26 January 2015

How have RICS Home Surveys influenced the housing market?

How have RICS Home Surveys influenced the housing market?

Has the RICS Home Surveys suite (Condition Report, Homebuyers Survey and Building Survey) made a difference to consumers in the housing market? The answer must be yes!

Traditionally, consumers’ understanding of the housing market has been based on house prices. The average price has increased by 25% from £148,358 in 2004 to £185,620 in 2014.

In recent years, however, there has been a growing acceptance that buying or living in a home is not just about value, but also about things that affect value. Increasingly, these are issues related to living in a home. This is where the home surveys have come into their own, as captured in the simple message: “a mortgage valuation is not a survey”.

RICS research in 2011 found that four out of five home buyers simply relied on the basic valuation report and did not take out a survey of any kind. Often this was because home buyers did not fully appreciate what a survey does or the long-term savings it could provide.

On average, those who did not take out a survey spent £5,750 in additional work to the property which could have been identified in a survey. In one case a home buyer was left with a £385k legal bill after not exchanging contracts on a £3.6m house purchase because rising damp was discovered, an issue which could have been identified if they had done a survey beforehand.

To serve this need RICS developed the RICS Home Surveys suite of services. There is one to meet every set of circumstances as the sample reports on the RICS Surveys page of this website illustrates.

It is important to realise that a survey is NOT a valuation report, nor is it a service for the lender. It is for the consumer and as such the consumer can use a surveyor of their choice.

Customers often don’t have direct contact with their Surveyor. By instructing their own private survey they do have. They can relate their particular concerns before the Surveyor inspects and the Surveyor will normally ring them with the results afterwards, and before putting pen to paper.

Your chosen Surveyor will highlight the benefits that a survey can offer to a home buyer not just in terms of the condition of a home but the practicalities of living in it.

But it doesn’t end there. Surveys need not just be for home buyers. The RICS Condition Report can benefit sellers and their agents in marketing a home and securing a successful sale; likewise home owners who have no intention of buying or selling but intend to stay but need to make decisions on future repairs or improvements.