We have continued to enhance services to lender clients and applicants, for example, through roll-out of our Remote Valuation product.
e.surv’s Remote Valuation has revolutionised the industry by offering a faster, more cost-effective and accurate digital alternative to automated Valuation Models and Drive-Bys. Applying the latest iPad-based technology and combining it with the expertise of e.surv’s national network of locally-based surveyors, we developed a solution – now benefitting applicants, lenders and advisers alike. We are actively discussing further deployment of the tool with more lenders.
Our ‘distributed’ Remote Valuation model compares favourably against the alternative ‘centralised’ model, that involves a group of individuals who may be qualified/part qualified, but with no local knowledge. Sophisticated risk-scoring and enhanced risk controls make it a viable option for lenders looking to receive accurate and faster reports, while lowering costs.
As part of proactive growth plans to support lenders and applicants, e.surv concluded a deal with Lloyds Banking Group in September which saw the addition of 200 surveyors and 100 back office staff to the e.surv team, making us the largest and market-leading residential property risk, valuation and surveying business in the UK.
e.surv is the only national surveying firm to report an annual profit since incorporation in 1991. The business is also the most profitable national residential practice in the UK which, importantly, supports our continued investment in services for the benefit of lenders, brokers and applicants. In 2017, Operating Profit Before Exceptional Items was £18.3m – an increase of £3.2m on 2016.
We recognise the central role brokers perform in the market and regularly engage with this community to seek feedback on how we might enhance services, and develop products which speed up applications. We see the broker as the engine of change in the mortgage valuation process.
Our business considers it has a duty to report potential vulnerable customers and regularly brings concerns to the attention of the lender, so the best possible outcomes are achieved. For example, by October 2018 we had reported and acted on 28 such incidents this year, protecting both applicants and lenders alike.
e.surv continues to reinforce our commitment to educate consumers regarding the differences between ‘valuations’ and ‘surveys’ and the benefits of investing in an independent survey report by providing a wide range of informative online content in a variety of formats, such as blogs, features, articles, visuals and videos.
The business advises lenders on future lending strategy and has provided specific advice on trends within the property market, for example regarding risk exposure and opportunities in the New Build Sector.
We see ourselves as an extension of the lender’s risk function and provide report design and advice on general property risk-related matters as they arise, for example fracking, flooding and non-standard construction, to assist development of underwriting policy.
e.surv regularly contributes to debates on emerging industry trends and has increased its range of in-depth technical papers and newsletters, resulting in a 60% increase in website traffic over the last 12 months.