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Technology fuels popularity of desktop valuations

20/10/2014

In recent years the technology boom has triggered a rise in the popularity of desktop property valuations. Accurate valuations are required for various purposes and are necessary to determine the rental and sale values of properties such as warehouses and offices.
Technology has improved so significantly that chartered surveyors are now able to view properties with the use of Google Street View and satellite imagery. Comprehensive databases of historical property transactions and availability can be found with a few clicks of a mouse.
With the use of these resources and a decent knowledge of the market, surveyors are able to provide a reasonably accurate estimate of the value of a specific property without inspection. The client is then able to decide whether the valuation will meet their requirements before instructing the full report to be commissioned.
Site inspections are necessary for several reasons. Cost-estimating software models may not pick up on irregular-shaped alcoves or other factors that are specific to a certain property. They may also not be able to detect structural deficiencies which would be noticed immediately by an experienced surveyor during an on-site visit.
However, they are an extensive exercise for a surveyor to undertake, with each report typically involving a property inspection, measured survey, research on planning applications and a review of comparable sale and letting transactions, title documents and contamination and environmental reports. As a result, fees can be relatively high to reflect to the level of work involved.
That’s why desktop valuations are playing an increasingly important role in property transactions. Convenient, cost-effective and popular, they enable the surveyor to gain a solid understanding of the property and its history and they form the basis of useful research should a follow-up site appraisal be required.