Survey nightmare(16 Posts)
I'm after some advice (and possibly some perspective - I don't know!).
I'm buying a 1930s detached house - it's lovely and big and has 4 bedrooms on the first floor and a loft conversion giving a big 5th.
We've just got the survey back and there are lots of reds and lots of ambers, and only about 2 greens.
The biggest red (I think) is that it basically needs a new roof including replacing the 2 dormer windows in the loft conversion. This sounds very expensive. Also the roof is currently tiled with painted clay tiles which are dark green - the rest of the house exterior has green accents too so it might be really weird if we replaced the roof with anything different, hence this might give a huge additional cost to an already big cost.
Other urgent work needed includes:
Drain inspection - there are signs of some bloackages in the survey and we got told they need an inspection
Doors - there are 3 original Crittal (??) external doors whcih are old and rusty and need replacing, presumably a security issue. They link onto the original Crittal windows which we were not planning to replace for 5 yrs+ because in 2013 some secondary glazing was fitted which we were hoping would get another few years out of the windows (some are cracked, all are old obv). Could we easily replace just the doors or does the whole section need doing at once? I can give a pic to explain this if necessary but someone might know what I mean?
Damp - the surveyor noted high levels of damp on some walls and told us to find out if there has been historic damp treatment with a certificate. Presumably if there is a damp issue it's going to have been treated in the past rather than just arrive in the last couple of years?
Beetle infestation! - There is evidence of some in a downstairs underfloor cupboard cloakroom. No idea if this is historic or live, and if there has been treatment etc.
My questions are basically: how much of this sounds terrifying and expensive? The roof might be in the region of 10K I guess - does this sound right? Or more including the dormer windows? So does this mean we could reasonably ask for a £10K reduction in the price we agreed fr the house or does it not work like that?
What about the other issues - we will need to get some reports done to see if there is a big expensive drain/beetle/damp problem - who pays for those reports? And the external doors - again they sound like they could be £300 each plus fitting by retired builder FIL which would be ace, or £2K each plus the need to install brand new windows which connect and therefore push the whole price up to another £10K plus.
We're not yet considering withdrawing from the sale as we love the house and are keen to make it work. Lots of other stuff needs doing like re-plasterboarding ceilings, walls etc, replacing all the guttering, and we're happy to take those on the chin and accept they're costs we'll have to bear. But these huge things we need to factor into our offer price.
Any help or advice would be very very appreciated as I'm feeling a bit out of my depth at the moment. We are seeing the aforementioned FIL in a couple of weeks so will get his opinion then, but he's useless at talking on the phone and we want to have an idea of our plan of action soon so we don't delay the whole chain too much.
I think it depends on what the house was on for, how much below you offered (and was accepted), whether the seller thinks they priced knowing that there was a need to do the roof etc, how many other people were interested (so that the seller is more/less likely to agree to a reduction because there are /are not people willing to step in), what its actually worth. Also you have more leeway if the lender sets a retention based on the survey - i.e. won't lend you the money until the work is done. That way you can claim its immediately required. Does the survey say that even with the issues, its still worth what you offered?
As for the reports - generally you'd pay for them because they are for your benefit.
The key question is what exactly does the report say about the roof? Is it leaking, uninsurable, about to fly off in a stiff breeze OR does it just need redoing at a point which is at your discretion. If the latter then the seller could argue that you could take the discount and not do the work for another 10 yrs.
I re-roofed a bog standard 3metre wide victorian terrace cottage so just front and back for £5k 10 yrs ago. In London admittedly and using proper slate so it could have be cheaper elsewhere. We had a quote as high as £15k.
I would look into getting at least 3 proper roofing quotes asap and I would assume that the loft room would need to be reinsulated , replastered and probably rewired too.
You pay for any reports you deem necessary to help you make a decision on whether or not to proceed. The cost is your risk if you or they pull out.
See if you can a reputable roofer out to have a look and give you an idea of cost. Also try to work out other expenses such as are the tiles made any more for example!
The damp would also be a consideration, anyone with asthma in the family?
Beetle infestation -I would Google this as there are various types some of which are cheaper to treat than others.
Do you have the budget for all this? Could you cover unforeseen items when work begins on the roof, drains etc?
We had a survey done on a house of a similar age several months back and when we added it all up it was very expensive. When you have proper estimates you could re offer and see what the vendor thinks?
I have to say it was very difficult to get quotations from people as the house was not ours (even though it was vacant and we had no problems accessing it!).
sounds a very neglected house. You need proper quotes for all these problems to work out what it will cost.
I very much doubt you'll get a new roof for £10k.
I think with regards to the damp he wants you to find out if any treatment has been done in the past and if so there should be a certificate guaranteeing the work for a certain number of years. If this is the case the vendors can request they come and re-do the treatment because the damp has returned. If they have never had this done or if the guarantee has run out you will need to get a quote from a damp proofing contractor. The same goes for the beetle infestation, before you get quotes check if it has already been treated and if there are any guarantees which can transfer to you as the new owner should any live infestation become apparent.
I don't think blocked drains are usually a big issue, they can probably be rodded to unblock them. You could perhaps try asking the vendors to do this to see if it works before you commit to the purchase.
Another potential issue is that if the property is in a conservation area you might have to check with the council if there are any restrictions on changing the windows and doors.
