Halifax, Santander and NatWest made the decision to suspend sending their surveyors to value properties that are being considered for the security of a mortgage with them.

This will influence the overall time it takes to complete the house buying process.

Some valuations are being re booked for x3 weeks’ time but event these may be pushed back if the situation has not improved and the Government lockdown is still in force.

However, this gives the banks the opportunity to explore alternative methods of valuing the properties being offered for security for a mortgage by using what is known as Desk Top Valuation or DTV.

This is where the lender gets information about the property from existing sources such as land registry, local estate agents and comparative data on houses in the locality available from various sources.

Halifax said its valuers will contact property owners and estate agents to tell them valuations will be put on hold while the situation is reviewed. Halifax will then arrange to re-book the survey at a later date when the situation will allow. A remote, or DTV, will be used for existing and new applications instead of an internal survey if it is possible.

NatWest has stated they will be operating a similar arrangement. They are working on a range of alternative valuation solutions while the social distancing measures are in place. NatWest has also stated this would mainly involve the expansion of its DTV process. Applications that need a physical valuation will be put on hold from today (25/03/20).

Santander released the following update at around 15.00hrs today and below is a direct quote from their notice email to brokers in the UK (please note that ‘MATS’ is an abbreviation for Santander’s online broker system):

‘Following the latest Government advice, our valuation partners are no longer able to inspect properties at this time. They’re currently contacting agents and property owners to make them aware. We plan to send MATS message updates to you where your clients’ cases are impacted by this. It’s important to note that our valuation partners are not cancelling instructions, but simply placing valuations on hold until further notice. Please note where we can validate the property value without needing to enter the property, this will continue as normal.’

The summary of these announcements means that it will only be a short time before all lenders suspend physical property valuations and surveys until the social distancing regulations and lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

The above said, these are changing times. Lenders are open for business and will look at your individual circumstances so If you’d like to discuss your current situation and seek further advice, call our office 0800 6342 111 and ask for Malcolm.