The Benefits of a Lenders’ Attitude to Property Surveyance

In the last blog post, we provided tips to help home buyers with a mortgage to ensure security for their Lenders. We discussed how there are huge benefits to hiring a local and knowledgeable surveyor with a good understanding of lending requirements.

But it’s not just homeowners buying with a mortgage that could benefit from this kind of guidance.

Surveyor Services for Cash-Buyers

Cash buyers can also gain an advantage in the property market by seeking advice from a surveyor with a Lenders’ approach to determining whether a property provides satisfactory or unsatisfactory security.

It’s safe to say that most cash purchasers will want to sell their property on at some time in the future. But if they don’t seek out help from a surveyor when they purchase their property, it’s likely that they will be at a disadvantage to buyers with a mortgage as they will not be aware of any inherent issues that would otherwise be flagged by a residential valuation surveyor and cause the Lender to deem the property as unsuitable security. This would not only restrict the number of potential buyers considerably but is also likely to have an impact on the property’s resale value.

In the previous post, the type of construction and location of a property were referenced as factors that residential valuation surveyors take into account when they determine whether it will be acceptable to a Lender or not. Therefore, a surveyor that doesn’t carry out mortgage valuations is unlikely to be able to spot issues that would instantly raise alarms bells for Lenders.

What Constitutes Acceptable Security For Lenders?

Unfortunately, Mortgage Lenders do not have a unified code of guidance as to what constitutes ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable’ security. Each Lender has different views on what is acceptable and what is not. For example, when a building defect or other issue is noted during an inspection, one Lender might require the residential valuation surveyor to immediately decline the property – whereas another Lender would instead require further investigations to be carried out to assess the extent of the problem. If there is evidence of progressive or structural movement, this Lender would perhaps request a report from a structural engineer prior to the release of funds to purchase the property.

Evolving Lender Guidelines

Amongst the many different Mortgage Lenders out there, there are also widely varying attitudes to other potential issues or building defects, including dry rot, re-roofing and electrical re-wiring. As Lender guidance evolves, it’s clear that even attitudes to previously unspeakable issues as Japanese knotweed can change. And that’s exactly why it pays to appoint a surveyor that’s experienced and already engaged in dialogue with Mortgage Lenders.

Surprisingly, this is not a necessity for home-buyers; a surveyor without any working knowledge of Lender guidance can produce a report for potential homebuyers that will satisfy RICS requirements by providing certain information about the condition of property.

But buyer beware: what this report won’t do is protect the homebuyer from issues which may arise when they come to resell the property.

If you’re looking to buy a property and would like to speak to a surveyor with extensive experience of Lender guidelines and requirements in and around North-West London, please call Hilltop Surveyors on 07932 907267 or email info@


Properties Unsuitable for Mortgage Security – and how to avoid them

Sometimes, mortgages are declined on the basis that they are considered unsuitable for mortgage security by some Lenders.

For prospective buyers looking for a mortgage, this is a big deal – but it’s also an issue for cash buyers, presuming they plan to sell their property in the future to others who may also be reliant on help from Lenders to secure their new home.

Guidance from Mortgage Lenders is provided to Surveyors inspecting a property about what they should report on – and it’s on this basis that a property may be declined mortgage funding, sometimes to the surprise of the would-be homeowner.

There’s a range of factors that prospective purchasers should be aware that may limit the future marketability of a property or increase the property’s potential to deemed unsuitable for mortgage security by a Lender. Here are just a few of them:

The Location of the Property

Where a property is located is an important consideration. Non-residential uses in the vicinity that could be considered to cause a nuisance by virtue of smell, noise or unsociable hours may be declined. This is especially relevant for flats that are located above non-residential uses (shops, restaurants, pubs etc.).

The Origin of the Property

The origin of the property within the public or private sector may also be of relevance, as well as any aspect such as shared ownership. A surveyor may be asked to decline a property if they have any concerns about future marketability in regard to these factors.

The Construction of the Property

Properties that have been altered may not be considered suitable security. Where there is evidence of non-conventional methods of construction (as opposed to traditional construction) in a property, Lenders may decline a mortgage. Also, properties with features such as single-skin brickwork/sub-standard walls may deter a Lender, even if this wall forms only a small part of the property. Other construction factors which may be relevant to a Lender’s determination of the mortgage security include properties where there is a ‘flying freehold’.

If the Property is a Flat

There are varying Lender-determining criteria for flats including the type of construction, number of floors in the block, whether the block was originally constructed for the public or private sector, whether the block was purpose built or converted and flats located in blocks that contain or are close to non-residential uses – to name but a few. With converted flats, factors such as the quality of conversion, layout and facilities as well as management arrangements for the block may determine whether the property is suitable for mortgage security.

Of course, the above list of conditions is not exhaustive, which is precisely why so it’s vital for prospective purchasers to ensure that the surveyor they choose to carry out their homebuyers report has a good understanding of Lender’s requirements.

To find out more about Mortgage Lender’s requirements or what to look for when viewing a property, get in touch with Hilltop Surveyors on 07932 907267 or email: info@

What’s Going On in the Post-Brexit Housing Market?

