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eric pebble

Guardian: How The Surveying Profession Failed

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Guardian: How the surveying profession failed

Life was easy for surveyors when properties were flying off estate agents' books, but the housing market downturn has raised questions about their role

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2009/...ey-house-prices

Link for you Eric to blog I think you'll like.

http://ourdailydebt.wordpress.com/2009/02/...rse/#comment-14

Apologies to the chap who posted it first but I've forgotten who it was.

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors should be taking a long hard look at itself. How truly "professional" is the work of its members? Who was valuing buy-to-let flats at such absurdly inflated prices? How does a valuation surveyor get it so wrong? And what sort of action should a professional body take against members who have so discredited themselves?

The professional skills needed for the structural element of a home survey will always be essential. But the valuation bit? Clearly the profession failed, hypnotised like the rest of the country into believing markets rise in a straight line upwards.

Valuers live by the maxim that the price of a property is the amount that someone is willing to pay. But this has turned out to be nonsense. In truth, the price of a property is the amount someone is willing to lend you to buy it. Value is not in the eye of the beholder, it's in the spreadsheet of a lender.

Not entirely fair IMO.

Loose credit is the business of lenders, borrowers, politicians, regulators and journalists; the surveying business can only work within the context so created.

The ultimate conclusion of the article (if it went that far) would be that fundamental value can only be established when people are buying with their own money. There's a lot to be said for that, but I bet the article writer wouldn't go as far as calling for a property market free of the distorting influence of debt.

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Good find Eric. I have been banging on about the cosy relationship between agents and surveyors/valuers almost since this website started up, and have posted many many threads about RICS, their "self" regulation framework (haha) and the quite obvious ramping of the market RICS has made a hobby out of in the last several years.

If you look at the 'have your say' responses to the Guardian piece, I reckon more than half come down on surveyors like a ton of bricks.

There are some decent surveyors around, but for the duration of the boom, most of them got a pile of cash for doing no more than holding a £10 damp meter against a wall, then telling you that in their "expert" opinion this property was worth an amount the Estate Agent told them to say ten minutes before they turned up. A Lazy, corrupt, greedy, complacent discredited "profession". Of course RICS surveyors always defend themselves by telling you that "domestic" property is just a small fraction of their remit and a trivial part of their work. Doesn't give them an excuse though.

If you can be bothered search my multiple threads about RICS over the last few years to see examples of them relentlessly ramping the market.

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Guest happy?
Good find Eric. I have been banging on about the cosy relationship between agents and surveyors/valuers almost since this website started up, and have posted many many threads about RICS, their "self" regulation framework (haha) and the quite obvious ramping of the market RICS has made a hobby out of in the last several years....

I can't help feeling a surveyor who offered a valuation which said "in a normal market this property would be worth £150k but given we're in a credit bubble it's worth £400k" would be few and far between.

It was a credit bubble.

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There are some decent surveyors around, but for the duration of the boom, most of them got a pile of cash for doing no more than holding a £10 damp meter against a wall, then telling you that in their "expert" opinion this property was worth an amount the Estate Agent told them to say ten minutes before they turned up. A Lazy, corrupt, greedy, complacent discredited "profession"...

Agreed.

First sign of a problem and they need to consult an Engineer.

Building surveyors are useless!

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People shouldn't need to ask some other bloke what a place is "worth". They should rather consider whether it makes financial sense for them to take on the commitment of paying a loan of the size required.

The whole idea of "valuation" assumes that there is some inherently "right" price, and that someone can magically discern it.

Its a market - a thing is worth what people in general will pay for it at that moment in time.

How else ARE you supposed to know what a place is worth except by looking at what similar ones have just sold for?

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Just another bunch of freeloaders living off the backs of hard working low paid productive workers. Thats the biggest problem with this country, the amount of people who want to earn a decent living, by way of poncing off others, is getting way out of control.

One company takes the work on (through the old pals act) they then take their cut for doing fook all, then pass it down to a smaller company, who then take another lump off the price, and then expect the work person at the bottom of the chain to do the job for more a less fook all. Sorry but Im sick to death of these people. I hope the reccession wipes then all out, I dont care if they lose their jobs, not my problem, theyve been earning off my back for years by way of freeloading

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First sign of a problem and they need to consult an Engineer.

Building surveyors are useless!

If you had read the posts of our resident Surveyor you may have learnt something, sadly due to all the useless white noise on this Forum he gave up the ghost and no longer posts. Even the radical militants on this Forum in the past had great respect for him.

Look up member surveyor for a first class education. ;)

Our Resident Surveyor

Edited by Charlie The Tramp Returns

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I know at least one surveyor, and he clearly can't correctly value property as he overpaid for his house by a massive amount and boy has he learnt a lesson there.

On a more general point, i personally don't think surveying is particularly skilled and in the past has been overcharged.

