Letter: House-moving hell

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The Independent Online
IN VIEW of your leader ("End the agony of moving house", 5 March), may I assure your readers that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will not seek to obstruct any innovation in relation to the house-buying process which is in the best interests of buyers and sellers? On the contrary it has published an anti-gazumping and gazundering agreement and is participating constructively as a member of the government steering committee overseeing research into the causes of delay.

Lenders are primarily concerned with the security of the loans they choose to make. Of course chartered surveyors are happy to provide the inspection and valuation reports they require, but we accept that where this ratio of loan to value is clearly relatively low they may not need a valuation.

The RICS. lenders and the Consumers Association have, however, long been concerned to advise prospective purchasers that they should not rely on the mortgage valuation report as the basis of their decisions to buy. As Jeff Howell ("Mortgage lenders may drop surveys" 5 March) makes clear, most have not taken that advice. If in future they are not going to have to bear the cost of a mortgage valuation they may be willing - and would certainly be wise - to put that saving towards obtaining independent advice in the form of the RICS/ISVA Homebuyer Survey and Valuation Service or a building survey.

The institution. along with the ISVA and NAEA has, at the Government's request, agreed to review the option that a report on each second-hand property be made available to all interested parties at the time it is put on the market. This, along with public access to prices paid in recent sales, would allow prospective purchasers to make an informed decision, reduce subsequent withdrawals, delays and renegotiation.

PETER McKENDRICK

President, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

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