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Are Purchases Falling through due to a Shortage of Surveyors?

Thursday, 19th September 2013 | by: Peter Barry

Many estate agents and mortgage brokers are reporting lengthy delays when it comes to getting surveys completed for properties. Hotspots such as West London are amongst the most affected by the backlog but there seems to be a general lengthening in the time span for survey fulfillment. Although RICS (the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors) is of the opinion that there are a sufficient number of registered surveyors to take on the workload, it seems that the buoyancy of the housing market might be pushing them to their limits.

Buyers are now having to wait up to three weeks for a survey to be conducted on a potential purchase, and whilst this doesn’t necessarily represent a significant delay in the grand scheme of house-buying timelines, for those in a hurry, or those who are buying without a mortgage, it could be the difference between hanging on, or going back to the marketplace to look for another property.

Walking the property tightrope

House buying is a notoriously precarious business, especially when a long chain is involved. Many deals continue to fall through due to the nature of the process, and no one wants to see more sales heading for a dead-end because of survey delays. As more properties come to the market and are placed under offer in increasing shorter times, it’s hard to see how the situation can be improved. Buyers are increasingly aware of the importance of commissioning a survey (even if they don’t always take the advice), which will put surveyors under more pressure as their workloads increase.

How to avoid delays

  • Do your research: start looking for a surveyor at the same time you start looking for properties. As with a mortgage provider, it takes time to research the marketplace and the more knowledge you have before making an offer, the more time you save afterwards.
  • Instruct your surveyor as soon as you have an offer accepted. Your mortgage provider will probably have their own approved company for the mortgage valuation but you can choose to take out a home buyers or building survey with another surveyor – book them up as soon as you can in case there is a waiting list.
  • If you have specific questions or issues you would like your surveyor to look into, have these ready to send when you instruct the company.

Good organisation can shave a lot of time from the house buying process. Although a lot of the administrative issues may be out of your control, you can ensure things run smoothly by having all the paperwork, correspondence etc to hand at all times.