An LPMS member recently asked us for an opinion on “what was the Best Practice approach for readdressing a previously issued report to another Lender”. I am aware that different firms have different approaches and the approaches most of us use have changed significantly over the years as we take steps to adopting better practices, so others of you may have varying opinions to my own.
My approach is:
- Identify the client as being the original “instructing party”. Experience has shown that sometimes the “readdress request” will have come via a partner of the instructing person, or from a bank or broker; if so, go back to the instructing party personally (ie don’t act solely off a third party approach). I have had clients express frustration that I wouldn’t act of the third persons request, but they usually soften when I explain that it is for their benefit that we are checking the validity of the request; I have also encountered situations, where the third party didn’t have authority to act.
- Depending upon the time delay since the original report was supplied, check with the client that the property or circumstances haven’t changed; this is so that you can supply advice to the client if necessary. We occasionally got situations where the reports were “some years old” and we were being asked to readdress these, if we felt the report may have “expired” due to lender time constraints, or was dated due to other issues or that there was a change of use of the report, or a change of market, we would recommend that the client check with their proposed lender (or the new party to whom the report was to be addressed) first, to ensure that a readdressed report of that age and type would be acceptable (if not, a full update may be necessary).
- Consider whether readdress instructions in writing or by email are necessary, to ensure the paper trail is valid. If possible, it is preferable to have all requests or instructions in writing, as removes the likelihood of any errors in the readdressing occurring. Take particular care about how they want the readdressed report delivered and to whom; clients occasionally forget what they have asked you to do verbally (ie sending it straight to the Lender before they review it), so detailed instructions in writing give you something to cross check and fall back on.
- Check from the Valuers perspective - is there any conflict of interest in what you are being asked to undertake, or has anything changed from what you were originally asked to do.
- Check - was the original valuation format suitable for the new request (or did the proposed use of the new report warrant a change in anything within the format previously supplied (ie does something extra need to be included into the report format). Contact the client if any report amendments are required, to advise them of this fact.
- Check your valuation figures and your comments in the previous report again (and thoroughly). On the remote chance that you previously allowed an error to slip through (even if it was just a “typo”, or spelling mistake) don’t compound the problem by repeating the mistake and reissuing the defective report.
- The new report itself - Retain the original report format unchanged on digital your files, and make a new / separate copy for the readdressed report (this way you retain exact digital copies of any reports issued; not on single changed copy). Don’t change report dates. In the new/readdressed report add in an additional “introductory paragraph”, stating that the report has been readdressed on the instructing persons authority and that there have been no changes to the report apart from the readdressing and the advisory paragraph (sometimes however, the request means that a mortgage paragraph or additional comment may also have to be added in, in this situation specify exactly within the introductory paragraph what changes have been made (the purpose is full transparency if the two reports are compared. Save both digital and hard copies of the amendments; this produces a paper trail that can be easily followed some time later if necessary.
- Make file notes of all aspects of the request, no matter how straight forward, note any conversations, the date and time when the request was made and when complied with, and also how the new copy was delivered.
- Send off the readdressed report as instructed to the party that you have been asked to forward this to. Confirm by email to the instructing party, that their request has been complied with; and supply them with a digital amended copy of the readdressed report.
I am sure different firms will have approaches that are either similar or hopefully better than that detailed herein; the main point is, in my opinion care needs to be exercised to cover the requested readdress situation adequately (don’t treat it as a rubber stamping); the readdressing request is not an “admin” job for delegation, it needs to be controlled by the Valuer who is signing the report, as they are equally responsible for the content of the readdressed report.