Buyer wants money off following survey - what to do?(64 Posts)
Our buyer has had a survey, electrical survey, and 2 builders round to check our 1920s house. Following all these checks, buyer has asked for £5000 off but says house needs £10000 of work doing. I've asked for the detailed quotes but am not sure what the etiquette is with this type of scenario? Do you pay for essential work but not non essential as I suspect not all of it is urgent, essential work.
We asked for money off when our survey came back saying the roof needed to be fixed. The sellers gave it to us but it turns out the surveyors were really only just covering themselves (we were first time buyers) and the roof was fine. But it was a gesture of goodwill from the sellers that we really appreciated (even if I do feel a bit guilty now!)
no expert in these matters, but I'd say if it was unforseen AND urgent work, knock money off- but if by nature it's not urgent and the sort of problem that could reasonably be expected in a house of that age, tell them to poke it
I would say that if the survey said something was urgent and essential for safety or the maintained waterproofness of the house (eg urgent reroof, re do electrics as they're all faulty and a fire hazard, deal with rising damp), yes, would be sensible to give on those. However, surveyors have a tendency to suggest things need doing to cover themselves (like paint wooden windows which you would presume from general maintenance anyway). Our survey recommended that the fuse box should be updated - we've just done that 9 years down the line - it was old and fairly eccentric, but it wasn't faulty or unsafe as such.
Have you seen copies of the surveys so that you can actually see what's been suggested as being a problem?
Well I have one of the quotes and I would say that is essential work that was unforseen (damp mostly) and if we were staying we would have that done so that is fine and that is for £2000. I want to be reasonable but I don't want to be taken for a fool and I wonder on what basis do you agree to money off, maybe we should just base it on what we can afford rather than what the work is.
Bottom line is how much do you need to sell the house now ? Can you afford to wait and hope someone else comes along ? And even then you might get the same situation.
I guess it depends on how much the total price is - eg £5 000 is not a lot on £500 000, but a lot if you are only selling for £100 000.
The roof has come up actually and a rather large quote is based on the roof needing fixing although I haven't seen this, however when one of the surveyor/builders came round he told me the roof was sound and we certainly haven't had any leaks, slipped tiles etc. Hefty quote for the electrics too - new fuse board and earthing just to bring it up to current standard but electrician himself told me the electrics were fine just needed to be improved to meet new regs.
Mistlethrush, out of interest could you tell me what your quote was for the new fusebox.
(DH sorted it!!!) (Well, I found a builder to do something and DH keeps on asking them to do other bits and pieces that have needed doing for ages, which works for me!)
When you put the house on the market, you set its price having an idea of its age and condition. When the buyers made an offer on the house, they had an idea of its age and condition.
Are the jobs mentioned the sort of thing that would be expected in a house of that age and condition, or are they an unexpected shock that would not have been taken into account?
in essence, a house is worth what someone wil pay for it. Do you think someone else will pay more?
finally, if you give in too easily, they will probably push for something else, and won't stop pushing all the time you keep giving in. It would be useful if you know the actual sale price and condition of other similar houses in the area. Your estate agent should know (though he will always be biased towards a quick sale and easy commission).
Roof - well if the builder has said its fine, clearly doesn't need doing urgently - don't agree.
Electrics - they might not be up to a 'current' standard, but that, again, doesn't mean that there's anything actually wrong with them. Regulations have changed but you don't have to change the electrics everytime they update the regs to stay safe - its just how you should do them now.
Damp - yes, fair enough, you need to get this sorted so agree to that or get a quote for yourself and if necessary agree to it being done before they move.
I mean, I could have said that the dining room in our house needed decorating because the shade of yellow used is a bit too shocking really (although we've ignored it for the moment due to lack of funds) but I wouldn't have been reasonable to ask for that to be knocked off the bill because it would have been nice to have had it done....
Its a nice house and its got plenty of room for an extension so it wouldn't be a disaster if we had to stay because we couldn't agree on the price. So in other words i'm not desperate but I would like to move considering we have come this far down the line.
Thanks Mistlethrush, £1000 for ours seems a bit high then.
PigletJohn, that is useful - thank you. Yes I can see that the unexpected things were probably a shock and I am willing to reduce on those and yes it is an old house and so by its nature will need more work on it. We realised that when we bought it and our survey brought up many things like it needed new windows but we realised that ourselves so only asked for money off for woodworm spraying which was unexpected.
When you go back to them you'll need to provide a view against each of the items listed. However, fundamentally you're in a place where you're re-negotiating the sale price, so it is just like before, i.e. decide what price you'd accept for the house.
Bear in mind that any survey 'surprises' are likely to be picked up in the same way by the next buyers, but 'knowns' (e.g. leccy stds have moved on) should just be accepted.
Is it actually damp? That always comes up - in every survey I've ever had, 5 houses on, and I have never once known it to be an actual problem, just surveyor speak for 'I'm covering my back and I have my magic damp tester thingy to prove that this completely dry wall is in fact sopping wet...' Just saying...
Unless you don't think you'll get another buyer I'd be tempted to play fairly hardball or at least set your own figure and stick to it; they've invested a fair amount so far so presumably want the house. Every house has its issues - you don't want to give yours away because of a few minor ones.
The problem is a lot of naive buyers don't know how surveyors work (covering their own back with any potential problem there might be however remote the likelihood). They take every scare story in the report as gospel and panic.
I tend to feel that if you are going to a house that seems good value compared to similar then the normal issues have already been taken into account when pricing the house and it is a cheek to try and reduce the price more. Eg it needs double glazing - well yes, you can see that, and if it had double glazing the price would be higher.
Hopefully the fact that they have spent the time and money getting this far means they do really want it and are willing to come to a fair compromise.
So anything visible that you could see when you view the house is a no. Unexpected things that really do need to be fixed = yes.
Nelly - I think that would be a fair approach.
Yes, I think that's a good approach.
Throckenholt is right about surveys. When I bought my first flat the beautiful original sash windows that had attracted me to it in the first place came up in the survey as needing replacement because they weren't uPvc and double glazed! I would never have tried to get money off in those circs ( I kept them and having been past the flat recently I can see they are still going strong 17 years later!) but I can see that some people might. Survey reading is a bit of an art unfortunately.
Agree with others. I'd almost expect an old house to have higher damp readings. We got so fed up of this we got our own damp survey done and the result was 'what I'd expect in a house this age' and next time you are decorating you might want to consider xxxx . Nothing was urgent or needed doing immediately.
Electrics ditto - any survey on our property would throw that one up, they are an eclectic mix ranging over the decades, hence the pool cue at the door to frip the switch back when the fuse (inevitable) goes....
yes, electrics work fine and I think the house was rewired in the 80s, its only to bring it up to current regs. (new fuseboard and earthing). Does it all have to be brought up to current regs when you have an extension as I think that is the plan?
If they want to do an extension, its their responsibility to get the electrics up then if that's required. However, if the electricity is safe and suitable to serve the house as it is, now (rather than to upgrade it to current standards which is a different thing) that's as far as it is necessary to go.
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