Walking away after a bad survey, have you done it?(40 Posts)
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 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.
"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.
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!)
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.
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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Join the discussion
Please login first.