Walking away after a bad survey, have you done it?

(40 Posts)
Preciousbane Tue 25-Feb-14 08:29:11

I'm on buyers support thread, lovely people but am casting the question wider.

Major but fixable problems with survey much to my horror, basically the roof and drains. In the region of 12k. There is also a suspicious crack that the surveyor says a structural engineer needs to inspect. You could feel the draught from outside. Very probably drains related.

Estate agent says he knows vendor won't move on price, it was on for a decent price but not based on needing any major work at all. One of the reasons it was right for us was it was it didn't need anything doing to it.

We have been looking for a house for months, we are not selling so no pressure there. Both DH and I went our separate ways and in the evening laughed when we got together because we had both been back on rightmove in the afternoon. We really liked the house but not so much with all these problems revealed.

MotherOfInsomniacToddlers Tue 25-Feb-14 08:33:38

If they won't budge on price id walk away. Could you afford the repairs if you went ahead?

captainmummy Tue 25-Feb-14 08:39:07

I've been in the same situation - a lovely house, perfect. BUT - their extension was not done correctly and the roof joists were too small, leading the surveyor to conclude that the roof would have to be redone fairly soon.
The buyer wouldn't budge and actually was quite surprised to learn about the defects; he wanted to see the survey (er, yep ok, but I've spent £500 on it and you can see it for half that!)
We walked away - the next buyers (I assume) didn't have a survey)

(House is still standing! shock)

TheArticFunky Tue 25-Feb-14 08:45:42

I'm sceptical about roof defects. When we sold our house 16 years ago we had to reduce the price by £20k because the survey showed an issue with the roof. £20k was a huge deal back then and as we were so desperate to move we accepted the reduction.

16 years later the house has been resold about 3 times and the roof has yet to be done so it can't have been too much of a problem.

MamaDuckling Tue 25-Feb-14 08:52:48

I'm not ashamed to say we have pulled out of two purchases because of dodgy surveys.

Both showed evidence of subsidence, and in both cases the vendors were 'surprised'. We managed to negotiate £20K plus off both asking prices but in the end our mortgage provider wouldn't lend on the properties.

If you love the house, reduce your offer. Of course the EA is saying the vendor won't budge on price, that's their job!

peepingoutofhtetumbledrier Tue 25-Feb-14 08:56:05

I may be being stupid, but (captainmummy) why wouldn't you let the seller see the survey, especially if you're walking away anyway?

bionic77 Tue 25-Feb-14 08:56:25

Yes we've just walked away from a property following a survey that suggested works of around 25k. Roof issues, damp and external cracks. Vendor wouldn't negotiate at all so we've had to walk away. We actually didn't want a 25l reduction, we asked for around 7k but he wouldn't even talk about it. I've just seem on EA website that it is again sold subject to contract so waiting to see if the current purchasers go through with it.

tobiasfunke Tue 25-Feb-14 09:00:50

Yes. We walked away after a survey spotted damp problems. It was all very fixable but having had damp work done in our previous house and the mess and the stour and the replastering and redcorating I didn't want to go through it again.
With those problems OP I would walk away. It always costs more than you think.

Preciousbane Tue 25-Feb-14 09:04:01

The problems with the roof are caused by an extension that was a bit out as such. It means that the roof has large humps that have appeared since it was done a few years ago. Means liable to tile slippage and will eventually need an entire new roof but not immediately. Chimney does need doing and is causing damp in the house. Crack is what concerns me the most and we need to pay for a drain survey. I'm just wondering whether to see if roof will mean they will shift on price before paying out another potential 200 for drain survey and 400 for structural engineer.

The house sold less than two years ago but the current owner did not have a survey and was a cash buyer. It is rented out.

Gut feeling is bad

missmargot Tue 25-Feb-14 09:06:38

Trust your gut feeling. We have walked away twice after bad surveys with no regrets. Even if the seller does move on price it wouldn't necessarily free up the cash to do the work, if you are buying with a mortgage it might reduce the size of your mortgage but not actually give you any extra money IYSWIM.

Yes. It was a survey on a very old, rural house. We had asked previously about the drainage and kept being told that there was a tank somewhere, but the vendor had a quote for connection to the mains of about £8k.

