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Surveyors launch Home Review concept to cut fall-throughs

A surveyors group has launched a new ‘Home Review’ service which it claims will identify structural problems which create an immediate obstacle to sale.

The Residential Property Surveyors Association describes the review as “a snapshot analysis of key structural risks to provide buyers, sellers and agents with advanced warning of any major issues which might jeopardise the sale of a property.”

It will, says the association, “bring more homes to the market with a clean bill of health” by identifying problems such as subsidence, a failed roof structure or widespread rot.

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A statement from the association, which is developing the review along with online platform WiggyWam, says: “This immediately solves a common inefficiency in the buying process that sees buyers pay up to £1,000 to commission a full survey, only for it to identify a problem of such significance that they’re no longer interested in the property. In such cases, the money spent on the survey is wasted because the sale proceeds no further.”

It goes on to say that the Home Review provides “timely insight into such issues so buyers can be confident in commissioning a full survey” knowing that it isn’t going to identify any deal-killing flaws. 

This will also provide sellers with the opportunity to address known issues before going to market if, for instance, the cost of the repair works can be justified by the subsequent value of the property.

RPSA chairman Alan Milstein says: "Buyers suffer delays and lose millions when their survey identifies deal-breaking critical issues that could have been resolved before the property was marketed … We believe this innovative new approach of the seller identifying critical defects at the pre-marketing stage  significantly reduces the risk of purchases being aborted after an offer has been accepted.

“Saving time and money for buyers and sellers can only be a good thing and the RPSA look forward to creating a new dynamic in the home buying and selling sector."

The association says this is particularly important when dealing with chains.

It adds: “Undiscovered issues result in a much higher chance of a buyer pulling out, affecting everyone involved. The chain collapses, or someone takes a hit on the price to try and hold the deal together. Frequently this can be frustrating resulting in the agent's client being inadvertently let down. A Home Review significantly reduces these risks.”

The review is going to be trialed in WiggyWam’s Sellers Pack.

WiggyWam chief executive Silas J. Lees says: “All agents know the stomach-in-knots feeling of their commissions being on the line, or the chain about to collapse because of an issue that could have been resolved much earlier on in the marketing process. Reliance on caveat emptor doesn’t help the seller when they can’t move to their dream home as their eventual sale price is less than they had expected.

“As a central part of our Sellers Pack, the Home Review will allow transactions to move very quickly by removing uncertainty. All of this information needs to be compiled during the transaction anyway, so why not do it at the very start? It’s an effortless way to remove as much stress as possible for all involved, slash transaction times, increase trust, and allow agents to bank their fees more quickly, fees which can sometimes feel like they’re very much ‘on the line’.”

  • Vilesh Rew

    It's interesting because the only time we have fall throughs is at survey stage. And in almost every case it is not due to the property's condition, but how that condition is put over to buyers (particularly inexperienced buyers). We had one this week. A 172 page report for a 1960s detached house. 13 REDS, lots of use of inflammable panic inducing words like "immediate" and "safety", all contained within standard paragraphs. When it came to the "Opinion" box where the surveyor summarised things, it basically said, "this is a 60 year old house in average condition and as such requires regular ongoing maintenance. I see no reason why these should cause any special difficulty on resale in a normal market." So he's saying it's what you'd expect, but the rest of the report just screams "Run, run you fool!". They need to do away with standard paragraphs, do away with this stupid traffic light system, and actually write a bespoke report for their client. The buyer paid over £500 for 172 pages of standard paragraphs and crappy photos, and the sale will likely terminate at this point.

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