As the wider economy improves, consumer confidence is growing in respect of major financial decisions which should also mean a return to higher levels of home purchase.
House moves and purchases are one of the engines of UK plc, generating knock on benefits for other sectors such as the repair and decoration trades, as well as retail sales in areas such as white goods and domestic furniture.
These wider economic benefits are to be welcomed, but as stakeholders in the process, we shouldn’t forget the micro impacts that such a decision has on the consumer that many of us have contact with or are directly advising.
House purchase is usually the single biggest financial decision in an individual’s life, but is still too often made without appropriate personal advice regarding the condition of the property, with only one in five commissioning a private survey.
The erroneous assumption is that the lender mortgage valuation is sufficient in these circumstances, but the reality is that such reports are not for the benefit of the applicant and are extremely limited in terms of advice on condition and long-term repairs.
On average, circa £2,000 of undiagnosed repairs are found after moving in without a survey being done, the economic roulette of doing therefore seems scary to say the least.
Traditionally, certain stakeholders have remained silent regarding this area or indeed have placed their own interest in a successful transaction above that of the applicant and actively discouraged surveys. Such practice is arguably unethical and thankfully increasingly rare. Solicitors, brokers and agents are now actively referring their clients to survey providers, facing the reality that if they don’t, someone else likely will.
Helping your client not buy a property might just be the single most important step you can take to ensure their lifelong loyalty.
Richard Sexton is director of esurv chartered surveyors