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Buying a house and survey has found a good few issues.

(37 Posts)
shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 17:37:39

Hi, I'm sure that this has been done to death, but in your experience how does it usually pan out when, after a survey has been done and various issues found, with the price/cost of repair? Does the vendor usually reduce the price, or get the work done or do they stand their ground and demand the same price? We've found that the cess pit has roots in it (original and old), damp walls in 2 rooms, brickwork on one wall dubious, all chimneys mortar to be replaced and capped (have shrubs growing in them which won't help the damp!), electrics need checking and possibly replacing, tiles loose and broken on roof, no soakaway etc, etc. We're definitely not willing to pay for all of these hidden issues as we're paying top whack for the house already. We are willing to walk away at this point but are feeling decidedly sore about the £2k odd which we've already put into the purchase. Any tips for making the case? TIA

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 17:38:11

Sorry - first sentence makes no sense at all!!!

BeautifulBatman Sun 02-Aug-15 17:41:56

As far as the vendors actions go, it all depends on how desperate they are to sell. If they were prepared to reduce the price to cover the things that need remedying, would you proceed with the purchase?

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 17:45:43

Hi Batman, yes, we would like to proceed but wouldn't without a reduction in line with quotes for the work, or without them doing the work themselves - I suspect the former. I know they've been trying to sell for a long time but they have options and could just stay in the house.

DreamingOfTheBeach Sun 02-Aug-15 17:47:37

Chances are the seller already knew about a lot of these problems.
They were posibley advised by the estate agents of what the value of the house was (excluding the problems) and marketed the property at that price.
You would be well within your rights to reduce your offer given the amount of work needed.
Weather they accept depends on how much they want to sell.

BeautifulBatman Sun 02-Aug-15 17:47:55

Have you got the time/inclination to get a few quotes for the work so you can realistically negotiate a price reduction?

DreamingOfTheBeach Sun 02-Aug-15 17:48:35


shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 17:51:45

Hi all - thanks!

Dreaming - interesting point. The place is in beautiful nick inside although the vendor admitted that the garden was too much for them and was being left for periods. I didn't realise that this also included outside maintenance, which is what the surveyor alluded to on the survey.

Batman - yes, we will as long as the vendor allows access. If not, we'll have to use best guess and add on a bit for unseen probs (such as rewiring the whole sodding house!!)

DreamingOfTheBeach Sun 02-Aug-15 17:54:14

Have you had a full structural survey?

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 17:56:14

Hi dreaming - no, we were advised not to by the mortgage company as it's not over 150 yrs old. They said that most of the issues which they look at in a FS are not physically present in a 'younger house'. Don't get me wrong, the house is not in a really bad state, but is in need of some urgent maintenance in various places. It is essentially sound, as confirmed by the surveyor.

DreamingOfTheBeach Sun 02-Aug-15 17:59:01

Interesting info from the mortgage company.
We bought a 1930s property some years ago, which, after a full structural survey showed huge problems
Roof damage
Celings likely to fall down (one actually did!)
Rewiring etc
We negotiated a price based on these issues.
Without the survey they would not have been apparent.

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 18:00:53

Eek - ours is 1930s too! They've checked for subsidence, roof issues and ceilings and are happy that all fine (the roof is now a loft room so everything is out in the open and obvious)

Pedestriana Sun 02-Aug-15 18:02:41

Depends on how serious an issue it is, and how keen the seller is to move on.

When we bought (just over a year ago) our survey turned up a few issues, one of which seemed fairly big (to do with something structural). However, the house has been constantly lived in since it was built with no repercussions. Our vendor had been let down at the 11th hour, and we swooped in to buy; we asked if they'd compromise on price (they sold for less than they bought for), and they made an adjustment based on the survey.

When we got the structural thing examined later, it was far less serious than the survey had lead us to believe - although it was something that required fixing.

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 18:03:43

Thanks Pedestriana - reassuring!

MehsMum Sun 02-Aug-15 18:07:16

I'd go for a full structural every time: they cost, but they dig up numerous issues and allow you to chat to a builder to get an approx figure for potential repair costs. Even with that list you have, a builder should be able to give you an approx price, though may want to look at the house first.

Once you have some idea what repairs will cost, go back to the vendors, tell them this and put in a revised offer (i.e. what you had agreed to pay less the repair cost). They may of course come back to you saying the house was priced with the need for repair in mind (even if you think it's top whack, the vendor and their agent may not agree).

Good luck!

Rangirl Sun 02-Aug-15 18:09:43

Whether or not you need a structural survey is not something that the
mortgage 's company's opinion is important on,they are only interested in whether it values up to a level that they means they can cover their loan if they have to repossess

In these circumstances I would definitely gets full surveyor or at least take some proper advice
You should get your figures straight ie howmuch you want to reduce the price by to cover the necessary work
From Seller point of view they may feel current price reflects current condition
Is basically a negotiation

shushpenfold Sun 02-Aug-15 18:10:10

Thanks Meh. x

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 02-Aug-15 18:17:45

It can go either way. Sellers may want to do the work, because any further survey .. if u drop out will be the same, or they will get quotes, or you can. Then re negotiate hard .. not just price, but inconvenience.

achieve6 Sun 02-Aug-15 18:28:10

When I sold my old property, the buyer's survey said "electrics old, may need rewiring." I think they just say it after a certain age. There was nothing wrong with the electrics!

the other stuff, I would imagine the vendor knows this too but you will only find out what they are prepared to do by asking. The definition of "need" is always an interesting one. There's a difference between "could do with updating" and "need".

mandy214 Sun 02-Aug-15 18:36:23

Depends on how much seller feels they've already "dropped" the price already. Also depends whether the surveyor said at the end of the survey (after listing the potential issues) whether it's worth what you've offered. It all comes down to negotiation. I think to a certain extent, none of those are particularly significant issues (I'd want the damp checking out and the electrics) but you have to expect with a 19 30s house that there are going to be maintenance issues. You also have to expect a surveyor effectively covering their ar $e by saying other things need to be checked.

