Valuers – the unsung heroes

I can’t help seeing the similarities between defensive midfielders of the 1990’s, early 2000’s and valuers.

Valuers – the unsung heroes

Jeff Knight is director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans

During a time where there is no live sporting activity to watch, and being an ardent Liverpool fan with a keen eye on when, where and if the season may pan out, it’s difficult not to let the mind wander and wonder.

I miss the game, the artistry and the excitement. I miss the tackles, the saves, the goals and even the humble sideways five-yard passes.

Football is a complex game, and the simple things can often go unnoticed. Take for example the defensive midfielder. For a long time, this was the kind of position which went under the radar. It was classed as the engine room or the uncomplicated springboard for any attacking play to be centred around.

Historically, it was the role where the ‘lesser skilled’ players were given the thankless task of doing the donkey work and putting in a shift to support the defence and supply the ball to the ‘flair’ players who would take all the plaudits.

However, the esteem and value of such players has finally been recognised and acknowledged in recent times. At the heart of any successful team, there is now a great defensive midfielder, and - in many cases - a whole squad is built around one. But why am I banging on about this?

I don’t think I have lost my mind – yet - but I can’t help seeing the similarities between defensive midfielders of the 1990’s, early 2000’s and valuers.

Day after day, they diligently go about their work in an unassuming manner ensuring that the cogs of the housing and mortgage markets keep turning with little attention or fanfare – valuers that is, not the defensive midfielders. And now they are finally in the mainstream limelight.

Following the latest government advice, physical valuations will return in England, although it’s vital that valuations should only take place when property inspections can be conducted safely for both valuers and the homeowner and in a ‘Covid-19 secure’ manner.

This announcement marks a huge stride forward for the mainstream and specialist lending markets. For several long weeks we, at Foundation Home Loans, have not been able to receive new applications because it was not possible to instruct physical valuations.

Naturally, this not only impacted us as a lender, but it also had major repercussions for all lenders, intermediaries and consumers who are in the process, or thinking about, moving home or remortgaging their home or investment property.

The lockdown has had so many knock-on effects which we hadn’t even considered. I am extremely fortunate to have been able to work though this period from the safety and comfort of my own home, supported by my family – most of the time at least!

Others have not been so fortunate. I, and the rest of the industry, should be extremely grateful to all those valuers who are now braving the elements, conducting internal inspections.

It’s a move which will certainly kick start our business and means we now have 250 happy employees. This will also be the case for other lenders and the thousands of intermediary firms who have a raft of clients anxiously waiting on remortgage deals or looking to complete on their dream home.

Valuers really are the unsung heroes of the industry and like many unsung heroes they are only truly appreciated when they are stopped, albeit temporarily, from playing their part.

Inevitably, there is a large backlog of pipeline cases to overcome but now is the time to herald their return. And I hope that the industry, homebuyers and homeowners have a fresh appreciation of their role in the mortgage chain.

Without the diligent preparation work of our valuation partners that has allowed them to return to physical inspections, while keeping surveyors and everyone else safe, we would not have been able to resume our lending business.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to the valuers who are now going back to work, in difficult circumstances, as this signifies a huge boost to so many people. In fact, there are lots of people I am in awe of during this crisis and the list just keeps gets bigger.