WHEN I agreed a price to sell my buy-to-let flat in North London, I did not expect the mortgage valuation survey commissioned by the buyer to come up with a completely different figure.
Yet after accepting a £412,000 offer for the twobedroom flat in June, the surveyor from chartered surveyors e.surv decided it was worth only £360,000, deducting a chunky £52,000 based on “economic environment and local area”.
Luckily for me, the buyer did not immediately head for the hills. We both knew that an almost identical flat in the same listed building sold for well above this amount, at £385,000, at the end of last year. My buyer challenged the valuation, supported by the estate agent, Foxtons, who sent off evidence of similar properties that had sold recently in the area, to justify our opinion that the flat was worth substantially more.
After a couple of weeks and a lot of chasing, the surveyors reconsidered their view, and upped the valuation to £395,000. Although not quite as high as the original price, it was near enough for the buyer and me to meet somewhere in the middle. This meant he could keep the same mortgage rate, without looking for a new deal, and I did not have to start all over again seeking a new buyer.
Paul Sparks, technical director at e.surv, said: “Where a valuer inspects a property, he will take into account the condition, local area and state of the market, and will always obtain comparable evidence of other properties, to produce a valuation report.
“On occasion, these valuations are challenged, and when reviewing the file we would require evidence that will support the view of a difference in valuation.
“In the light of additional evidence and any research we have carried out, if a different valuation was appropriate, we would consider changing the figure. Our target is to deal with challenges within two days, although sometimes this can take longer.”