London’s Leading Party Wall Surveyor, Building Surveyor & Third Surveyor – Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB

bruce@buildingsurveyor.london

Bruce, uniquely, provides the combined Building, Structural and home survey which he has evolved as the optimum and ideal Survey for London properties; period, mid-war, non-traditional design, new build, cavity, solid, modern methods of construction etc.

Please provide the full address & post code of the property to be surveyed, its asking price and a photo of the front elevation (estate agent’s link) for a fully comprehensive offer of professional services or email or call Bruce:

bruce@buildingsurveyor.london

07927123469

The non-invasive Building Survey will follow a disciplined iterative methodology and structural appraisal, including advice on loading and foundations to determine the structural serviceability and adequacy of property.  Survey will advise of all possible and probable defects and their causes some of which are contained in the menu below:

What is the value of a Residential Dwelling House?

It is worth what a person will pay who has full knowledge of;

  • The structure and condition of the property and the cost, if necessary, to bring it into a sound structural condition with modern desirable services, layout and décor.
  • The relationship between supply, demand and cost
  • All Risk Yield (what the property will provide in rental pa minus all associated costs)
  • The length of time it takes to sell (release the equity)
  • It’s capital growth per annum
  • Peak, trough and median analysis of the established value and its capital growth per annum (ie in London sell when others are greedy, buy when others are fearful – different rules apply in the different property markets)

Utilising the above there are two main methods of determining value:

  • Investment: Properties can be rented which is a common method of capital   The higher the rent per annum the higher the capital value and conversely the lower the rent per annum the lower the value. The per annum requirement allows for the vagaries of seasonal fluctuations ie seaside properties in latitudes with limited summers.
  • Comparables: It is common for people who do not have the full knowledge as above to compare a property which has recently sold with the property under scrutiny – same location, type, condition, time – this is utilising the skills used to buy for example a pint of beer, a loaf of bread, a car etc.  Comparables are a useful rule of thumb and the following websites will assist and indeed may suffice:
  • https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices.html
  • https://www.findproperly.co.uk/
  • Aberration: Rarely a buyer will aberrantly purchase; such aberrant behaviour should not be relied upon to determine value.

Once a buyer has made an offer on a property they will generally wish to enter into negotiations with the seller (often called the vendor).  The purpose of negotiations is to secure the property for a more realistic price than is being requested.  The buyer should enter into the negotiations initially as a friend as at that stage there is nothing to gain from a different approach.  The buyer should explain that their Chartered Consultancy has advised them that the property requires x amount of works and or is overpriced, that they love the property but they have stretched themselves to their limits but are prepared to move forward without further hesitation if the vendor can reduce the price to the determined realistic price.  From the vendor’s reaction to the buyers opening negotiation the following can be determined:

  • Whether or not the vendor needs to sell the property forthwith (ie if they will lose the property they wish to buy, they have financial difficulties, it is a buyer’s market etc) – in this case they will make a counter offer
  • Whether or not the vendor is in this for the long haul and they don’t need to sell in the short term – in this case they will reject the offer
  • The vendor has other interested buyers, it is a seller’s market – in this case they will play for time by suggesting the Chartered Consultancy is possibly incorrect etc and that his report be substantiated by Building Control completion certificates, Party wall awards, planning consents etc

And from the above the buyer can make their determinations.

Some mathematical derivations follow from the above: 

Structure and condition:  The property requires 100k worth of work;  it is therefore worth 100k less than an identical property which does not. 

No Building Control Completion Certificates, Planning permissions etc:  If these are required and are not in place, the buyer should immediately presume that they do not exist and should waste no more time and allow the cost of regularisation

Capital Growth:  Multiply the previous sale price of the property by the multiplier to find the current value – 1.07 to the power of 20 = 3.87 * ie 350000 = 1.354m

Determine multiplier by:

  • Adding %growth to 1 (ie 1.07)
  • Raise to the power of the number of years growth (when the property was last sold)  (ie 20)

Percentage Growth:  Divide initial value by current value and take the time root of the result (reverse of the above)

Investment:  Rental income = x% of Market Value (yield)

Divide the value of the property by the yearly rental income and you achieve a yield (add/add by quantification all overheads,  maintenance and repair, possible outgoings, reliability of tenant, demand, risk of voids etc and you have an all risk yield). 

Therefore:  Capital Value = (Annual Rental Income / Yield) x 100    

The rental income (yield) will be by demand.  Currently in London the yield is around 3% which gives a 33 multiplier for value – the yield is  determined by demand for such investments throughout the leading world property markets.

ie rental 30k per year, yield 3%, multiplier 33 value = 30k*30 = 900k

Never forget or loose track of the fact that London prices have historically risen by 7-10% over the last 100 years – they double every 10-7 years (respectively) – you double your money every 7-10 years and get a rental and the lower the yield the less risk involved – it’s as safe as houses!

