Survey confusion among buyers

A new survey has found that many home owners do not know who is responsible for advising on the physical condition of a property prior to purchase.

Additionally, they are unclear on the purpose of a mortgage lender’s property valuation report, suggesting a need for greater clarity within the home-buying process.

When asked who benefits from the data contained in a mortgage valuation, respondents were not clear with many opting to choose incorrect answers. 65% correctly stated that the valuation report is for the benefit of the mortgage lender, yet over a third (35%) thought it is for buyers to use to determine whether the property is worth the agreed purchase price.  Just over a quarter (26%) felt it is there to provide buyers with details on the condition of the home, while 15% of respondents directly stated that they did not know what the valuation report is for.

When asked what would help improve the current home-buying process;  

• Seven out of every 10 respondents said they would like to receive information upfront regarding the physical condition of a property
• 58% said it would be desirable to receive outline costs for specific repairs needed to a property prior to purchase,
• 45% felt that receiving upfront information relating to environmental issues connected to the property would be beneficial.

Paul Wareham from Countrywide Surveying Services, who commissioned the survey along with Landmark Valuation Services, said:
“The YouGov survey shows a general lack of understanding as to who people should turn to when looking for assistance with assessing the physical condition of a property, before they buy.

With seven out of every ten respondents saying they would like to receive information on the physical condition of a property upfront, it raises a number of questions, are we as an industry, meeting the needs of the consumer with our existing approach and products; plus with an election around the corner do we need to refresh our home-buying approach looking again at Home Reports as a mandatory step in the process, as per the current protocol in Scotland?

It’s clear that from the survey that consumers really do need better information to ensure that everyone is entering a property transaction ‘eyes wide open’ as to any potential issues or risks.”

Michael Holden, Head of Client Relationships at Landmark Valuation Services said: “A study by ComRes for RICS showed that, on average, homebuyers spend £5,750 on repairs once they have moved into their homes, which is often down to not getting the right survey done.  If the public were more aware of what surveys and reports are out there, there would be greater transparency for all involved. There is certainly an appetite for home owners to have an understanding of a property’s condition before they buy it however there certainly appears to be confusion as to how this can be achieved.”

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