Property Market Could Reopen By June

The Housing Minister, Chirs Pincher, is set to release plans outlining how estate agents can return to work in the coming weeks whilst the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have drafted guidance around safely completing property valuations when the market reopens.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Pincher and the MHCLG team have held talks with a number of property stakeholders including agents, removers and conveyancers about releasing guidelines around safely reopening the property market.

Suggestions included ‘contactless’ property viewings with vendors ensuring all doors and cupboards are opened in advance so that buyers do not need to touch any surfaces whilst viewing the property. Viewings will also be capped to reduce the threat or exposure to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, RICS is set to release a new set of post-lockdown guidelines for UK-wide surveyors to help them safely conduct valuations.

The government have also indicated that more lenders should be accepting desktop valuations and, in the short-term at least, the UK could see a lot more virtual viewings and valuations until confidence in face to face or physical meetings returns.

In a release of Help to Buy advice to customers, the government has stated that, as a temporary measure, they will accept desktop valuations if homeowners want to repay their equity loan.

Help to Buy will also allow desktop valuations if a buyer’s mortgage lender is using them to support their mortgage offer.

The government have stated that requirements for a valid desktop valuation includes:

  • The surveyor must be approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You can find an approved surveyor on the RICS database
  • The surveyor must be independent of the estate agent looking after the sale of the property (if applicable).
  • The surveyor must not be related or known to you, to avoid any conflict of interest.
  • The survey must be provided on headed paper of the surveying company or approved surveyor (if they’re a sole trader), signed by the RICS surveyor, and addressed to Homes England. It needs to be in PDF or another non-editable document format.
  • The surveyor must list at least six comparable properties and sale prices. These properties must be like-for-like in terms of type, size, age and within a two-mile radius of the property being valued, as per RICS guidance. If six properties aren’t available, the surveyor must explain the reasons why they aren’t comparable.


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