A guide to mortgage valuations during the coronavirus pandemic
The mortgaged property (which may be your home) may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage
When you remortgage or sell your property, a mortgage valuation is an important part of the process. So we want to let you know what you can expect from this during the coronavirus pandemic.
What's a mortgage valuation used for?
A mortgage valuation is usually only for our purposes, as we’re the lender. It’s so that we can check the property to make sure it provides appropriate security for the mortgage.
The valuation report provides information about the property and the factors affecting its price. But bear in mind that it doesn’t advise on the condition of the property in any detail, so it’s not a substitute for a full property survey. If this is what you’re looking for, then you should consider getting a survey done.
Coronavirus: what's changed?
To get the lowdown what’s changed, we spoke to Rebecca Freeman FRICS, Technical Director at Countrywide, the company that carries out our valuations. Here’s what she had to say:
The health and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and communities continues to be our number one priority during the on-going pandemic. We’re working hard to make sure that we can continue to undertake valuation and survey work, whilst keeping everyone safe.
We returned to undertaking physical inspections after the easing of the national lockdown. However, we understand that everyone’s circumstances are different, so we’re working with lenders and customers on a case-by-case basis. That way, we can carry out their valuation in a way that’s right for everyone. Here’s what you can expect…
Automated (AVM) and desktop valuations
We can carry out an automated (AVM) or desktop valuation without actually visiting the property. We’ve been helping Leeds Building Society to progress mortgage applications this way throughout the pandemic.
With an AVM, we input some basic information into a sophisticated computer generated model. It uses a range of data to give an indicative valuation, plus a measure of its accuracy, called a Confidence Level. We’ll only carry out an AVM when the Confidence Level is high.
Desktop valuations are completed by a qualified surveyor. The surveyor uses extensive third party data, online images and their professional judgement to provide an indicative valuation. It’s worth bearing in mind that the accuracy of a desktop valuation will be limited, because the surveyor won’t be able to inspect the property or its actual condition.
External only valuations
If an automated or desktop valuation isn’t suitable for your property, then we’ll need to visit in person. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll need to come inside. If you need to isolate, we’ll take this into account – and we may offer an external only valuation.
In these types of cases, we’ll use some of the same methods as the desktop valuation, and we’ll also come and inspect the outside of your property. This will help us to understand more about the location and surroundings – but we won’t actually need to step inside.
If you don’t need to isolate, and an automated or desktop valuation isn’t suitable for your property, then we might carry out a physical valuation. This means coming inside the property.
We know how important it is to keep both you and the surveyor safe. So we’re following guidance from the Government and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to help us with that. Here are some of the measures we’ve got in place:
Before booking a valuation
We’ll ask you a few questions, to make sure it’s safe to visit your property. These include:
- Are you or any of the occupants displaying symptoms of coronavirus?
- Are you or any of the occupants isolating?
- Are you happy for us to enter your property and do you understand that we need access inside your property?
Before the surveyor enters your home
There are a few steps you can follow to help with a safe inspection:
- Where possible, open all internal doors.
- Leave the windows open for ventilation.
- Move any furniture causing an obstruction within your home.
- Provide access to any meter or boiler cupboards within your home.
- If any rooms are poorly lit, turn lights on and open window coverings.
- Where possible, make sure your loft hatch is open for the surveyor to access.
- Where possible, occupants of the house should vacate the property and stay in one area, such as the driveway or the garden, or congregate in one room.
- Remove pets from the property or shut them away safely in the house.
During the inspection
The surveyors have been trained on the measures they should take to keep everyone safe. Here’s what you can expect:
- The surveyor will ask any questions at a safe distance and, where possible, outside of the property.
- Before and after every inspection, they’ll wash or sanitise their hands.
- They’ll wear a fresh pair of disposable gloves during the inspection, which will then be disposed of safely after the inspection.
- They’ll wear a new face mask during the inspection, which will then be disposed of safely after the inspection.
- Where possible, site notes will be completed outside of the property.
- Our surveyors will wash their working clothes every day after work.
Here’s a handy video to explain the details of our coronavirus safety measures.
Please bear in mind that the Government’s measures can change very quickly. Keep an eye on Countrywide’s coronavirus page for the latest information on mortgage valuations.
Want to know more? You’ll find plenty of information about valuations and surveys on Countrywide's website.
This article is intended as summary information only. No reliance should be placed on this article.