Darren Cleverley, of Fridaysmove's Customer Service team, was surprised last night by the BBC’s "Rip Off Britain" programme that reported the story of Sally and Tim Rodgers and their Home Buyers Survey woes.
£600 for a Home Buyers Survey? Not at Fridaysmove
Never one to put up with a client being ripped off, Darren told us at our morning meeting that he was outraged to hear that the couple paid £600 for a Home Buyers Survey. He was also concerned that the Rodgers had been poorly advised by whoever supplied them with their HomeBuyer Report.
In 2009, the Rodgers bought a home to accommodate their growing family. They debated whether to have their house subjected to a Home Buyers Survey or a more comprehensive Building Survey. When they received quotes of £600 and £1, 000 for the respective services, the couple decided to go with the less expensive option.
Unfortunately, in circumstances that scandalised Rip Off Britain, the Surveyor who conducted the Home Buyers Survey did not uncover mould and rat infestations that were hidden behind the fridge and under floorboards.
Chartered Surveyor not at fault, says ombudsman
The problems left the couple £6, 000 out of pocket and caused them a lot of heartache. They appealed to the industry ombudsman; the regulator, however, correctly ruled against them.
Lewis Shand Smith, from Ombudsman Services, explained that during a Home Buyers Survey the Surveyor will not move heavy furniture or pull up floorboards.
Therefore, he says, it “has its limitations because it depends on what the surveyor can see on any particular day. ”
However, Smith continues, a Building Survey “is much more detailed and may involve opening stuff up and looking more closely at potential defects”.
Scott Oke, a member of Fridaysmove’s Surveyors panel, gave us his impressions of the Rodgers’ case. He said that Surveyors are bound by the type of service home buyers ask for.
When it is impossible to inspect an area for things like rat infestation, he said, Surveyors will use their experience and knowledge “to report a general comment on the likelihood of such a defect and propose reasonable recommendations”.
Rip Off presenter, Jennie Bond, quite rightly said that a more thorough Building Survey would probably have uncovered the rat infestation.
Fridaysmove offer the right Property Survey service at the right price
Fridaysmove offers clients Home Buyers Surveys and Building Surveys. Prices for these services depend on the property’s value. For a Home Buyers Survey to be quoted at £600, says Darren, the property would have to be worth nearly £1 million. For an average property, like the Rodgers’, the price would be closer to £360.
The biggest surprise was how much more was quoted for the Building Survey. Fridaysmove’s price for a Building Survey is only slightly more than for the Home Buyers Survey - £420 for the average home.
“We believe in making the right service available to the right people, ” says Darren. “If they need a Building Survey because the home is older or showing signs of defects, people should be able to afford it. ”
Rip Off miss the Home Buyers Survey rip-off
What Rip Off Britain failed to see, as Darren pointed out, was the real rip-off. The programme insinuated that the Surveyor must have been at fault because he did not report the hidden infestation. This was despite the case being dismissed by the industry ombudsman.
The real rip-off here was not the HomeBuyer Report. The thing that caused the Rodgers’ woes was the wildly extortionate price they had been asked to pay for their Home Buyers Survey which forced them to choose an option that was not adequate for the age and style of the property.