Q. I’m in the process of buying a property and almost ready to exchange. However I have had some really bad news that has stopped me dead in my tracks. The surveyor has down valued the property quite significantly. As I am taking a mortgage to fund the purchase I am now facing a huge problem as unless I can come up with an extra £15,000 I simply cannot proceed with the purchase. Is this something that happens often and if so do you have any suggestions as to what I might be able to do to resolve the issue?
A. Goodness this is such a predicament for you and unfortunately you are not alone. This does happen periodically, sometimes because the property really is overpriced and the surveyor is simply doing his job and advising you and the lender of its true worth. Other times I have really felt that it’s because the surveyor 1. Doesn’t really know the area well enough to make a true appraisal or 2. He is being overly cautious. And actually given the state of the market for the last few years most of the time these days it is simply because the surveyor is being overly cautious and does not want any kind of reprisal should the bottom fall out of the market again. There are a couple of things you can do, firstly if you really feel that it is an unfair valuation then I suggest you get your estate agent to challenge the surveyors appraisal, he can do this by gathering together at least three comparable properties sold in the last three to six months and sending it onto the surveyor asking him to give further consideration to his decision. Surveyors will sometimes revisit their original valuation and revise their previous appraisal up a little at least. If this draws a blank then the only thing left to do is ask your Estate Agent to inform the seller of the down valuation and ask if he would consider accepting a lower price for the property given the down valuation. In my experience as long as you have both a committed buyer and seller you can usually find a way to meet in the middle, with you the buyer coming up with a little extra and the seller reducing his price a little to make it happen.