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Surveyor downvalued our property - no explanation given, what can we do?

(32 Posts)
VBisme Thu 16-May-13 17:36:18

Hi all,

I hope someone can help me, we've found a gorgeous property that we love in the perfect area.

We agreed a price (the sellers came down considerably from their original asking price, over 10%), and started the mortgage process.

The property is fairly unique, grade 2 listed, but other (larger) properties in the same complex have been sold at higher prices, for their original asking price.

The mortgage surveyor has downgraded the price by a considerable sum, which basically means that we can't afford to buy the property (I'm not asking the seller to come down further, it wouldn't be fair and it isn't right - the house is definitely worth what we've agreed to pay, in fact we're getting a bargain).

We're getting a second survey (the vendors are paying half), but do we have any comeback against the original surveyor, I want to see his comparables etc but I'm told by his firm that he doesn't have to provide anything over the valuation.

This is setting us back and costing us money, I'm really unhappy about it.

I hope this makes sense, hopefully someone can advise.

TerrysNo2 Thu 16-May-13 18:32:24

was it the banks surveyor or your surveyor? are you sure it was a valuation for the suggesting price or was it an insurable value as I think they can be different?

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 18:35:30

Thanks for the quick response.

It was the banks surveyor and it's for the mortgage, without the valuation being the agreed value we can't afford the house.

Of all the things we thought could go wrong, having the house undervalued was not one of them.

LIZS Thu 16-May-13 18:36:22

If the new surveyor isn't from the bank's panel they won't accept the valuation he gives for mortgage purposes. What type of survey did you pay for ?

ivykaty44 Thu 16-May-13 18:39:55

but do we have any comeback against the original surveyor


you didn't employ him the bank/building society did that is who he has a contract with - not you.

what comeback do you want? What do you think he/she has done wrong?

Bowlersarm Thu 16-May-13 18:44:45

I thought that if you could provide comparable properties and prices, then he could take this into consideration with his valuation? Are you buying through an estate agent? If so they should be able to help with this.

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 18:51:06

The new surveyor is another off the banks panel, they've (the bank)suggested it.

I want the surveyor to give me back the money I'm now having to pay for the second survey. I don't think he did his homework, he didn't check the additional land / garages / prices of the surrounding property.

He told the owner of the property that he "wouldn't want to live here in winter" (It is rural), which is a very subjective view and not relevant to the price of the house.

I'm just really upset that someone who hasn't (IMO) performed their job properly has had an impact on whether I get my dream home. I want to know if we can contest it / claim damages against his firm - I assume surveyors have a code of practice?

LIZS Thu 16-May-13 18:53:55

but it is a subjective view , all valuations are to an extent plus looking at market, similar local properties and saleability (ie would the location deter buyers if the bank had to resell). If he'd said this is idyllic and upped the value you wouldn't be complaining !

lightrain Thu 16-May-13 18:59:04

Have you called the surveyor to discuss? Have a chat - usually they're very happy to discuss any questions.

annh Thu 16-May-13 19:00:38

How do you know he hasn't done his job properly? What are you going to do if the second surveyor comes back with the same value? What kind of damages do you think you could claim for - at the moment you seem to have little evidence that he didn't do his job and only your subjective opinion that the house is worth more.

On what basis are you saying that he didn't check comparables? Do you have some evidence of this? You said yourself that the house is unique, rural and Grade II listed which makes it more difficult to value accurately. It also makes it more likely that you or other buyers are prepared to pay a premium for that kind of property. It doesn't mean that the house is actually worth that much money.

As a bank surveyor valuing for the mortgage, his job is to ensure that in the event of a forced sale the bank can recover the money they have loaned to you.

Telling the current owners that he wouldn't want to live in that house in winter doesn't mean it had any bearing on his valuation, it was a passing comment.

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 19:13:25

Comparables are difficult, due to the house itself, however there is a house in the same development, which was sold 2 months ago by the same estate agent, for the valuation the estate agents originally gave which is more than we have offered for this house.

So I'm confident that he didn't check that house out.

As the mortgage is an 80% mortgage I doubt that the mortgage company would not get their money back, but I accept that this is his job.

"It also makes it more likely that you or other buyers are prepared to pay a premium for that kind of property. It doesn't mean that the house is actually worth that much money." I would have thought that's exactly what it means, any item is worth exactly what people are willing to pay for it, including any premium.

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 19:20:33

LOL "As the mortgage is an 80% mortgage I doubt that the mortgage company would not get their money back, but I accept that this is his job."

How do you think people got into negative equity in the last 2 recessions? 80% is a massive mortgage and it really doesn't take much of a downturn before the bank might not get it's money back, especially if it was overvalued to begin with.