Investment return in extremis:  In extremis (for example renting in remote areas) yield is minimised around 10% which gives a  multiplier of 10 although it is recommended an allowance of up to 15% yield be allowed which would give a multiplier of between 10 and 6.  There are some entrepreneurs who are skillfully able to produce a much higher yield especially for attractive shorefront properties etc however these properties are generally only rented for a maximum of 6 months of the year and will only reap the highest rental for 2 months of those 6

Ie rental 20k per year, yield 12.5%, multiplier 8, value = 20k*8 = 160k

The astute reader will have quickly notices the relationship between yield and the multiplier can be simply remembered as follows:

 1 :100

 2 : 50

 3 : 33

 4 : 25

 5 : 20

 6 :15.5

 7 :14.3

 8 :12.5

 9 :11.1

10 :10

ie the fraction of 100 divided by the multiplier

The two extremes of property value:  at one extreme the property is a financial asset which increases in value every year and gives a rental return higher than any other world investment which further increases its value as investors will seek out and pay a premium for such an investment; it is a world class investment (which can also serves as a home).  At the other extreme it is unfortunately a trap which can only be escaped from by at best a loss or at worst walking away and these choices are only available to those with money available.

Worse Scenarios:  The property last sold for more than is being asked for now, it is a diminishing asset and has no investable growth and therefore you will be unable to sell the property in the future.  This is often the case in areas which have declined, are in decline, which require re-generation or are dependent on government funding – these properties often require expensive repair and renovation.

Equity release:  your asset will diminish if your capital appreciation is less than the interest charged and in time your property will have no worth to you or your beneficiaries.  

Selling your London home to release equity for retirement:  If you purchase a property which does not increase in value you will not be able to sell it/release the equity in it if you need to go into care.

How to fully protect your interests:  Ensure you have the protection of the professional indemnity insurance of a valuation surveyor (and ensure they have full professional indemnity insurance  in place).  Case law allows the valuation surveyor 15% deviation and if they fail in their duty of care you can rely on damages to put you in a position where you were before the loss occurred. 

Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB | Party Wall Surveyor | Building Surveyor | Third Surveyor

 12 Forburg Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 6HS

Chartered Building Consultant Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB
Sarah Vincent
Sarah Vincent
11:41 17 Feb 20
Mr. Spenser handled the matter of a party wall agreement concerning major building works at my property. From past... experience, the adjoining owners have not always been helpful. However Mr. Spenser was able to ensure that we reached agreement quickly and in a spirit of cooperation. He works in an extremely efficient and effective way. He has explained everything fully and clearly to me. Above all, he has provided a stress free and highly professional service. Highly recommended.read more
Stuart Alexander
Stuart Alexander
18:36 09 Feb 20
Bruce’s commitment to detail and speedy response she has meant that he is my go to guy whenever I purchase a... property. I’ve used him twice now and each time found his report professional and extremely informative and useful. Would definitely use again.read more
Rosie Wedderburn
Rosie Wedderburn
20:54 19 Jan 20
Bruce was exceptionally quick to respond to survey request and the survey was conducted speedily and extremely... thoroughly. Bruce organised access to the property via the estate agents (so I didn't have to send lots of chaser emails to either party). Definitely recommend.read more
Mark Lazarus
Mark Lazarus
12:17 16 Jan 20
Detailed survey, organised efficiently. Very pleasant to talk to. Would recommend!
Kimmy's Hands
Kimmy's Hands
19:55 13 Jan 20
Prompt & professional service. Bruce went above and beyond what I had hoped for. I would recommend 100%
Rod Jones
Rod Jones
21:26 18 Dec 19
In August 2019 Bruce Spenser carried out a survey for me on a Victorian flat conversion, to a very high standard,... saving me from a potential bad purchase. He is highly professional and his vast experience is clear. Highly recommended. Subsequently I used Bruce to survey an alternative property in Dec 2019. Again his expertise did not disappoint and this time will result in a successful purchase subject to negotiations etc. Highly recommended.read more
Felipe Castrillon
Felipe Castrillon
12:32 28 Nov 19
Helpful advice answer my questions out of hours and responded very promptly
Samuel Myer
Samuel Myer
10:21 02 Oct 19
Bruce was recommended to me via my brother after he provided excellent party wall service when he had a dispute with... his neighbour and the council. Very happy with the service he provided. He is a fair and just person operating in what can be a very confusing and ultimately exploitative part of the law.read more
Tom Neff
Tom Neff
17:09 20 Sep 19
I’ve met a few true craftsmen in my time, and I can say with confidence that Bruce is one of them. In less than week... of calling him to see if he was available, he had performed a comprehensive survey of a property with a tight time constraint I had put an offer on, sent me a full report, then called me to discuss his findings. Thorough, professional, timely. I can’t recommend him enough. I will be using his services again in the future.read more
Carlo Giovine
Carlo Giovine
09:10 18 Apr 19
Bruce's home survey was excellent, thorough and prompt. Albeit he is roughly 50% more expensive than other surveyors,... his review has been tremendously valuable to us and helped us to potentially save tens of thousands of pounds of works that we would incurred into after home purchase. He discussed his survey in details, provided advice on the overall negotiation process and offered to further review additional documents to ensure our purchase is sound. We feel Bruce has been our partner in this process as opposed to a transactional advisor, simply completing his assignment.read more
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