Lender valuations have always been a mysterious thing. In my experience, as long as they see you as a good bet, valuations usually come in magically at the amount you want to borrow.
My current home was expertly valued, at our agreed price, by a man who drove PAST the house to ensure it exists. No wonder he didn't mention the damp in the bedroom. If I hadn't shelled out hundreds of pounds for him to carry out his 30mph expert estimate, I would have found his technique funny.
But those were the halcyon pre-credit crunch days, and valuers in the current market are an all together more timid bunch. And while I understand that, with fears of a double dip still causing sleepless nights, caution should be king, the valuer sent to put a price on a Victorian end of terrace near Durham may have taken things too far.
Because, according to the Daily Mail, in a move that has to struck fear into the heart of house owners, a Nationwide valuation officer has given the house a valuation of just £1.
And, unlike other newsworthy £1 valuations from the last few years, it's not teetering a couple of inches from the edge of a Norfolk cliff, doesn't need millions spending on it, like Brighton Pier, and is not trailing in the football league tables and up to its eyeballs in debt like Chester City. No, the Durham rental house, which had previously been valued at £120k was deemed worthless because of rising damp and a possible dodgy roof.
Now, unless Poundland is planning to follow Tesco into the querulous mortgage market, such a valuation can only be seen as provocative. Why couldn't the report, which almost certainly cost many hundreds of times as much as the £1 valuation, simply say, 'we are unable to provide a mortgage until x works are carried out.'
Or, alternatively, they could be honest and say, 'Sorry, money lending is so last year. We'll give you a tenner for it though.'