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WWYD - bad survey, vendors dragging their heels (sorry, a bit long!!)

(17 Posts)
JumpJockey Wed 06-Jul-11 09:24:42

We had an offer accepted late May on a house being sold by a couple who spent 2 years doing it up (he's a builder, they did it all themselves; extensions, rewiring, fitted a new bathroom, new boiler etc) but then separated so desperate to sell. It had been on the market about 5 months when they accepted our offer which is very unusual in this city (we sold our place in 9 days). They were apparently very keen to get moving asap, but things now slowing down enormously, plus the survey rather worrying:

- bathroom had suffered a major leak into the downstairs because wrong size shower tray was used and tiling 'very poor'; both loos not properly attached to the wall, a lot of pipework done 'rather shoddily'.

- french doors, fitted 2 years ago, the double glazing is already misting up owing to leaks and lock has broken

- there's a 2" step into the back bedroom part of the extension, "with a bit of forethought this hazard could have been avoided" which suggests the work not done that carefully

- a lot of finishing work needs doing, eg most of utility room has pipework still exposed, cables need cutting in etc - this not so bad really, but possibly indicative of fairly crap standards on the rest of the work.

Also, their solicitor has still not received basic things like fixtures and fittings list, despite vendor supposedly saying she had it ready to hand over 2 weeks ago. We're a bit worried now about the extension works, surely if the chap was the builder he would have all the relevant permissions etc to hand straight away? When we handed in our first paperwork we said we wanted to avoid second 2 weeks in August (we're away) and their agent said it should definitely all be done by the end of July. It's a very simple chain as we've sold to FTB. Now the agent is saying vendor wants to have a month's delay between exchange and completion, to find somewhere rented to move into. Chances of us being in by end of the month virtually zero now, but it's important to us as we need to do things like move DD2 into her own room, which we can't do in this house without moving half the spare room furniture out - it would be much easier in new place, and they knew this when we made the offer - wanted it all to be done quickly, and they agreed.

To sum up - they're dragging their heels suddenly for no good reason that we can see, and it's becoming very frustrating. We want to have guarantees that all the work was done properly, and it's quite worrying that they've not been able to just lay hands on it. Is there anything we can do to make them get a move on? We could threaten to withdraw our offer, given the amount of work that the survey showed up as needing doing. The house isn't perfect for us, it was our 'second choice' but is a good size and a good price.

hksi Wed 06-Jul-11 09:36:28

We threatened to pull out a week ago if, within 2 weeks, the survey wasn't booked and solicitor instructed. Well, a week later, draft papers have gone down to solicitor and survey has been done. We would have pulled out so meant it but maybe worth you considering. I'd be unsure about the quality of work done unless you could redo some and still come in on the value of the house.

Zimm Wed 06-Jul-11 09:39:30

Hmmm Do you really, really want this house? A house they have done themselves, badly sounds like a nightmare/money pit. I would certainly be reducing my offer a survey like that! It just sounds to me like you could move in and then face something going wrong every week/month. Would you lose your buyer if you backed out and started searching again? You don't sound that in love with the house to be honest.

LIZS Wed 06-Jul-11 09:49:05

Depends whether you want to move there or not really. Sorry but your arrangements for dd2 have to come secondary to longer term plans and you'd be away for at least 2 weeks of any delay. The survey isn't really an issue as it sounds as if most of it could be easily sorted, and the price relfects its condition. The door should be under guarantee and FENSA registered (chekc with local Buildings Control dept). Ask a plumber to have a look at costing the bathroom. By all means give a deadline for exchange but you have to be prepared to insist on it and pull out if they don't meet it. You may others invovled also have holiday plans over the summer so you need to act fairly soon, even if you agree to a delayed completion, or it will drag on to the end of August .

JumpJockey Wed 06-Jul-11 09:57:30

We have already had a builder come and give us prices for finishing up the work, redoing bathroom etc, before we made our offer. He found various things she'd said that weren't true (eg "I think the loft is all floored" - turns out it's not) and we reduced our offer to reflect the cost of the parts of the work that have to be done , not the cosmetic stuff obviously.

We wouldn't lose our buyers, they were happy to wait so they can build up their deposit. The house was always our 'second' in that the price is good (assuming it's not a money pit!) but it didn't tick all our boxes. I looked at 15 houses before we decided just to bite the bullet, for reasons such as getting dd into her own room asap, I'll be back to work from ML fairly soon and we want to move before then, and we didn't want to spend for ever looking fruitlessly.

Will definitely call their agent and say they need to get a move on. Are we allowed to go to buildings control and ask to see documentation on a house we don't yet own?

voituredepompier Wed 06-Jul-11 09:59:33

Did the extention require planning permission or to be done to building regs? If so, you could ask the planning department if the building regs were signed off. I wouldn't rush into this if there is a lot of work and would get quotes for the cost so you know what you are letting yourself in for. In two years time, your daughter not having her own room will not matter much, having a house with a lot of problems will.

Your story sound very like the problems we had with our vendor. We bought a house from a 'builder' who has also separated from his partner. He has done a failry bodged job too with lots of things left unfinished (this was partly because he was not going to see the benefit financially of finishing the work as he would only get 50% of any additional price). Shoddiness seems to be par for the course so don't expect guarantees and adjust you offer price accordingly and make it utterly clear that if they don't drop the price, you will withdraw your offer - if they have separated and have had the house on the market for 5 months, they might well be desperate to sell. Also question why you want a house with what sounds like a few problems if it isn't perfect.

