The slight lifting of England’s lockdown restrictions and new guidelines, published by the Government and RICS, has allowed surveyors to resume physical property valuations. Chief Operating Officer, Gavin Richardson explains what this means for the property investment market and what you should expect when your property is valued.
We at Mortgage for Business and lenders alike rejoiced last week at the news that valuers would be returning to work (in England at least). While no one is expecting pre-COVID service to resume anytime soon, it does mean that many of the applications with properties that were not suitable for desktop valuations (an estimated 60,000) currently on hold can begin to move forward again.
Since then, we’ve been in conversation with lenders and one of the biggest surveyor contractors, Connell’s, to find out how they plan to complete valuations under the new guidelines and how long they expect it to take to clear the substantial backlog of cases held up by initial lockdown rules.
How long will I have to wait for my property to be valued?
With many thousands of applications awaiting valuations and only a fraction of surveyors currently returning to work, we believe that it’ll take three to four weeks to clear the existing pipeline.
Under the new guidelines, priority will likely be to vacant properties as they are easier, safer and quicker to inspect. If your case is considered urgent, your broker should be liaising with your lender to see whether it’s possible to push you up the queue; however, this is not always guaranteed. Generally, we expect lenders to operate a ‘first come first served’ approach; clearing applications which have been with them the longest first.
This expected time frame does mean that there will be knock-on delay for new applications, but again these will be addressed on a first come first serve basis so the sooner you submit, the quicker you’re likely to get your valuation.
We do not doubt that lenders will be doing everything they can to work through the paused cases, and we’ll continue to update you as to what the expected service times are as the situation changes. We would recommend asking your broker about waiting times for specific lenders as some may be quicker than others.
How will surveyors be completing valuations in occupied properties?
- Surveyors should contact households before an inspection to confirm the health and safety measures required from the household*
- Residents should leave all doors open to minimise the need for surface contact and clean door handles and surfaces with household cleaning products before and after an inspection
- 2m social distancing must be observed during inspections. It’s suggested that you stay in a separate room to the one being inspected
- No inspections should be carried out in households where someone has symptoms, is isolating or has recently tested positive for COVID-19
- Surveyors should wash their hands immediately upon entering the property, using separate or paper towels which can be washed or disposed of after use
* We suggest that landlords with tenants in the property being valued either pass on the information or ask surveyors to liaise directly with the household to ensure all parties are clear of what is expected of them.
We will continue to keep you updated with changes as they happen, and as always, if you have any questions about your current or future property investment plans, our consultant will be more than happy to help. You can contact them on 0345 345 6788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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20th May 2020