publication date: Mar 2, 2016
author/source: Guest article by Alan Milstein, Chairman of the RPSA
Why estate agents should prefer the Home Condition Survey
The bane of an estate agent’s life is transaction failure. Redundant work, wasted costs and loss of income affect the bottom line and cause great frustration and stress. There are of course a number of reasons why transaction may fall through, bit I am going to focus on just two – delays in getting to exchange of contract and because of the results of a buyers survey.
A number of studies have found that the longer a transaction takes to get to exchange of contracts the greater the chance of it falling through. When the market is buoyant, chains tend to get longer and it only requires one buyer or seller to pull out and the whole thing comes to a grinding halt. Of course delays can occur for a number of reasons but in the recent past one of the contributory factors was delays in getting mortgage valuations and buyers obtaining surveys. With the same surveyor resource serving both needs a logjam occurred and it took many months to resolve. Whilst the corporates such as esurv and Countrywide have focused on beefing up valuer numbers for mortgage valuations, a new cohort of residential surveyors has grown delivering Home Condition Surveys (HCS), about which more below. These residential surveyors working either independently, or through a panel operated by the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA,) work to strict service standards and ensure that getting a survey does not hold transactions up. In and of itself this should cause estate agents to think carefully about instructing an HCS – but there are other reasons as well!
The HCS has been designed to provide homebuyers with a clear, jargon free assessment of a property that highlights the good elements as well as identifying any problems. Using a simple green, amber and red system the report lays out the condition of the property in a summary chart that makes it straightforward for a homebuyer to make an informed decision. Any problems are supported by photographic evidence and there aren’t the countless caveats that it has become customary for a Homebuyers report to contain. It is no longer the case that the only game in town is a rather more subjective survey that often focuses only on the problems and does not highlight the good elements of a property.
The HCS has a number of additional features that make it a great product for homebuyers. All HCSs are lodged with a Certification scheme (currently either Surveyor and Valuer Accreditation [SAVA] or the Building Research Establishment [BRE]) which is then responsible for monitoring the quality of the surveys undertaken and of the individual surveyors it accredits. Professional Indemnity insurance is attached to the survey when it is lodged which greatly reduces the risk to the homebuyer and an estate agent that recommends the product.
The increasing popularity of the HCS is testament to the fact that homebuyers and property professionals alike are attracted to this new breed of survey. Why not try it out for yourself and order an HCS for one of your clients through the RPSA panel by calling 08714 237189 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively simply call the above number or e-mail David with any questions you may have.