It’s been a turbulent time in the housing market just lately with the UK economy working hard to steady itself in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The Guardian, The Financial Times and the International Business Times UK amongst other publications have reported on the recent drop in asking prices in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

The Guardian has reported that asking prices in England and Wales have dropped since 0.9% since June. According to Rightmove however, this figure isn’t too much cause for concern as a typical July slowdown would be 0.4% – therefore, this figure represents a slight exaggeration due to the impact of the EU vote in this usually quieter time of the year.

Rightmove’s Director, Miles Shipside offered more consolation, sharing that the decline was, ‘within the range that we have seen at this time of year since 2010′. He continues:

With the onset of the summer holiday season, new sellers typically price more conservatively and the average drop in the month of July is 0.4% over the last six years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this July’s fall is marginally larger, as political turbulence has a track record of unsettling sentiment’.

The International Business Times also shares Rightmove’s analysis that the economic and political uncertainty has ‘accelerated a seasonal summer slowdown.’ Another quote from the Rightmove boss, Shipside, seeks to alleviate panic:

“The summary so far, based on two weeks of post-Brexit-vote statistics is that the housing market remains steady, underpinned by the same fundamentals that have led to its recovery since the last downturn.”

The Financial Times paints a slightly bleaker picture, focusing on the capital, where it they have reported that the number of cuts to asking prices in Central London saw a surge of 163% in 12 days after the EU referendum. Despite these cuts to entice nervous homebuyers, no increase in sales has been reported. Completions have seen a downturn of 18% since the Referendum, a figure that’s down 43% on the previous year. There has also been a decline in homes under offer – dropping by 32% from the days leading up to the vote.

It’s not bad news for everyone, though. Managing Director of LonRes, Anthony Payne suggested that cuts to house prices might eventually encourage a return of homebuyers who feel alienated by sellers and overpricing of London property in pre-Brexit Britain:

“People may come back in thinking they are getting slightly better value for money. Whenever markets fall, there is a bite mark at which buyers say, ‘at that price I am insulated from price falls’.”

RICS Predict Short Term Drop in UK House Prices

In their May 2016 UK Residential Market Survey, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has predicted that house prices will experience a short-term drop in the coming months.

In summary, the survey found that:

  • House prices in central London are falling
  • Confidence in UK market is set to falter
  • Demand has dropped by fastest rate since 2008
  • Rent will continue to rise

The report shows that demand has contracted for the second consecutive month, with demand from new buyers ‘falling for the fastest rate in 8 years’ and house prices across the UK showing ‘modest growth, while central London shows a price drop.’

London and East Anglia are expected to be the worst hit in the coming months.

What are the causes of this decline?

Comments from RICS contributors identify several potential causes for the decline, including uncertainty over the upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. There is also an absence of demand from buy-to-let investors following an increase in activity prior to changes in stamp duty in April 2016.

UK housing market: the long-term outlook

Unfortunately for the younger, first-time buyer set, this temporary drop in house prices is unlikely to bring forth the opportunity of a more affordable housing market; instead, the survey predicts that in the long-term the market will return to previous form and house prices will continue to increase year-on-year at a rate of 4.1% for the next five years. And for those renting in order to save for a deposit on their first house? They may be even more disheartened to learn that their rent is likely to increase at the much quicker rate of 4.7% over the same period.

Photo credit: Stephen Richards



How to Be Vigilant on House Viewings

If you’re on your second or third viewing of a house – as difficult as this sometimes is – it’s important to remember not to let your heart rule your head.

Instead, be on the look out for some of the following property problems and then make a list of any issues – you can always ask the seller to fix these before moving day or get your surveyor to give you their honest opinion of the overall property and the price at a later date.

Exterior Walls

Take a look at the outside walls and check for cracks, rotten woodwork and mould.


Obviously we don’t expect or advise you to climb up there to have a look but we do recommend that you take your binoculars along with you to check the roof for slipped or missing tiles. And if you’re able to view the house on a rainy day – great! That means you’ll be easily able to spot leaky gutters and the like.


Poorly installed or aging door locks can affect your ability to get home insurance for your property and therefore it’s really important to make sure that they are up to standard. Nowadays, most policies insist that external doors are fitted with a 5 lever mortice deadlock.


Be as thorough as possible and use all your senses to suss out whether the property you’re interested in suffers from damp. For example: can you see any wet patches on the walls? Mould? Sagging wallpaper? Condensation on the windows? And does it smell musty?


Don’t forget to look up when you’re viewing your house. Watch out for ceiling cracks, brown stains and drips. If you decide to go for Home Buyers Report on the property, these issues might not be as pressing or as costly as you think, but it’s good to be prepared for the worst.


Electrics can be pricey to sort out so do try and switch lights off and on and ask questions about how old the wiring is and when it was last tested.


It might seem a little bit odd to do so on a viewing, but make sure you flush the toilet and turn the taps on to check the pressure and temperature of the water.


If you’re not viewing your prospective property in winter, the seller might not have the heating on – but this is another important thing to check as replacing boiler or updating the central heating system can be another costly job. So ask politely if they’d mind turning it on so you can check that all works as it should.


A quick trip up into the attic will allow you to inspect the woodwork up there and check timbers for rot and any holes or cracks.

What next?

Once you’ve taken a note of any issues and decide to go ahead with the purchase of the property, it’s a good idea to speak with the surveyor who is carrying out your Homebuyers Report and let them know your concerns. Of course, it’s likely that any such problems will be flagged up in their report but it still good to speak with them as they should be able to offer you impartial and expert advice about any issues with the house that could save you thousands in the long-run.