THE VOICE OF PROPERTY
NEW Year is a time for resolutions and new beginnings but also a time to look back and as 2018 draws to a close it marks 10 years (yes, really) since Home Reports were introduced amid a welter of criticism and doubt. However, Eric Curran, managing partner of chartered surveyors DM Hall, believes these criticisms have now been stilled, as the intervening years have made it clear the reports, carried out by qualified and impartial chartered surveyors, have been a force for good.
“Home Reports replaced a system whereby every buyer had to commission a survey and if the purchase was unsuccessful, multiple surveys could run into thousands of pounds,” he says. “By contrast, the seller now pays for the Home Report, which is made freely available to all interested parties and can be factored into the asking price of the property. Home Reports have been an invaluable tool for taking the heat and the hype out of potentially over-excited markets because they deal in hard, objective facts. The report’s very objectivity has been a vital factor in crystallising views on value.
“But that doesn’t necessarily mean they should remain set in stone. There is some agreement across the board that Home Reports could be seen as unnecessarily long and perhaps too complex for the lay reader. Surveyors go out of their way, as they are trained to do, to present their reports in clear, concise and comprehensible language, but sometimes there are no alternatives to the terminologies necessary.
“It may also be worthwhile to dismiss some of the more fanciful proposals about the reports. Suggestions there should be discussion between valuer, buyer and seller before a valuation figure is reached miss an important point: the valuation figure can, and should, be accepted by all parties for the unshakeable reason that the surveyor’s impartiality is not in question. In fact, it is this vital role as an independent arbiter that has made Home Reports so universally accepted,” he adds.
“Concerns about the cost of reports are also something of a red herring. Cheaper alternatives may seem superficially attractive but the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has never been more relevant than in this situation. We should welcome the beneficial effect Home Reports have had on the market and be prepared to amend where improved efficiency or usability dictates. But there is no value in change for change’s sake.”