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This scandalous ruse is worthy of The Cook Report

The problem with the valuation industry is that it’s become too formulaic. Most surveyors work for large corporations and spend their days completing tick box reports which require as much intellectual thought as filling out a lottery ticket.

Their comparables arrive electronically and as a result the valuation becomes an arithmetical exercise. Is this conning buyers or lenders?

Well, it could be argued thus but there is a bigger ruse out there. Bigger even than bottled water, which just has to be the biggest fraud since London Bridge was sold they were getting Tower Bridge.

It’s marginally more scandalous in fact than the great greetings card racket. I recently divorced after 25 blissful years of hand-to-hand combat mostly fought out in the bedroom.

A friend of mine sent me a ’happy divorce’ card, which I promptly tore up and told him so.

Next there will be cards for happy redundancy or congratulations on being sacked. Anyway I digress because the biggest swizzle of the lot is the specialist report industry, particularly timber and damp.

I am as guilty as anyone because I have recommended these reports willy-nilly for years.

But like Paul at the Gates of Rome I am repentant and have seen the error of my ways. The timber and damp industry is the most expensive waste of time since Fabio Capello.

Most timber and damp specialists are nothing more than salesmen and I suspect there has never been a single case in world history where a timber and damp contractor has visited a property and found nothing to charge for.

Of course they won’t – they are there to make money.

God knows how many deals have foundered because inexperienced surveyors have slapped massive retentions on a property as a result of a little inconsequential spot of dampness.

The truth of the matter is that most surveyors don’t know the difference between wet rot and dry rot.

It shouldn’t matter anyway because you value a property in its current condition warts and all.

So if there is a defect the valuation should reflect this.

I have a friend who is a so-called timber treatment specialist and he has a long list of so-called qualifications behind his name to prove it.

He knows as much about how a house is built as I do about whelk fishing in China and he admits it.

His brief when he visits a property is to sell them a new damp proof course irrespective of whether or not the house the needs it and with luck £5,000 worth of replastering which isn’t necessary either.

This business is a complete scandal – where’s Roger Cook and The Cook Report when you need him?

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