By implementing some simple processes, members and firms can ensure that they follow best practice procedures as part of their registered valuer status.
RICS has visited registered valuers to identify common areas where, by implementing some simple processes, members and firms could ensure that they are following best practice.
Overall, the findings have been very positive and demonstrated good compliance, with 80% of visits rated from 'satisfactory' to 'very good'. The following findings apply to both the firm and the registered valuer. By raising awareness of these areas, both can raise the level of compliance and continue to improve quality.
This suite of documents is aimed at the sole practitioner and small firm and facilitates the production of documents which comply with Red Book. They provide a framework for setting out the requirements of Red Book.
The terms of engagement and valuation report must confirm that the valuer possesses the necessary skills to undertake the task in hand. Valuers operating in geographic or specialist areas for which they do not possess the requisite skills pose a claims-related risk to the client, the valuer and their firm. Firms and individual valuers should both ensure and document that the valuer is suitably qualified.
Any case file must be able to confirm the independence of the valuer. Firms should use audits or file checklists to achieve this and keep a consistent approach to recording information. Valuers must inform the client of the check – a requirement under RICS valuation standards – and should include a statement to this effect in the terms of engagement and the final valuation report.
Firms and individual valuers should use terms of engagement that comply with our Red Book valuation standards and ensure that a signed and dated copy is always kept on file in an appropriate place. Using a standard template that complies with these standards and is adaptable to specific cases produces a consistent approach and protects the firm in the event of a claim.
Use a dedicated inspection note template so that your notes are structured and all the required information is included consistently. Use file checklists to make sure these notes are always completed appropriately and kept on file. If site notes are unclear, unstructured or insufficient, future questions relating to the scope of the inspection cannot be answered – leaving the firm or valuer at risk of a potential claim.
Keep comprehensive records of comparables on file using a dedicated comparable table template. Having all comparables clearly documented and referenced, together with the analysis and record of how they influenced the valuation, support the valuation if there is a claim in the future.
Use a framework or template for reports and establish a robust quality assurance procedure to ensure that all reports meet RICS minimum requirements and/or client’s specialist requirements. Where advice is not clear, poorly structured or non-compliant with Red Book valuation standards, it can lead to bad decisions by clients and their lenders. Furthermore, it can make defending a claim very difficult due to any failure to follow prescribed standards.
The best files show an audit trail of information from first contact with the client through to eventual report, with reasoning clearly demonstrated. A suitable file checklist approach ensures that this happens on every file.
Firms should use a suitable framework or file checklist approach to ensure all their valuers are working to the same standard. If your firm can provide administrative support, it's good to have a dedicated file manager who can ensure that the framework is adhered to and every task complies with both the firm’s protocols and Red Book valuation standards.
The file must link the comparables with the valuation figure clearly and transparently: set out the thought processes and reasoning used to arrive at the valuation. This will be vital if your firm needs to defend itself against any future claim.
This should always be the final part in providing an audit trail for the valuation figure. The best files set out a clear valuation calculation, including reasoning and process. This will assist in defence against any future claims.