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Reducing offer at survery for damp?

(18 Posts)
twosoups Thu 23-Dec-10 19:57:20

We're buying a house from a lady who is very difficult to say the least. The house belonged to her mother, who died in the spring. This lady is obviously very wealthy and is the sole beneficiary of the proceeds of the sale (in excess of 400k) so the financial side of this isn't an issue.

She's reasonably elderly and has been incredibly rude to us throughout the sale process, for example, agreeing to a return visit after we'd agreed the sale (so we could measure up) then refusing to let us in the front door when we arrived - raising her voice etc. She is refusing to take the property off the market despite the fact we've paid £1000 for survey and searches. I can understand that she is upset that her mother has died and she may have issues with "letting go" but even so, I've never met anyone quite so rude in my life.

The EA is sick to death of her (apparently) as she rings them twice a day. Like us, they just want to get the sale pushed through. As far as she's concerned, the property is still being marketed.

TBH the house needs everything you can imagine. We know this already and we're buying the house at a price that reflects this. It's a good opportunity to create the house we want.

We've just had the survey back and it turns out there's some damp in the sitting room. We haven't had anyone to look at it yet but I'm wondering what advice you'd all give with regards to renegotiating the sale price based on this?

Our current property had some damp when we bought it 13 years ago - we had an estimate for the work and reduced the sale price accordingly. I know this is common practice but TBH this lady has been so nasty to us that I don't want to rattle her cage and jeopardise the sale. On the other hand, if this is a fair thing to do, I feel that her nasty dealings with us is making us too frightened to approach her about the problem with the damp.

The survey also says it needs rewiring, replumbing etc. We were already planning to do this next summer but the survey says it's an urgent safety issue to have the electrics and gas checked out. We have two small children and don't want to be living in a death trap in the short term but I'm worried she'll refuse access to the house for these issues to be checked. She's convinced the place is a palace and has no problems because her parents spent lots of money on it, but unfortunately that was 50 years ago.

Any thoughts?

Avocadoes Thu 23-Dec-10 20:01:29

Has she even accepted yr original offer? Is she supplying the solicitors with the information they need to move towards exchange?

I'm not clear from yr post whether she has even agreed to sell to you.

scurryfunge Thu 23-Dec-10 20:04:06

If you already know there is lots to be done and the price reflects this, as you say, then I think you might be taking the piss somewhat. If you want to wrangle further and delay completing, then go ahead but I would be tempted to realise I had a reasonable deal.

twosoups Thu 23-Dec-10 20:39:45

Yes, she has agreed to the sale. Our solicitors have had the contract etc. We have a date for completion.

Obviously - we've had a survey done!

We are ready to exchange. But her attitude is incredibly rude and sort of bullying and I feel scared to reduce the price to reflect the damp work required because I'm scared she'll pull out of the sale with us.

I already know there's lots to be done, but the damp is new information and we weren't budgetting for that.

lalalonglegs Thu 23-Dec-10 20:44:01

If she's not going to let anyone in then she's not going to be able to sell it - to you or anyone else. If the survey says that the work must be done immediately (and bear in mind, surveyors can be a bit doom-mongering) then I would be negotiating on getting at least two months' rent off the asking price so you can stay somewhere while the urgent work is done. Forget about rattling her cage, she's clearly mental and since the agent doesn't want to deal with her anymore either, she's going to find herself a bit stuck if she doesn't give some slack. Get your solicitor to talk to her solicitor and see if they can sort something out and get the agent to work on her as well. (Incidentally, her own financial position isn't be a factor in the asking price of the house.)

fruitstick Thu 23-Dec-10 22:32:17

We renegotiated due to damp. However there was nothing else wrong with the house, newly decorated etc so we gelt we were justified.

I think if you are buying a doer upper I think you are shakier ground.

However, in the end, the agent was so desperate to complete the sale that he reduced his fee.

We wanted £5k off and settled for £3k, £1k of that was paid for by the agent.

Good luck.

hollynivy Fri 24-Dec-10 19:33:37

We are in same position as you, except the madness of the seller.

Should be exchanging in a couple of weeks but have had the survey back and house needs partial rewiring and damp issues have been uncovered.