People who do dilapidations, valuations, condition surveys etc generally overcharge for rubbish overly caveated standard forms. This stuff could use outsourcers from India flown over for the week.

The more important stuff is quantity surveying.

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I'm a surveyor who posted here and I know many surveyors who were equally dubious about the property bubble market in the UK, please don’t damn a whole profession on the basis of an article in the Guardian. The truth is that buyers and investors didn’t want to know; they had hit pay dirt and no force on Earth was going to keep them from the mother load. Possibly the Guardian might want to look at the role of the media in ramping the whole sorry mess.

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Building surveyors are useless!

We had a good one - he was Nigerian.

So was the estate agent and the solicitor come to think of it.

Fully qualified, not like some of these cowboys who are at it now. :lol:

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One company takes the work on (through the old pals act) they then take their cut for doing fook all, then pass it down to a smaller company, who then take another lump off the price, and then expect the work person at the bottom of the chain to do the job for more a less fook all.

This description really hits the mark for me- I've worked in the past on jobs that had so many parasites sucking on them that the budget for doing the actual work was derisory- and the chain of command for approvals insane- was it ever thus, or is this a relatively new thing I wonder?

It also works with deadlines, where the time allocation for the job is eaten away by a-holes jerking themselves off in meetings, to the point where the poor sods doing the actual work have to put in 15 hour days to meet the schedule (agreed by the same a-holes who wasted most of the time anyway)

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I know at least one surveyor, and he clearly can't correctly value property as he overpaid for his house by a massive amount and boy has he learnt a lesson there.

On a more general point, i personally don't think surveying is particularly skilled and in the past has been overcharged.

People who do dilapidations, valuations, condition surveys etc generally overcharge for rubbish overly caveated standard forms. This stuff could use outsourcers from India flown over for the week.

The more important stuff is quantity surveying.

Most land surveyors (the cream of the crop in cp to :building, quantity, valuation and chattel) regard QS's as , "jumped -up brickies".

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Links to this article in the Times in June Realistic Valuations Break Chains

......€œWith builders margins already wafer thin, defensive valuations are piling more misery onto the sector at a time when many were hoping they had seen the bottom of the market.â€

McGrigors says surveyors are permitted a margin of error in their valuations of up to 20 per cent. Valuations which are deemed to be more than 20 per cent inaccurate could form the basis for legal action by the lender.

So how overvalued would you say the properties currently listed on Rightmove are?

20% is quite a large margin of error isn't it with property prices now so inflated.

When property was mostly in the £60000 - £100000 bracket 20% wasn't so bad, but with property now more in the £180000 - £300000 that is quite a large margin of error isn't it.

Ooops sorry its actually worth £60000 less

If EA's know the lender will value 30% under then why are they not telling buyers & sellers? Are they just wanting someone else to break the bad news, whilst turning down realistic offers?

Edited by Sybil13

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People should think in terms of what it is "worth" to THEM, not what some so-called "expert" says it is worth. Who does he ask? The God of Value?

No, all he can do is look at what the ones nearby and the same size, went for, and say "its worth about that, maybe a bit more cos its got double-glazing".

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I agree to the point that when the valuation element is undertaken, the best they can do is look at comparable transactions. I think most og the general public who slate their surveyor, only every had the cheapest homebuyers valuation done and didnt want to pay the extra to get the house properly checked over. There are time when a surveyor has to state "this needs further investigation", but if you have a good one, they can also save people alot of money when it comes to structural defects.

Like every profession on here : bankers - not all are tw*ts,solicitors, not all are crap, plumbers not all go in your wifes underwear draw......

The other professions within the surveying world (which I am in), do play their part in making the world spin, again some are rubbish and some are good. I see the note re quantity surveyors..... well they are tecnically very good, but you didnt see all of those working on rabbit hutch desin new build flat developments decelining the work due to the forthciming social and debt problems of the buildings future mortgage slaves did you?

You cant bash every profession because some in that profession are crap, you have to have some view on life that not everyone is out to get you, some people are actually ok and take pride in their work you know!

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You cant bash every profession because some in that profession are crap, you have to have some view on life that not everyone is out to get you, some people are actually ok and take pride in their work you know!

Some --- SOME -- but not all that many.....

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Surely the surveyer is caught by the chicken and egg cycle. Their valuation reflects the market current at the time. They are not expected to provide analysis on the credit bubble or whether it may fall in the future.

The 300k city centre flat was worth 300k at that time, as idiots were buying them at that price.

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The surveying profession didn't fail at all. They succeeded brilliantly for 10 years in doing precisely what was needed to fund the miracle economy. They succeeded in staying in a job by giving the valuations that would ensure their fitness for survival within the environment they inhabited. They were part of an international culture, simply one component of a system of ideas and techniques that blew up a bubble. Don't blame them if, in their allotted role in the machine, it blew up!

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