Value and the role of the survey
There are always a huge number of questions and decisions demanded of homebuyers throughout what will always be a highly emotive process. This is especially apparent in the midst of some lingering market and economic uncertainty, meaning it’s even more important than ever for buyers to protect their interests and help to clarify what represents real value.
This question of value and how to protect what remains the largest investment people are ever likely to make can be approached from a few different angles. House prices remain a complex picture. According to Zoopla’s latest House Price Index, homebuyers are securing an average of £18,000 off their next home in order to confirm a sale. Yet, data from Nationwide Building Society suggests that November saw UK house prices rise slightly for the third month in a row and figures from Halifax highlighted a rise of 0.5% in November – with the price of a typical UK home now standing at £283,615 or around £1,300 more than the previous month.
When considering value in terms of longer-term gains, additional research from Uswitch recently outlined that 43% of UK house hunters say they would consider paying a premium for prospective homes to be more energy efficient. 22% would attach a premium of 20% or higher to a property with an A or B Energy Performance Certificate rating. Based on the average house price in the UK, this would work out at around an additional £58,000.
Of course, an energy performance certificate (EPC) can help identify ways to make energy efficient upgrades to secure some short, medium and longer-term gains. However, there is another important component within the homebuying process which can sometimes be overlooked and undervalued, and that is a survey.
If homebuyers are not aware of the benefits attached to a survey or if they are not aware of its importance when calculating their original costings, it can be viewed as an additional cost. Which, in turn, may lead to further questions being posed over its value and even its merit. It could even lead to it being ignored completely.
This is exactly why we need to start talking about the magnitude and value of a survey as early in the buying process as possible as this will allow purchasers to arm themselves with as much vital information as possible about the property they are about to buy. At this juncture, it’s prudent to reaffirm that a survey is not a valuation – as outlined in a previous article – it is a detailed report which helps make potential buyers aware of any present issues or problems which may occur in the future. This can provide valuable piece of mind, help with budgeting for any works required and even support renegotiation around the purchase price if any major concerns – and potential costs – are raised.
In essence, a survey will help homebuyers to make the right decisions for their individual situations. It is certainly not there to hinder any homeownership aspirations and this is why we need to keep talking about the value of a survey to ensure that a greater number of homebuyers can better protect themselves from an emotional, practical and financial perspective.
Matthew Cumber, Managing Director of Countrywide Home Surveys