We knew it needed work, it is a doer upper and this was reflected in the price, however, would it be fair to renegotiate downwards now?

Have you spoken to the agent or your solicitor about it yet?

twosoups Fri 24-Dec-10 21:26:31

No, Christmas is now in the way!

Rent while we fix the problems might be a good idea.

I know that her own financial position isn't a factor. I just wanted to add that bit in because I knew somebody would be along to say she was an old lady and I shouldn't try to knock money off for the damp!

pippop1 Mon 27-Dec-10 15:56:06

If you really, really want the house and you would be devastated if it fell through then I suggest you cut your losses and just think that you are unlucky.

TDada Mon 27-Dec-10 17:16:18

IT's mostly a buyer's market. There is always another house and the market/economy is soft. We should have been tougher with our seller. You have a few thousand at risk, she has far more at risk. Tell her politely that if sh doesn't take the house off the market then you will have to hedge your bets by continiuing to look. I even recommend that you continue to look so that you don't become too emotionally attached and controlled by seller. Best wishes

plupervert Fri 31-Dec-10 13:25:43

She might not sell to you, if she is pissing about like this. Keep that in mind. Do you really want to buy at this price and emotional cost?

GiddyPickle Sat 01-Jan-11 13:19:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twosoups Sat 01-Jan-11 13:32:25

The negotiated price is in the understanding that the house needs updating and extending to make it a family home.It's a small detached on a big plot so has lots of potential.

The damp is new and unexpected information and we are also having the electrics tested following the advice on survey. The electrics are 50 years old and we know the house must be rewired.

We have budgeted 2.5k for rewiring as we've had a quote from a builder on the assumption that the rewiring is carried out as part of the extension work we're planning to start in the summer. I think it would cost more to have the electrics done without the rest of the building work. Worst case scenario, the electrics are unsafe and the house needs rewiring immediately - much more costly - but could the vendor realistically expect us to move into a house with faulty wiring?

Fiddledee Sat 01-Jan-11 15:57:06

You need to do your budget for all the expected works including the damp. Can you afford to do it? What is your maximum price you can pay and still do the work.

Of course anybody can sell a house that needs rewiring immediately, you just can't move in straight away and need to budget accordingly.

Work out the magic number if its less than you have offered, offer the new price but be prepared to walk away.

This happened to us recently, every new survey showed something new had to be done and we thought it would be a black whole. We offered a lower price, it was turned down and we walked away. EA thought the vendors were mad to turn it down.

twosoups Sat 01-Jan-11 20:02:57

We can afford to do all of the work required, but we haven't budgetted for renting something else while rewiring is done.

If it needs rewiring immediately, I'd like the vendor to have it done before we move in and we'll pay for it by increasing what we are paying for the house.

Can't see her agreeing to it. She doesn't agree to anything though it would be no skin off her nose to do that. She's wealthy and could afford to pay for the rewire knowing we were giving her the money back.

mrshotrod Fri 07-Jan-11 16:39:18

Please don't get scared about the damp. I'm a seller! We've just lost one sale and had two offers retracted on the back of the initial survey that found damp. We thought we'd be honest about it..... We knew it was there when we bought it, it's never been a problem. There is most likely a simple fix for your 'damp'. Just be carefull that those free quotes from contractors don't then say you need £1000 of work doing, you might not need to.
If the house has so much potential as it sounds like it does, I would try to negotiate a little but if you can afford it, and still love it, go for it. This is to be your home afterall. Have you looked at having a proper independant Damp survey done? Would the vendor split that cost? It would be far more thorough and realistic than a free Timberwise etc survey.
I'm bitter...can you tell??
good luck.

minibmw2010 Fri 07-Jan-11 17:01:26

I think, to be honest, if the house needs so much else work elsewhere then I'd have been more surprised if it didn't have damp. I think if she's as difficult as you say I'd just push for completion and swallow the cost. A house like that was bound to have damp or old roof, etc.

twosoups Fri 07-Jan-11 19:54:15

I've arranged to have a damp firm do an independent survey but she's not really keen to let them in! She's already cancelled one appointment with them and refuses to let the EA in so we can only have anything done when she is willing to drive the 20 miles to attend.

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