If the house is unattractive as a place to live in winter, then that is very material to the value of the house. Even is only a % of people would feel that way, it does affect the value, by making it significantly less saleable.

IMO, you should listen to the expert and adjust your offer.

Floggingmolly Thu 16-May-13 19:24:40

The house is not "definitely worth what we've agreed to pay" if the surveyor has valued it at a lower price.

myron Thu 16-May-13 19:26:10

This happened in our first house purchase. We paid for a 2nd survey and the valuation still came in under the agreed sale price. In the end, the seller agreed to split the difference and fortunately, we were able to stump up the extra but it was a stressful first time buy for us.

We also had a valuation 2 years ago where it undervalued the house we wanted to buy AND it recommended that the mortgage offer hold a retention of £30K conditional on substantial repairs being made. That was a shock to the system because the repairs weren't obvious. We didn't proceed with the sale after paying for a full structural survey plus an independent timber survey which confirmed that there were substantial and costly repairs required (that we hadn't noticed due to lots of cosmetic touch ups!) We walked away due to doubt plus the fact that the seller refused to enter any price renegotiation due to the house being 'unique' which it was.

caveat emptor!

ArbitraryUsername Thu 16-May-13 19:31:02

You would be mad not to try to negotiate with the seller based on the surveyor's valuation.

annh Thu 16-May-13 19:38:15

OP, the more I read the more I think you completely misunderstand the whole valuation process. Just because a similar house sold for more money a few months ago does not mean that it or your house is actually worth that on the open market (it obviously was worth that amount to those specific buyers however). It's possible that those buyers wanted a much smaller mortgage or no mortgage at all didn't care what the bank's valuation was.

Anyway this is the bank's valuation and presumably you are having your own full survey carried out? What is your surveyor's opinion?

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 19:38:54

Thanks myron, if there had been anything specific then we could have dealt with that by reducing the price according to whatever required fixing.

Unfortunately it's all a bit woolly, there is no specific reason.

Thanks everyone for your answers, as far as I can tell from the advice we have no comeback on the surveyor, but I will call him tomorrow to discuss the valuation (he refused to speak with the mortgage advisor - hopefully I will have more luck).

Tournament Thu 16-May-13 19:44:34

It is odd that the surveyor won't speak to the bank. When I worked for a (commercial) bank we often had instances where we wanted to lend against a property, but the surveyor came back with a valuation that meant the figures didn't work. I would often challenge them on behalf of the customer, but don't remember a single instance when they couldn't fully explain their reasoning.

KazzaRazza Thu 16-May-13 19:54:12

I agree with the other posters. There is very little comeback on a basic mortgage valuation. It is done on behalf of the lender but you cover the cost.

I would be very surprised if the valuer is prepared to speak to you. As others have said, he is acting on behalf of the lender.

If you want a survey/valuation carried out where you can have a discussion with the surveyor then you should be having a more indepth report carried out.

ivykaty44 Thu 16-May-13 20:59:48

why would a surveyor speak tp you? you are not paying him so why would he speak to you?

it would be a bit like you calling a solicitor and asking for them to give you advise as your neighbour has been dealing with them over the same problem and your neighbour is paying their bill, so you thought they could talk to you as well and give you advise but you aren't paying the bill iyswim

Fuckwittery Thu 16-May-13 21:03:45

if the other house was sold only 2 months ago it is probably not showing on LAnd Reg website yet and surveyor may well not have had access to that info. suggest the vendor tells the second surveyor about the other sale when the surveyor comes round!

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 16-May-13 21:07:12

I'm now curious about the next valuation.

The surveyor must have reasons. We had a house surveyed which we ended up not buying because the survey was so far below the price we'd agreed to pay. We were cash buyers but that can work against you, in that the seller knows you have the money, and you can't use the excuse that the bank won't lend you the higher amount, etc.

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 21:07:24

ivykaty44 It was suggested upthread that I should call them to discuss......... but thanks for your input.

I am covering the cost of the mortgage survey, but I don't think that's quite the same thing as being the client.

VBisme Thu 16-May-13 21:09:24

"The surveyor must have reasons". I agree, but he hasn't told the mortgage company and won't speak to the mortgage advisor.

I swear I'll update when we get the results of the next survey - no matter what the outcome grin

ivykaty44 Thu 16-May-13 21:28:19

thing is he doesn't have to answer to you, he doesn't have to answer to you and he doesn't have a contract with you and therefore may not want to speak to you incase at a later date something he says comes back and bites him on the bum as he wasn't paid by you.

I would get your own survey done and pay for the full survey and look and see what that says - then decide whether you proceed. I wouldn't be sharing the cost of the survey either but paying the full amount - if I liked the house enough.

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