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Surveys must show climate change risks to buyers, says mortgage chief

A  mortgage expert says surveyors should improve their standard services to cover the threat of climate change. 

This comes after a summer of extreme weather across the country and indeed the world has threatened many properties, by flooding like in London, or wildfires like in Greece.  

With an independent building level 3 survey - the old structural survey - costing upwards of £700 on the average property, David McGrail of the First Mortgage brokerage says surveyors should start to roll out extended checks to cover flood risk, subsidence and erosion if a property is near the coast or a river as part of a standard assessment.  

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“We are already seeing the severe effects of climate change in the UK, with flooding in cities and in rural areas becoming more common. Buyers are nervous about investing in property that could be at risk of environmental factors, and I think surveyors need to adapt their approach to property assessment to be more inclusive of our ever-changing environment, by offering more assessments as standard.” 

First Mortgage research suggests that substantial numbers of buyers say they have pulled out of a deal for their new home because of environmental factors. 

McGrail says that although most of the public are aware of the obvious warning signs to look out for when viewing a property, such as damp orpeculiar smells, only a third know to check if the area is prone to extreme winter storms and only a quarter know to check if the doors are high enough off the ground to stop water damage in the event of flooding.  

The firm’s research suggests that a third of people said they would hire an independent surveyor to assess whether their property needs special insurance or not, despite the high cost. 

McGrail continues: “Many buyers are aware of the risks of negative equity, but what they might not know is that environmental factors can also have a drastic impact on the value of your house and also your chances of getting a mortgage”. 

He says buying a home “shouldn’t be a horror story waiting to happen.”

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    I wonder what Mr McGrail thinks, or knows, what surveyors actually do? Perhaps he should come and talk to us at the Residential Property Surveyors Association (rpsa.org.uk) and we can demonstrate that this is exactly the sort of information that our reports already include.

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