Santander has moved to knock days off the application process by instructing the valuation on the day it receives a case where the product comes with a free valuation.
Previously, a valuer would be instructed once a case has gone through the underwriting process.
Santander head of business development for mortgages Graham Sellar says: “We are always looking at ways to help make the home buying process quicker and easier for our customers.
“Currently, we offer free valuations on the majority of our products. But we recognize that sometimes purchasing a property can be slowed down while buyers wait for a valuation to be carried out. Which is why we now instruct valuations from day one of set up – streamlining the journey and knocking days of the buying process.”
Brokers say Halifax and Virgin are the most notable lenders that also operate their valuation processes in this way.
Trinity Financial products and communications manager Aaron Strutt says: “It is obviously something brokers would prefer to see. It is definitely a welcome change and brokers will be pleased about this for sure.”
The market has been dogged by severe delays over the past few years, especially in the summer of 2013. A Mortgage Strategy investigation the past two summers showed some of the UK’s biggest surveyors had stopped taking on new business in the busiest postcode areas while others were reporting delays of up to five weeks.
London & Country associate of communications David Hollingworth says Santander’s move may be its way of mitigating against such delays.
He says: “With valuations, one of the issues we have seen is that capacity in the market, which led to some delays. That is clearly the driver here – to speed things up – so that offer times will be reduced.”
In August, Mortgage Strategy revealed Leeds Building Society were piloting a new valuations process that sees it also instruct a valuation on the day it receives an application.