I don't think you're in a particularly strong position if vendor is prepared to stay, and at the moment is you don't know if there are actually going to be any significant costs - it might be that they can be easily resolved and it's not worth you digging your heels in and potentially walking away when you've already spent £2k.

anotherdayanothersquabble Sun 02-Aug-15 19:51:31

I think it depends on their position and their perception of your position. We bought a house eight years ago and the sellers refused to budge and unfortunately every point raised was something we subsequently had to spend fairly significant amounts of money on, damp, windows, doors, gutters, pointing.

With all those things in mind, it was probably overpriced but it was still the house that best suited our needs and taste and it was what we wanted.

We have just bought another house, probably overpriced but again, nothing else in the area fits our requirements. Fingers crossed when we come to sell it we find someone who thinks the same, as we did with the last house!!

teacherwith2kids Sun 02-Aug-15 21:18:15

We had this with our current house.

Our offer was, basically 'here is all our money, if this isn't enough, we can't buy it'.

Then we had the full structural survey. We had already factored in total cosmetic re-vamp, new kitchen, new bathrooms, new heating (as all of those were obvious). We hadn't factored in complete re-wiring, complete replacement of the whole water system from the road inwards, nor the complete replacement of every window [the panes, made up of lots of individual square bits of glass, literally flexed in the breeze - hidden when we viewed by lace curtains].

With the agreement of the vendor, we took round an electrician and a plumber [brokered by the estate agent - used ones that they used for their managed rental properties for some 'objectivity', or at least traceability], and used the plans to provide approximate dimensions of windows to a supplier.

Sent the whole lot to the vendor & estate agent as a spreadsheet. As we were very transparent about what was genuinely 'extra' (and I suspect because the vendor, an elderly lady who had moved in when her children were very similar in age to my two at the point we were buying it, had become attached to the idea of us living in it) we had the lower offer accepted. To give you some indication, well before the last housing boom ended, we bought the house for less than 80% of what it was on the market for, mostly through reductions due to work needed.

mandy214 Sun 02-Aug-15 21:26:38

I agree - depends completely on circumstances (of both you and the vendor) so it comes down to bargaining power and whether you're prepared to walk away / if there is another buyer in the wings / how long it's been on the market for.

TremoloGreen Mon 03-Aug-15 00:09:25

Crikey. I never fail to be surprised at the lack of maintenance some houses have had. For so many people, it's out of sight, out of mind, until the roof starts leaking or whatever.

Do you still want to buy the house with all the work? If so, you need to let the vendor know you're considering dropping the rice for remedial works and want to pop round with a few trades and price it up. Then if they agree:

A general builder can give a quote for these:
brickwork on one wall dubious - needs repointing or what? Builder can price it

all chimneys mortar to be replaced and capped (have shrubs growing in them which won't help the damp!) - builder/ roofer

tiles loose and broken on roof - have to say this wouldn't worry me in itself, I would chalk it up to general maintenance of a roof and would budget for it regardless of survey

no soakaway - and no rainwater drains either? I've seen a few 70s houses in my neck of the woods where they just discharge to the ground. One of these houses also had a great big crack next to the drain, between a newer extension and the original building. Pointed it out to the vendor and she had no idea the rainwater was supposed to go somewhere (other than causing subsidence to her new extension) hmm Again, builder can have a quick look, but maybe you'll also have a drainage co out anyway to look at...

cess pit has roots in it (original and old)

damp walls in 2 rooms - what sort of damp? inappropriate plaster? DPC breached? You can usually get a damp/timber company to do a damp survey for free that will give you the likely cost of repair. Chances are your EA will know one as this comes up all the time. They can probably go get the keys and pop round and write you a report without you being there

electrics need checking and possibly replacing - all surveys say this. What do you think? How old is it? Have you seen the fuse box? Old or new style? An electrician might have a look for free and give you a quote but this one wouldn't faze me really.

If you're paying close to asking price, they'd be silly not to agree for a reduction of a few grand to get these things done as they'll come up in any survey. Then again, you can't really underestimate how unreasonable some vendors are, especially older people who've lived in a house for umpteen years, done no maintenance but have $$ signs in their eyes after the EA promises them top dollar... Families and people who have a genuine reason to move are generally more agreeable.

Belleview Mon 03-Aug-15 08:06:57

Some loose tiles and a bit of damp on a couple of walls.. How common is this, actually?!

Electrics may need replacing is just a standard comment for most houses.

The chimneys and the chess pit sound like they need sorting though.

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