Do not show the builder the survey or discuss the valuation with the estate agent. They will use this against you.

JumpJockey Wed 06-Jul-11 10:22:18

We don't know much about the extension at all but I would think it would have needed planning permission given the size of it. I just looked on our council website and they can do archive searches of documentation, but only for the current owner of a house, which we're obviously not yet.

Just spoke also to their agent who says we need to be patient because of 'their situation' ie it could be either of them who will hold any documentation. Not sure that's a good enough excuse! Solicitor suspects either a) incompetence (they can't find the stuff) or b) she might be looking to buy after all, and didn't want to say this at the outset as we'd have been wary of getting into a chain. Apparently this happens remarkably often hmm

Re the price, are we able to adjust our offer again after it's been accepted? Certainly given the extra things that survey has raised, it will cost more than the initial quoite we had from the builder (eg second bathroom needs fixing work as well, loft needs insulating properly, french doors need replacing)

voituredepompier Wed 06-Jul-11 10:50:46

You can adjust your offer until you exchange contracts.

Suggest you ring the council and ask about the extension as they should be able to tell you if it is recent if it has planning consent and building regs sign off even if they can't produce the paper work. In any case, the vendors should be able to provide details of the planning consent, in fact your solicitor should be asking for this and the building regs sign off certificate. If your solicitor hasn't asked for these, then give her a kick up the bum! It is really important you obtain these documents before exchange as without then you might struggle to sell as any buyer would want these assurances.

Also ask to see FENSA certificates for the windows and doors plus any guarantees (some windows come with 10 year guarantee so the poorly fitted doors could be replaced under waranty before sale), any sign off certificates from an authorised electrician for any rewiring work. If certificates for wiring aren't available, then get an electrician in to check the work and ask the vendor to pay the cost.

I know this sounds like a lot of hassle but you are spending a lot of money. You are in the driving seat here as you have a buyer that will wait and a seller who sounds desperate to sell (albeit not doing anything to move things forward)

Becaroooo Wed 06-Jul-11 10:56:48

We had this a couple of weeks ago and we pulled out.

Our vendors had done a lot of work but it was all done "by my mate" and was finished to a very poor standard.

It needed stud walls replacing, new bathroom, here was a bad leak in the bathroom which was affecting the stairwell wall and the electrics needed redoing. Add to that a loos wondow, loos doorframes etc we feel we have dodged a money pit tbh.

Becaroooo Wed 06-Jul-11 10:58:28

And the fact they havent provided the building notice, building regs form and completion certificate for the ext would be ringing alarm bells for me!!!

Dont rush into such a major decision.

Fimbo Wed 06-Jul-11 11:06:52

Tbh I would pull out. My parents used to have someone in their street who loved diy. On the surface it looked really good, but then the moved out and someone else moved in and they were nearly killed because he had removed some important element of the chimney from inside and the whole thing collapsed. It turned into a whole catalogue of disasters thereon in. The poor couple who bought it have had to spend thousands rectifiying all the bodged diy.

Zimm Wed 06-Jul-11 13:40:31

It is quite common to change an offer after a bad survey, I would certainly do so in your case as your offer would not have reflected the issues raised by the survey. But as I said before and others, I'd be very temptd just to pull out, this house sounds like a headahce for you and your family.

JumpJockey Wed 06-Jul-11 15:17:41

Argh we really don't know! We came to like the house a lot, as it gets us a lot of room fir our money, plus a big garden, everything else I looked at was at least 20% more for the same amount/less space (though closer to city centre and work). Maybe the price reflects the iffiness!

So if we can get them to provide full planning permission/buildings regs approval, guarantees on electrics, windows etc, and drop the price owing to issues in the survey, would it still be worth the stress? It is a good house otherwise, the extension is what sold it to us (big kitchen diner plus decent 3rd bedroom upstairs)... I don't want to end up having to start the whole search again as it was pretty mad, good houses in this city tend to go within a couple of weeks so really you have to spend ages checking rightmove.

Fimbo Wed 06-Jul-11 16:42:14

Surely you are not going to settle for just any old thing so you don't need to "spend ages checking rightmove". Your money and all that though.

LIZS Wed 06-Jul-11 16:46:00

Your solicitor shouldn't let you exchange without proof of pp and buidlings regs, or an indemnity policy to cover what is missing. On our council website you can search by address for any submissions to plannign and/or buidlign control over past 5+ years. The FENSA website should also show if the door/window installation was registered.

MissMarjoribanks Wed 06-Jul-11 16:47:49

Planning application files are public documents so you're entitled to view them whether you're the owner or not. Your Council should have a search facility on their website for current and previous planning applications which will allow you to input the address. You can then request to see the file.

Agree that your solicitor should be sorting this though, planning and building regs are a basic part of the search.

JumpJockey Wed 06-Jul-11 18:51:22

The solicitor has been chasing everything, but the vendors are being hopeless at supplying their evidence of things.

fimbo, obviously we're not just going to settle for any old thing - it's a funny situation in that we sold our house in order to be able to offer on a place we fell in love with, which then went to a cash buyer. So we've got buyers, and have been looking for 4 months to find somewhere as good as the first one. They don't come up very often at all, which is why we've been looking at so many other places. We had been plannin g to move anyway, and the first place was what kicked it off, but the rarity of what we want, within our budget, means we're unlikely to find something as good again, hence 'settling' for second best. I'm quite serious in saying that the good houses here tend to be gone within a week.

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