A leading estate agency says it has observed that some banks previously opposed to accepting remote and desktop valuations have started to change their approach.
Knight Frank says that for many lenders, including those with customers buying at the higher end of the housing market, in-person valuations in which a surveyor visits a customer’s home were considered essential before granting loans to buy or remortgage properties.
However, the agency says the lockdown and social distancing have meant that some of the larger private banks have altered their approach.
“Two weeks ago there was a lot of confusion and adjustment happening, with people firefighting trying to work out what they were supposed to be doing” says Alex Ogario of Knight Frank Finance.
“Now banks that weren’t going to accept desktop valuations are coming to the realisation they will need to. The big lenders with the big balance sheets tend to be on board, and that’s good for the market because transactions can continue to a certain extent” he continues.
Lenders have been approaching valuers to better understand how remote valuations work according to Katie Parsonson, head of Knight Frank’s London Valuation and Advisory team.
“We’ve been positively reassured by the number of fee quote requests, from lenders for desktop valuations across the core and super prime market in London. These have ranged from £1m homes through to single home developments of £20m to £30m” she says.
Responding to the news Craig Vile - director of automated valuation and agency lead service The ValPal Network - says: "Some high street lenders have been accepting desktop and remote valuations for a while and the impact of the global pandemic means these types of mortgage valuations are likely to become more commonplace even when movement restrictions are lifted.
"Since the property market was put on hold a couple of weeks ago, we've seen a consistent demand for instant online valuations from vendors and landlords.This type of valuation is not intended to replace a mortgage valuation, rather it is designed to help estate agents capture the contact details of prospective clients.
"What this all shows is that the industry has had to embrace technology quicker than expected in recent weeks and that in the future, it is perfectly possible for significant parts of the moving process to be carried out remotely."
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