Walking away after a bad survey, have you done it?(40 Posts)
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.
If they won't budge on price id walk away. Could you afford the repairs if you went ahead?
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! )
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.
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!
I may be being stupid, but (captainmummy) why wouldn't you let the seller see the survey, especially if you're walking away anyway?
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.
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.
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
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.........
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We walked away from somewhere when our surveyor said he quite clearly saw dry rot in a corner of the cellar and felt movement in the joists above. Vendor got a "specialist" tradesman round to look at it who said there was no dry rot. We trusted the surveyor as the risk was just too great and there was other work that needed doing. Almost immediately afterwards we found a much nicer house.
I think you really have to love a house to take on the kind of thing your survey has found. It's not just the money, it's the mess and hassle and not knowing what other dodgy stuff has gone on.
We had a surveyor around to look at a crack prior to putting in an offer. The agent kept swearing it was cosmetic and we loved the house, but our "gut" had suspicions.
Interestingly, the agent never asked us about the survey - I assume he knew it wouldn't be great news.
Interestingly #2 the house will be back on the market in summer apparently (it didn't sell last year) after (according to gossip) structural issues are resolved.
Interestingly #3 the next week he agent phoned me up about a similar house down the road. He knew we were seriously looking. We put in an offer before it hit the open market and I'm sitting in it right now so for us having the surveyor around was worth it.
Walk away or reduce your price.
I'm a property lawyer and have had quite a lot of clients walk away because of bad surveys, over the years.
If you can deal with getting the work done (and living in a house with major works going on around you is NOT for everyone, it can be awful), and want to reduce your price, then do offer to show the seller the survey or at very least, the relevant bit - it's proof you aren't pulling a fast one.
I once knew someone who had a very old house. Buyers surveyor went around and decided that despite the house having stood for 500 years it was in danger of collapsing. Buyer then paid for a full structural survey. £600. The structural surveyor came around, had a chat about how much money he was earning because surveyors couldn't do their job, had a cup of tea and had a quick glance in all the rooms then left after 20 mins.
The house has been bought and sold several times since and is still standing.
I pulled out after a survey showed that the loft room had been created by chopping off joists in the roof so it was spreading outwards. Also woodworm, and wall ties needing replacing, chimney needed rebuilding etc.
It was a lovely house, but I wondered if someone had been so stupid as the cut the roof supports away, what had they done elsewhere? The vendor would not budge on the price, and so no chance of sharing the costs to rectify the above.
A bad drain survey would probably see me vanish too.
We were about to offer on a house once and got a call from the surveyor we had engaged. He told us he'd looked quickly from the outside and could tell there was subsidence without doing the survey. He charged us £75.00.
Oddly enough we engaged him for the house we eventually offered on and he gave it a clean bill of health. There was a touch of dry rot at the corner of a skirting board - a leaky downpipe was the culprit but it had been a dry summer. It cost £9,000 to put right in 1995 - half the floorboards had to be replaced as well as half a bay window and we claimed on his insurance. It was all very amicable, we still exchange Christmas cards and he did the full survey on our present house and recommended architects .
We have withdrawn our offer, it is sad but I don't want to buy a house that needs an entire new roof for sure in the very near future. Because even if they reduced price who wants to live in a house undergoing major work. Sometimes you don't have a choice but we did.
We had a dodgy survey back on a house we really wanted. It was up for 150,000 and realistically worth about 105,000
We just walked away because it wasn't realistic.
I wish our surveyor had noticed someone had cut through our roof joists and that our house was spreading. We only found out when they took off the old loft conversion and spotted the walls peeling away from each other.
We discovered cut roof trusses in a new build. They'd made them the wrong size and couldn't be bothered to remake them, so they'd just cut them to fit.
You have done the right thing by walking away. We did the same after a survey showed that a communal drain serving several houses that ran under an extension had collapsed necessitating the drain being manually cleared once a year. Can you imagine having to deal with that annually, at your own cost, knowing that several properties depended on you?
It broke my heart at the time as the house was ideal in all other respects and this was in 1999 when property prices were skyrocketing and houses were being snapped up almost as soon as they came on the market. Also, I was pg with no 3 and we were trying to move as my husband already had a job in the area and was commuting vast distances every day to get to it. All good reasons to grab any house at all, it seemed to me. But the bottom line is, it would have been an awful burden, we would not have been happy doing it, there was no alternative repair within our means, and - and this is the point that you should always consider when buying a property - it would have made it very difficult to sell when we came to it.
In the end, we bought a less attractive house nearby which was ok, we lived there 5 years, but was nothing like as nice as the house we walked away from (but problem free!)
"Both showed evidence of subsidence, and in both cases the vendors were 'surprised'."
In a lot of cases the vendors wouldn't know. Unless it was obvious or the vendor was a surveyor how would they know? When we sold our last house the surveyor noticed a couple of minor problems that we wouldn't have known about. Luckily the buyers were kind enough to point them out to us. We had them rectified and the sale was successfully completed.
We walked away when the survey showed lots of small problems in the house itself but also major subsidence in the garage which was at the end of a communal block opposite the house. We couldn't knock the garage down because it was connected up to the others and the subsidence was being caused by a big tree on an open space next door. It all got too complicated and potentially expensive so we pulled out.
hi yes we have walked away twice after surveys
once was when there was major subsidence and once when we were looking for a holiday cottage and the allocated parking was nothing of the sort and there were also other issues.
a property is a massive investment and we would avoid anything major.
We would have been back on rightmove too!
We have seen another house on rightmove, we alway admired but it was a out of our price range by 30k. It has been reduced by 25k, we are going to chat about it tonight. It is at the top of our price bracket.
Popped in to building society today our mortgage in principle still has almost two months on it so we may go and view this house. It is quite a lot bigger than the house we were buying and it is about 2.5 miles away from DS school and the other was round the corner.
As an aside a friend of a friend told me his FIL lives very near the house that we have just pulled out from and both his house and one neighbours have sunk a couple of inches in the last few years!
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