Surveyors Given Updated Guidance On Home Surveys

Home surveys and valuations are an integral and fundamental part of the home buying and selling process and the sentiment from the sector welcomes recent government advice and guidelines permitting physical valuations and surveys to resume once again.

The headline change in the guidance for surveyors is the fact that they are now ‘free to visit properties to carry out surveys’ and valuations.

All surveyors are encouraged to use the ‘working in other people’s homes’ and ‘social distancing’ guideline updates before returning to work.

The guidance also expressed the importance of communicating how to operate safely to customers and has suggested:

  • Surveyors should contact the owners of the property to be surveyed prior to the survey to make sure they understand which areas will be surveyed and ensure that all doors and access panels are open and surfaces have been cleaned with household cleaning products in line with public health advice. During a visit, members of the household should follow social distancing guidance, staying 2 metres away wherever possible, for example by staying in another room.
  • No work should be carried out by a person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild or anyone who has been asked to self-isolate.
  • Surveyors should wash their hands immediately upon entering the property, using separate towels or paper towels which need to be washed or disposed of safely after use.
  • Surveyors should be clear in any reports about areas which they weren’t able to inspect due to public health limitations.

Joe Arnold, managing director at Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors, commented:

“The official government guidance for working safely in other people’s homes during COVID-19 is a detailed document that specifically references surveyors and effectively opens the door for the safe resumption of physical property inspections. This is excellent news for the property market as it means that we are effectively back in business.

“At Arnold & Baldwin, we believe the best way to truly understand the condition and value of a property is with a physical inspection and our surveyors are prepared with the right guidance and equipment to begin visiting properties again.

“We also recognise, however, that remote valuations are going to be an integral part of the market for quite some time and so we have introduced a menu of options for lenders that addresses some of the limitations of remotely valuing a property, including ways of mitigating the risk on more unusual properties and addressing the restrictive parameters of some funding arrangements, which do not traditionally permit remote valuations.

“We will be publishing more details on these in the coming days and so able to offer a complete range of valuation solutions to help the market recover and get back onto the front foot.”

Simon Jackson, managing director of SDL Surveying, said:

“We are very pleased to announce the immediate recommencement of physical inspections and to say that, from today, our surveyors will be visiting properties in order to carry these out in a controlled and safe fashion.

“The nature of the threat from Covid-19 means that safety is of paramount importance which is why we’ve put in place a new full inspection procedure that each surveyor will be using on every job.

“This follows current safety guidance, has been approved by our lender clients, and means we can start inspecting properties from today in order to get those cases moving through the system again.

“A significant amount of work has gone into this from the SDL team and we believe it demonstrates our commitment to our bank and building society partners and a shared desire to get the market moving again. We are anticipating a large volume of backlog cases to be completed over the next seven to 10 days which is why we have moved all our surveyors and booking team out of furlough in order to make sure we get through this work as quickly as possible.

“These are of course early days but this is a major step forward on the road back to normality and it is testament to the planning and preparedness of the SDL Surveying team that we can begin inspections today and produce the mortgage valuations which consumers, mortgage brokers and lenders are waiting for.”

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