We asked the surveyor to pin him down on the tank location, and it transpired there wasn't one - the house drainage went straight into a river flowing through the garden. The survey tested this by flushing some loo paper down the loo and seeing where it came out.

The surveyor actually stopped the survey at that point and called us to ask us what to do, as he was going to have to put a valuation of £0 on the house because of the unlimited environmental damage liability issue. This was on a house not far short of seven figures.........

Surveyor not survey

hazelnutlatte Tue 25-Feb-14 09:22:57

Yes we pulled out - our mortgage lender wouldn't lend us the money as the survey was so bad (roof bowing, subsistence) so we didn't have any choice.

magimedi Tue 25-Feb-14 09:25:46

Have done so twice.

Once when subsidence was going to be a potential issue (and lots of other problems.)

Second time was on the search results & discovered that lovely orchard the house backed on to had outline pp for 16 houses. (They have since been built).

It is what you have a survey for. OK, you've paid for the survey but it has probably saved you ££££.

If both you & DH are back to rightmove, it's obvious that your heart is not in this house.

Hope you find something even better asap.

LondonGirl83 Tue 25-Feb-14 09:33:04

Yes, pulled out of a house with subsidence. It hadn't been fixed and the owner was in dispute with the council and his insurance company so there was no way we were going neary any of it. They also would not budge on price. It has subsequently been bought by someone else at the price we refused so good for them.

specialsubject Tue 25-Feb-14 09:48:10

trust your gut, your survey and the reactions that you both had!

if they won't reduce the price, walk away. There are problems that need fixing.

Madmog Tue 25-Feb-14 09:53:51

As said by others trust your gut. If the seller won't budge and you have the money, you could suggest a 50/50%, ie reduce the asking price by £6,000 and see if they will compromise. They will have this problem with anyone getting a survey, so may be willing to move while they easily can.

Preciousbane Tue 25-Feb-14 12:55:55

I think a 50/50 split would perhaps be a possibility, If they won't reduce the price we will just walk away. Honestly even if the work that needed doing was the electrics or something it would seem less bad but this is the actual structure that is compromised so much worse.

I appreciate everyone's input on this thanks.

Will update when final decision is made.

thesaurusgirl Tue 25-Feb-14 12:59:11

I've walked away from a fabulous place after a survey revealed subsidence.

I regret it every day. It was fixable and I ended up spending a lot more money on a place without subsidence than if I'd bought the first place and just put it right.

captainmummy Tue 25-Feb-14 13:23:23

I'd walk away - there will be other houses. I'm not afraid of building works, but major problems....? No.

peepingoutofhtetumbledrier - why wouldn't i show my survey to the houseseller? Why should I? I paid £500 for it, the contract was between me and the surveyor. If the seller wanted to know what was in it, I offered him a copy - for £250. Or he could commission his own. In the end I think he decided that if he didn't have sight of it he could claim total ignorance of any problems.

exexpat Tue 25-Feb-14 13:27:29

I've walked away after a bad survey and also when pre-purchase investigations revealed problems with the management company in a block of flats. Did not regret either - found somewhere much better without any of the complications.

HelpfulChap Tue 25-Feb-14 13:28:21

Walk away. I have done it on the surveyors recommendation, was gutted at the time but it all worked out in the end.

Subsidence is not insurmountable though - if you get the property at the right price. They have new techniques for fixing it was are a lot easier than the old 'concrete pile' method used previously.

exexpat Tue 25-Feb-14 13:29:15

In the OP's case, even if the seller came down massively in price I probably wouldn't go for it because of the possible implications for insurance etc of having structural problems. You don't want to end up with massive repair bills and an uninsurable house.

captainmummy Tue 25-Feb-14 13:33:18

Incidentally - I then bought a house with 'subsidence' problems - these were traced to 6 crowded trees in the garden that had infiltrated the drainrun and caused it to collapse. The problems were rectified, but insurers see 'subsidence' and either run away screaming or pile on the loadings. i tried to get the claim changed from 'subsidence' to 'tree root damage' but to no avail.

Bilboboyandgirl Tue 25-Feb-14 13:41:47

I have a flat up for sale, it has been "sold subject to contract" 3 times. It has had 3 surveys all contradicted each other. There is not a common problem. Eg One said it had damp. The other 2 said no damp.

Who's to say the next survey won't say something different

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