Who should be paying - us or the seller's side?(22 Posts)
We are four months into a house purchase where the seller is ill so his solicitor is looking after everything (he's gone into sheltered housing hence the sale).
Our survey came back recently and said the drains were blocked, so we have just paid £250 for a drainage contractor to clear them and give us a quote for the broken loo downstairs and an extra manhole cover for the back garden.
While there, I noticed the back door has been drilled shut. There is also a boarded up window next to it which has been there since we first viewed (looks like a football has been through the window or perhaps a burglary attempt). We thought we'd have to just suck up the window replacement (as we noticed it but didn't lower our price when we made the offer) but now I've realised I think we'll need a new door too as the frame is damaged by the drilling. There is also a side gate which doesn't work properly which will need to have a new lock. We hadn't been able to get access to the garden prior to this and just looked out of the window at it.
Can we realistically, perhaps excluding the broken window, ask the seller's side to pay for these things? EVERYTHING inside the house needs to be done, it is the house of an old man who has not updated anything. The house is pretty reasonably priced for the area (Greater London) but not a steal by any stretch of the imagination - 5k over the last house in that street to sell, last year. We don't want to hold up the sale further by quibbling but at the same time we won't be able to use our back door if we just suck it up and move in as it is.
Should they really be paying for these things rather than DH and I? We are first time buyers and a bit like babes in the wood!
I don't think you should be paying anything until you own it.
It was like that when you viewed it, then was the time to quibble.
Tell a white lie and say that you brought a builder to look at the house and things that you thought were going to be straightforward such as removing the screws from the door, are more complicated than you first thought. I don't know why you decided to unblock the drains , did the solicitor say that you would be reimbursed? It's not your property, so you shouldn't be doing anything to it.
To be honest, though, if everything needs doing, then these bits are going to be pretty negligible costs compared to rewiring, replumbing, new heating system, new kitchen/bathroom, replastering, redecoration etc. Probably, if it is still £5k more than the most recent house sale on the street, you went in too high initially.
But Mythical we didn't know the drains were blocked and the door was drilled shut, that came up in the survey.
They should be paying for it. £250 to clear a blocked drain is expensive though. I used to do it for a job and charged £35!
I would be ringing their solicitor and saying you wish to drop the price by x amount to take into account the cost of a new door, window, etc.
So have you paid for work (drains) on a house you actually don't own?! That is really unusual and frankly a bit of a risk. OK, it was only £250 but still.
If you don't own it, it isn't your responsibility. Unless you have exchanged at the least! What if the seller changes his mind and sells to someone else? Which they can do, until the exchange - nothing is certain.
I think you need to get some proper advice - what does your solicitor say?
if it is an insurance thing, they claim on their insurance if you haven't exchanged.
a new gate lock will be peanuts compared to the cost of a house. Noses and faces...
Lala the survey said we should get a quote for the drains, we probably shouldn't have paid it but I thought I wanted to know if they were fully blocked and just wanted to get it done rather than hold the sale up even more - there is not impetus to hurry as we're not in a chain so our solicitors are taking ages. Feel a bit about the whole thing, I don't have a clue what we're doing and am finding it really stressful!
Think I will ask them to drop their price by the cost of a new door and the plumbing work, the estate agent was very reluctant when I said I'd need a quote for the door. God knows how other people manage all this. I go from excitement to feeling like we've completely bitten off more than we can chew.
You pay for NO WORK Until you own the house . I can't believe your solicitor advised you to do this !!! They sound like an idiot TBH
I assume you made an offer subject to survey . So now you go back and say " the survey shows that essential work will cost £X so we now wish to offer £Y for the house " .
BUT When you say " everything needs done" , I assume you mean new kitchen , bathroom, heating , perhaps wiring and plumbing .TBH , if you have no experience of building projects ( which I'm guessing you don't) , then this is not the house for you .
Are you first time buyers ( you say you are not in a a chain) ?
And you say you " don't have a clue " ?
Seriously , walk away from this now .
In fact, wouldn't it be classed as trespass to do work on a property you don't own, also what would have happened if more damage had been created by doing the drain work. It could be a money pit, if you were getting it dirt cheap then maybe but if you're paying over the odds then something else might suit.
Worth a try cutting the price down though.
Thanks for your help everyone, feel quite clear on the way forward now!
You don't have to walk away from a house which needs a lot of work doing. You just have to be realistic about the time and money and hassle involved in doing stuff.
