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RICS survey standard will mean fewer aborted transactions – Arnold

by: Joe Arnold, managing director, Arnold & Baldwin Chartered Surveyors
  • 27/01/2020
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RICS survey standard will mean fewer aborted transactions – Arnold
As part of its commitment to promoting and enforcing high standards, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched its Home Survey Standard.


The standard will become the mandatory best practice benchmark on 1 June 2020, although firms can introduce it ahead of this date.

RICS says it will enable adoptees to demonstrate consistency, deliver the highest quality of service, meet evolving consumer needs and contribute to delivering greater trust in the home survey market across the UK.

The trade body hopes the concise mandatory requirement will establish a single standard for condition-based home surveys. As well as new benchmarks around which firms can design and deliver services that not only meet their clients’ needs but that the public can recognise and trust.


What it means in practice

I was first invited by RICS to join the consultation in September 2016 and as one of only two SMEs asked to take part in the process, I have been closely involved throughout its development.

This has given me a unique insight as to why this new standard is so important, not just for surveyors, but for all businesses and individuals who are involved in the buying and selling of homes.

The fundamental difference is it facilitates and promotes improved communication between a homebuyer and their surveyor.

Benchmarks embrace new technologies and media which will make it so much easier for everyday homebuyers to understand the results of their survey.


More deals held together

The standard puts more responsibility on a surveyor to be clearer about their observations and recommendations, which means that a survey will include fewer caveats and assumptions.

This is a really key change that will help develop increased trust between homebuyers and their surveyors which should naturally lead to increased confidence.

This is likely to result in fewer aborted transactions.

A well-managed and well-communicated survey can actually help to hold a deal together, showing that there is nothing to hide when it comes to the condition of the property.

There are additional benefits to those professionals involved in the homebuying process.


Broker responsibility

A home survey might protect the buyer’s investment in the short term, but it can also help to protect the reputation of professionals advising that buyer in the long term, and that includes you.

Increasingly lenders are turning to automated valuations based on statistical trends as a way of cutting costs. In these transactions often no surveyor enters the building to inspect the actual condition of the property.

In this situation, whose responsibility is it to ensure that the buyer has fully considered the undertaking that they are entering?

As a broker, you secure the finance your client needs to buy the property, but if that purchase leads to unquantifiable costs in the future, your clients’ finances are going to be considerably damaged.

So, you have a responsibility to make your client aware of the risks as a purchaser, not just as a borrower.

The new standard will help you to do this as it will improve the accessibility and quality of information that homebuyers receive when they commission a survey.


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