Despite the credit crunch, the British remain passionate about home ownership. Banks are also in the business of lending money, yet having burnt their fingers with wildly generous lending in the past they are keen not to make the same mistake again.

There is one particular effect of changes in the mortgage market that could affect you if you are currently buying or selling. That is the undervaluing surveyor!

When your property goes on the market, your agent’s job is to secure the very highest price the market will pay. An experienced local estate agent should have a pretty accurate idea of what the market will pay (although beware those agents who suggest a very flattering figure to impress you to gain your property, which then might struggle to sell and go stale on the market!).

Once that figure, or one close to it, has been achieved and a sale has been agreed, the buyer will invariably arrange for a formal valuation to support their mortgage application. However, these valuations are designed to be a safety net for the lender and valuers are increasingly aware of reducing risk – both for their client (the bank), and themselves. They have traditionally been more concerned about the “evidence” of previous sales than they are about what the market will actually pay today –and we are currently experiencing some surprisingly high figures being achieved. .

So buyers and sellers alike, both of whom really do want to move, should be prepared for a slight downvaluation following the mortgage valuation inspection, but not let it deter them. Unless the valuation affects the ability to borrow enough, it does not always follow that the price itself is unrealistic and need not necessarily be renegotiated between buyer and seller.