You say potato…

Down valuing has been a blight on our industry for many years. And there is more than a suggestion that it is beginning to happen again. But are surveyors deliberately looking to scupper an otherwise beautiful plan or are they just being responsible?

All of us will be familiar with the scenario: a deal has been brokered where the final lending decision is based on the surveyor’s valuation. Everything has gone well up until that point. The broker is happy; the client is happy; the lender is happy to lend. And then, calamity! The surveyor’s valuation fails to meet the valuation on which the entire case has been based, and the deal collapses. Egg on faces everywhere.

It is typical and perhaps even understandable, in such cases to blame the surveyor for being too conservative, or even out of touch with commercial property prices. But is it really the surveyor who is at fault, or should the broker share some of the responsibility for being a little too eager to secure a deal and failing to do sufficient due diligence from the outset in their original estimation? You say potato and I say potato (although that line probably works better when spoken!).

Whichever is the case, all of the parties ultimately miss out and everyone is left unsatisfied at best and recriminatory at worst. So what is the solution?

Perhaps the most obvious solution is to engage with the surveyor earlier in the process. That way, you can work with them in managing your client’s expectation as regards what is achievable. Work with a surveyor you can trust, who is quick to respond and who can demonstrate a proven track record. Above all, work with a surveyor who can give you straightforward, honest answers to your questions. You might not always like the answer, or the valuation, but you will save yourself considerable trouble further down the line.