The Surveyor’s Corner by Tim Hollingsworth Tim Hollingsworth, managing director of leading surveying and estate agency firm Rumball Sedgwick, explains how your local expert surveyor can save you time and money in 2016.

The New Year is traditionally a busy time for surveyors as January is a popular time for house hunters. It is also the time when many of you will be filling in your tax returns and, sadly, it is also the time when many couples want a new start in life and decide to separate and put their property up for sale.

Whatever your reason for wanting to value a property, it always pays to ask a surveyor with proven experience of the market in your area, especially if you need a valuation for inheritance tax (IHT) or capital gains tax.

When it comes to IHT, we surveyors often find we are asked to put as low a value as possible on a property that someone has inherited, so that they can keep their IHT liability to a minimum, but as we remind our clients, the tax man (in the shape of the District Valuer) wasn’t born yesterday!

He can spot a probate property that has been deliberately undervalued a mile off and the last thing you want is for your sale to be held up because the District Valuer (DV) disputes the price bof the inherited property and the tax you owe on it.

For these valuations, our job is to gather as much information about the area and recent transactions as we can, in order to avoid a battle with the DV. We also do all we can to avoid a stand-off between a divorcing couple over the price of their house. Given that Rumball Sedgwick have been carrying out valuations for more than 250 years, you can be assured that we have many weapons in our arsenal!

These ‘weapons’ are invaluable if ever a valuation goes to court. One weapon is our unrivalled database of historic and recent transactions in the area; another is our expertise in valuing land for new development, both of which mean we have a reputation for excellence and accuracy, two professional credentials which the DV values very highly.

Valuation is not an exact science, but rather an art. If you were to ask a computer what is two plus two, the answer would be four. When you ask a property valuer, the answer could be three or five. What matters is that the valuer is familiar with the area and sufficiently well informed to give a value that is fair and reasonable.

Whether you require a valuation for Inheritance Tax (probate), Capital Gains Tax or for a matrimonial dispute, we at Rumball Sedgwick can promise you the professional service you expect and deserve.

Rumball Sedgwick has offices in Watford and St Albans. If you need a survey or valuation, please contact Tim Hollingsworth on 01923 200096 or