How to negotiate after a survey...am I being fair?(15 Posts)
I recently had a homebuyers survey done on a 1902 house that we are hoping to buy. When we offered on the house we knew that some work needed doing...new boiler, new kitchen, general updating and we also realise that lots of things get flagged up in a survey of a house of that age. However, amongst other things that i'm happy to brush aside, the survey has found:-
-leaking lead flashings around the chimney stacks, causing internal damp.
-Internal damp in another large area due to another unknown cause.
-the woodburning stove has been fitted by the owner himself and has not been properly lined, leading to a increased risk of fire and carbon monoxide. To get this fitted properly again would cost £1500.
-A faint smell of gas fumes in the kitchen requiring testing of gas appliances before completion.
- A need for an electrical system check due to alterations in the house and the presence of rewireable fuses.
-An internal doorway has been blocked up and another knocked through by the owner himself without building regs. The surveyor couldn't confirm whether loads have been properly distributed.
The EA has discussed these issues with the owner and found he has no certificates for any of these things and is unwilling to budge in any way. He said that rather than renegotiate on price or have the woodburner refitted safely, he would just take the unfit it and take it away.
I really want to be fair with all this, but all the potential expense is really adding up and taking us to a level where we could have just looked at more expensive houses that don't need the work and inconvenience of this one. Is all this to be expected or is the owner being unreasonable in not budging in any way?
quite a lot of law-breaking here and some dangerous items.
rewireable fuses are not dangerous in themselves - they are in every house that hasn't switched to RCDs yet, including mine, but the evident woodburner bodge and the smell of gas are big signs that this guy isn't bothered about the law. Any heat generating appliance needs to be fitted by someone with the appropriate 'ticket' (HETAS for the woodburner, gas safe for the boiler) and notified to building regs.
forget fair, this place could kill you either by collapsing on you or gassing you. And with the survey having pointed it all out, you won't get insurance for these problems unless you get it fixed. So either make a much lower offer or run away. If you do buy it, get those problems fixed before you move in.
for once a surveyor has earned his money.
Jeez, a MUCH lower offer? Really? Do I just add up the cost of everything...sorting the damp, gas and electric checks, the money for woodburner refitting and new flashings and take that off from the agreed offer price? And if that's not accepted walk away?
Yes, unless you are prepared to pay the agreed price and pay for all these repairs, indemnities, checks, etc on top. And don't move in until the woodburner, gas and structural issues are fixed.
Have you spoken to your solicitor? Is a lender involved; the lender may take a view. I would get further information on the damp and gas. You maybe able to speak to your surveyor for a bit more information. We spoke to the surveyor about the length of time we had to fix some of the repairs marked as urgent. We also had the electrics tested and had a reduction to cover cost of an rcd as some failures were found.
It sort of depends on your circumstances. Your finances, the price you have secured, how much you love the house and if you can do better for your money elsewhere ...
Don't let him offer to do or organise any of the work on your behalf. It doesn't sound like you can trust this guy and you don't want anymore substandard work going on.
...also be aware that fixing poor work can cost more than doing the job from scratch. My house was apparently painted by a baboon with its arms tied together, and every room is taking twice as long as normal to re-do because of the shoddy job.
After querying the unsafe fitting of the woodburner, the owner has said it was never part of the price and will just take it with them. The solicitor has not yet forwarded me the fixtures and fittings checklist so I have no way of knowing if this was always the case, but I really doubt it. This effectively adds at least a couple of thousand to the price we will end up paying as we will need to fit our own woodburner that we were led to believe was included with the house. The house is most likely still our best bet as there is nothing else around, but I just feel really negatively about it now.
I have to say that the woodburner is the least of your worries if he has been removing structural walls and doing gas DIY.
Fixing all of that isn't just expensive, it could be very disruptive and long term. Especially with an owner who clearly isn't going to be anything other than obstructive. I'd walk away, honestly.
I would get the relevant 'experts' to check things out - although he may have moved a doorway it may be alright and nothing to be alarmed about but they had to point it out. Get the log burner and flu checked by a gas guy and the electrics checked.
Quite often things are not that expensive to put right but it would be a good idea to find out what does need doing and what just needed checking and may be OK.
With the damp - find out what is causing that - roof, guttering or something? Could just be a loose tile. I would also get a roofer to check the flashing - if you only have to get the flashing fixed that on its own may not be very expensive.
Depending on the outcome of all this then you could re-negotiate the price if you felt you needed to.
I wouldn't walk away until you have checked things just a little more thoroughly. Good luck.
In an old house there are always things that come up on the survey like blown plaster, sagging joists, possibly damp cellar etc. In those cases I'd say no renegotation as it's part and parcel of an old house.
These things are different however, quite a few of them are about bad/illegal work by the owner and not about just an old house.
I'd be getting a builder to price up repairs and then take that off your offer.
Also consider getting a full structural survey done, and/or elec and gas specialists in to check.
What's the bargaining position each side? Has he found somewhere to move to and needs to sell asap? Are there other houses you like?
If the issues highlighted by the survey will cost a lot of money. We once had a full survey carried on an old house. The survey said the roof was in a terrible state and would have to be completely redone straightaway. It also stated that the old lathe and plaster ceilings on a couple of bedrooms were only being held up by the wallpaper on them.
We went back to the agent and told him about these issues. Now, the agent repeated back to us that the vendor said we only carried out the survey to get money off. We were totally p***ed off with that comment. We withdrew (having lost blasted survey cost). The estate agent then called us and asked us for a copy of the survey as the vendor wanted to see what things were highlighted. We said of course he could have a copy, when he paid us the cost of having it carried out. They didn't get back to us.
The work was going to cost us over £10,000, I believe. Along with all the trouble.
Hmm, I am on another side. I am selling an old house, my buyer's survey flagged up several issues and while I responded to it, I am not budging either For example it said the damp was caused by bad flashings on the roof, while I know it was due to rotten windows which were replaced, only that I have not redecorated. They asked for building regs for removed chimney, which was removed before I moved in, my survey said OK and I took indemnity insurance. The asked for remedial work for open gulley in the conservatory, I said no as it never caused me any issues (it was there before I bought). They asked for building regs for ancient firewalls - wtf? I already discounted price for rising damp though never had issue with it and defo not budging any more. I could not if I wanted to as my mortgage is tight. I consider it part and parcel of an old house. I did not renegotiate when I bought.
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