Off Britain is available on BBC iPlayer and for more information about home surveys is available at www.arnoldandbaldwin.co.uk.
About Arnold & Baldwin
Arnold & Baldwin’s vision is to protect home buyers and their investment. Acquiring property is an exciting time and it aims to instil confidence by de-risking a property purchase. The team of honest, approachable experts specialise in property surveys and valuations throughout London and the South East, delivering expert knowledge with accuracy, care and diligence.
Working with over 200 lending institutions Arnold & Baldwin understands the requirements of lenders and investors. As honest, approachable experts it also understands the requirements of an individual or family embarking on a home move. Big enough to matter, small enough to care. In one year, Arnold & Baldwin inspected over 6,500 properties, with a value in excess of £3.2bn.