Has your house down valued?

10 September 2021

What is Down Valuing?

Mortgage brokers have warned that “down valuing” is on the rise. Which, if true, could mean buyer’s paying thousands of pounds more to secure their dream home. 

Down valuing is where a surveyor acting on behalf of a lender assesses a property and says that it’s worth significantly less than the price agreed by the seller and buyer.

In other words, the lender won’t provide a loan to cover the seller’s full asking price, because their valuation has revealed the property is worth a lot less than what the seller is asking for – and what the buyer has agreed to pay.

Why does down valuing happen?

There are a number of reasons why a devaluation may occur. Here are the main three:

  • Some owners will have an unrealistic idea of the value of their home. Or they may be over-optimistic about the amount of value their renovations have added to their property.
  • Estate agents desperate to get sellers onto their books may provide inflated valuations, which may later be rejected by professional surveyors providing their own valuation to lenders.
  • Lenders concerned about over-inflated prices may be telling valuers to be cautious.

But there are steps you can take to prevent your home from being down valued.

Do your research

Surveyors will compare similar homes that sold in the same area in the past six months to value a property for a lender. This can easily shave tens of thousands of pounds from an agreed price – particularly if the property has had building work, such as an extension, which makes it bigger than comparable nearby homes. 

Renegotiate 

A down valuation does not always spell the end for a sale. As a buyer, you can use this as an opportunity to renegotiate the purchase price with the seller.

Prospective buyers can also renegotiate with their bank or building society to secure a loan that fits with the surveyor’s valuation. Borrowers may be able to save the sale if they have enough cash to either cover the difference or offer a bigger deposit to the lender.  

Push back 

Borrowers are not obliged to settle for the first valuation and often an application can be resubmitted to another lender, with a different valuation agreed. But this can also delay the transaction. 

It is also possible to appeal a valuation with the original surveyor and lender, although this is usually a waste of time. Most lenders will ask for three comparable properties which have sold at the price you believe the home is worth in the last six months. It is unlikely a professional surveyor is going to overturn their decision unless there is something they have missed, like a hidden extension, for example.