And also be aware that there's a big difference between stuff which needs to be done and stuff which you think needs to be done.
When I bought this house I felt it needed a new kitchen and bathroom as a matter of urgency as both must have been over 20 years old and very dated. However they were still functional and im sure the seller managed with them ok. I also know that the house was priced accordingly because the kitchen and bathroom and carpets and boiler were ancient and the decor was terrible.
I can't believe that you paid money to unblock the drains! You were advised to get a survey, not undertake remedial work. It's not clear who advised you to do this work, I can't believe your solicitor would ever have recommended it, did the drainage company suggest it - possibly they preyed on your naivety? If the house purchase goes ahead, it's all well and good and probably work you would have needed to undertake anyway but if something had gone wrong and the company had actually caused more of a problem with the drains you would have been in trouble as you had no authority to undertake those works.
With regards to all the other work which needs doing, you should have included this when you made your offer. Perhaps the amount of work which needs doing to the house has already been factored in on the asking price? I know you say it's £5k over the last house to sell but that is a year ago and unless you know anything about the condition and size of the other houses on the street you can't use that as a direct comparison. If you genuinely feel that the house is overpriced now that you have discovered the extent of the work needed, then you could reduce your offer by X amount but that needs to be a round figure rather than adding up the exact cost of a replacement door, gate lock etc and reducing by that. Tbh, that work sounds like peanuts compared to what presumably needs doing to the house so I think you will sound a bit mad asking for reductions for those things on a house which needs complete gutting. I would only ask for a reduction if the survey had thrown up MAJOR items which were not evident beforehand - e.g. if you were told that the roof was sound and it now turns out to need replacing but not if you are told you need to treat the house for damp when there is damp patches visible on the wall (as an example).
Thanks for the input, all.
We are first time buyers/naive etc and I can see now we shouldn't have forked out for the drainage. But one mistake doesn't make us morons so I think/hope we have the nous to figure it all out. I just thought it'd prevent holding up the sale if I just paid for it.
It is just the sale that we're unsure about so once it goes through we'll be OK with regards tradesmen as we'll be able to rely on friends and recommendations.
I found this website really useful www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/a-guide-to-homebuyer-surveys-and-costs
Op, re the drains we have paid for a drain clear: survey. I know it's not ideal paying out before its yours but you want to know how bad they are before committing, our seller didn't want to pay, but we wanted the house. Not crazy at all imo. Also asking for money off for other things you've just noticed...? Why not? They can only say no.
Finally taking on a house that needs loads doing? Does everyone really have building or diy experience before they buy a project ? We've always bought places that need doing up, yes it can be stressful at times but they are cheaper than done up places! Yes they will cost to do up, but you can do bit by bit and in the end you get a house done exactly to your taste. Also I know people who have purchased fully 'done ' houses only to find s few months down the line loads of issues , things that a survey just wouldn't pick up if it all looked fine to the naked eye. I've even known people have issues with new build properties .
When I had my first place I had no DIY experience other than a bit of painting, I'm certainly not an expert but doing stuff yourself is great not least cause you get an idea quickly how hard some stuff is... And how much some (not all) builders take the piss when they quote for work.
Good luck !
I also paid for a drain survey, cost 150 plus if they had been blocked there would have been an extra 50 charge to unblock them so that the survey could be completed. This is not unusual. I called a few companies and they all charged for a drain survey. This was also outside London so 250 in London including unblocking is not unreasonable.
Hang on: just on the door and window, why have these not been fixed by the vendor's insurance? You don't need to get a quote for a new door. I would be seriously concerned that the house isn't insured if these things haven't been dealt with. You should be getting your solicitor to ask that very question, ask what has happened and when the window and the door are going to be fixed. Speak to your solicitor, who works for you, and tell the EA you have done. The EA doesn't work for you and of course wants their commission.
Wowfudge maybe the house isn't insured but that isn't really the OP's problem at tis point? Also there is no indication that the repairs are definitely covered under insurance - the back door may have been drilled shut as some kind of security measure. Given that the OP has been clear that the whole house has not been maintained for what sounds like many years and that it requires complete refurbishment I think it would be mad to ask about fixing one door and window. From the sound of things, ALL the doors and windows may well need replacing.
I disagree - the OP noticed the door was screwed shut when getting the work done on the drains and hadn't noticed it before. If it wasn't like that when they viewed and made their offer and there has been a break in or attempted break in then it's not for the OP to fix the door. You'd also want to know if there was any damage inside.
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