Reports of sluggish price growth in parts of the UK and fears of an impending post-Brexit housing crash are hardly likely to inspire optimism. No surveyor wants to be sued for over-valuing a property.
However, I’m confident that our industry has the tools and data available to deliver accurate and consistent valuations even during turbulent times.
Desktop valuations are fast becoming the norm, but that doesn’t mean surveyors have become complacent. Any reputable professional will be Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICs)-accredited and, importantly, will have the technical skills to value non-standard house types and to react to changes in the market.
Rather than replacing skilled surveyors, technology has paved the way for them to do their job quickly and effectively.
Drawing on data from a growing number of sources and eliminating problems such as illegible handwriting, we’ve seen the valuation process become more standardised in recent years. This provides greater reassurances to lenders, brokers and buyers.
It is thanks to technology that we are able to increase our volumes and therefore reduce patch sizes, so surveyors are working in areas where they have strong knowledge of local areas and house types, including their quirks.
Nobody can predict how the UK property market will respond to political and economic events. But those who have been in the industry for many years know that people still want to buy houses and banks want to lend.
Whether or not mortgage providers will become more cautious in the coming months and years remains to be seen. But they will need to leverage the expertise of surveyors more than ever in their decision-making.