Other than that does the surveyor say why the whole roof needs replacing? Sounds quite drastic. It might be possible for the roof to be repaired and for you to keep the current tiles and maybe have them relaid if necessary. As a guide we had 2 dormers completely overhauled and it cost £3500 for both, not including the window.
I think though that if you look on rightmove and see what really good condition similar houses sell for in the area, you have nothing to lose providing you can get the house price reduced in line with the expenditure you will have, and providing you can put up with the hassle of getting the work done.
I would call round and get 3 quotes for all of the things listed. The seller shouldn't mind as any other buyer will have the same queries raised. Get proper quotes now and then see what FIL can do to lower those but you need something to work from.
Oh and don't be afraid to ask the surveyor for more information about what he has said (ie with the roof) and ask him to review any additional documentation which comes back as a result of your pre-contract enquiries resulting from his queries.
The good news is that the roof tiles can probably be reused. The bad news is that Crittal doors cost a bloody fortune - way more than £300 each. If they haven't warped and are just a bit rusty, they can probably be saved.
I can't help with the roof thing. But 're: beetles, we had buyers pull out due to a homebuyers report saying our house had a wasp infestation. What we actually had was an empty wasp nest so old that it disintegrated when touched. Those reports can be overzealous on some things.
Check to see if it valued up to what you are paying, too.
Crittal windows are the essence of early C20 houses. I weep sometimes when I see an honest, unmolested Modernist or Art Deco house ravaged by awful PVCu windows...
I would be having some doubts about this property unless you can secure a very large reduction in the cost. Did the surveyor not give any indication of the affect of this survey on the value of the property?
If the damp levels are high the cause of the damp has not been dealt with. Even if there has been works done such as timber treatment this will not go away till the cause is dealt with. Is there an obvious source? (Roof, gutters, worn pointing) The beetles may or may not be a major issue, depends on what type they are. Do you have any more info? The roof will be a major cost, probably 10k ish depending where you are in the country plus extra for the dormers. Crittal doors will cost a fortune to replace, probably cheaper (but nowhere near as nice) to replace the doors and associated windows with upvc. Drains may be another big cost but that's hard to say without a cctv survey to confirm. I think would be looking for circa 30k off the asking price from what you have said but it's hard to say without reading the full report.
On our homebuyers survey our roof was listed as red (requiring replacement) but this seemed to be on the basis that there were a couple of slipped tiles and a lot of neighbouring properties had been completely reroofed.
4 years on and we've not yet had to do anything to the roof.
So I'd advise getting someone to look at the roof specifically before making any decisions.
Thanks very much for the replies, they're all appreciated. I'll come back with some of the text about roof and also drains when I'm at a computer tonight.
The house is generally in a pretty good state of repair, and the sections abut draft and beetles plus many of the others start with the phrase 'typical for a house of this age' which I think reassures me the house isn't in very bad repair. But I'm wondering if it's going to become a bottomless money pit. We will have 15k of savings after the move so some money to do things plus we'll be saving each month, but we don't have enough to pay for a new roof and new windows and beetle treatment all within the first couple of years.
I'm hoping the purchase price was agreed with a likely reduction after survey in mind. If not we might have to pull out.
I'll be back later with survey report text but in the meantime thank you all for your opinions.
For context house is in Hampshire, asking price 650 and we agreed on 630. No other offers we're aware of but we saw it and snapped it up quickly as we're settling in London and want to move asap, plus there are very few big old houses in the areas we're looking so we pounced when we saw one we liked.
Sellers are downsizing and while chain is agreed and moving forward.
I'm back with text from the report in case anyone is willing to give any opinions based on this:
The main roof is pitched and clad with painted clay roman tiles (Condition rating 3)
Varying degrees of deterioration within the external tiles were noted. This included varying degrees of weathering within the hip tiles includng localised spalling and damaged hip tiles notably within the front right hand corner. The hip irons were largely rusting and localised weathering within the ridge and hip tile bed joints was noted.
Daylight was visible from the accessible loft hatches within the top floor accommodation and there was evidence of historic minor repairs having been carried out internally from the underside of the clay tiles.
Historic repairs were noted throughout the external roof coverings and the roof coverings are considered to require significant further updating.
Although there was no evidence of any water ingress internally there was staining on the plasterboard ceiling provided for the loft room and the roof coverings are considered to be nearing the end of their useful life. It is imperative the roof coverings remain in a weather tight condition where there is no secondary weather proof membrane extending beneath the tiled roof coverings. Further advice from a competent roofing contractor should be sought in respect of the necessary upgrading works although it may be more cost effective in due course to repalce the roof coverings in their entirety. The implications of this should be considered.
All spelling mistakes are due to me typing on my lap, not the report!
What do people think about this - huge scary red flag or surveyor blather?
Update in case anyone is interested.
We have had 2 roofers visit who both said the roof had a good 20 yrs left in it so no need to do anything.
We paid for a drain report which says they're basically fine with a few very small issues, non urgent.
We are awaiting a damp and beetle infestation report which we're fairly sure will say likewise. So the surveyor basically raised loads of things which looked terrifying but aren't a big deal at all.
There are clearly some things which need doing, maybe 10k worth in the first 3 yrs and another 10k in the 5 years after that.
But the house is worth over 600k so no big surprise there.
I hope this is useful and/or interesting to anyone in a similar position. I think I forgot that the surveyor tells you what might be an issue, not what definitely is a problem.
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