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Surveys and trades people - house is a do-er upper

(7 Posts)
Eachpeachpearplum1985 Thu 10-Dec-15 10:42:59

We've just had an offer accepted on a house that is a complete do-er upper. The owner was an old lady who sadly passed away and her children are selling the house. We approached them privately so they're not going through an estate agent and they live about half an hour away from the house.

We're getting a full survey and also wanted an electrician and plumber to go in prior to sale as everything is very old and we want to know what we're going to need to get done straight away. We have a baby and want to make sure its safe before we move in and start using everything! We also asked the sellers if we could get a builder round as we are planning an extension but this isn't as important.

The sellers have said they don't want us to get tradespeople round prior to sale as it is a very emotional time for them. They grew up in the house and I totally get where they're coming from, I would hate that it! They would also have to travel to the house to let everyone in as they don't have an estate agent. They are happy for the survey to go ahead though.

Having only bought one house before which needed nothing doing, I don't really know whether what we're asking is reasonable / normal? We're just very nervous about it all as we basically have no idea about doing up houses and will be relying on tradespeople to do all the work.

wonkylegs Thu 10-Dec-15 10:52:02

Why don't you see what the survey says and then use that as a point to base whatever else information you need and quotes you need to get in order for you to be happy to proceed.
We've never got quotes for work but I know what i'm looking for and can estimate costs /condition as I work in construction.
I think you need to strike a balance between obtaining the information you need to go ahead with a sale and being an awkward pain taking up time and effort unnecessarily.
If it's not going to make a difference to whether or not you go ahead with the purchase then it can probably wait til you move in, if it's going to make a difference to what you pay for the property then it's more understandable to ask someone to go in an give you indicative costs.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 10-Dec-15 11:01:24

FWIW, when we were in a similar position, we were advised that there was little point in getting a full survey. A full survey will not go into the level of detail that you need to properly estimate the costs required. It is more than likely that you will need a full electrical survey, a full damp survey, a structural engineers report etc etc - so the full survey itself doesn't actually add very much (despite the cost) when you know you're going to get all of those specialist reports in any event.

Would the sellers perhaps agree to access for an afternoon - you could like everyone up to come at a particular point and although there would be tradesmen there that day, its only one session.

lalalonglegs Thu 10-Dec-15 11:21:15

FGS, they are being ridiculous. Unless they sell it to a developer who won't pay them as much as you, I wouldn't think, they are going to have to allow a bit of access to the house. I agree, try to get everyone round in one afternoon or morning to make things easier for them if you can but they need to allow you in - they must be aware that you are saving them a shedload of estate agency commission and stress buying privately like this and, if it is the area that they grew up and where their mother lived until very recently, surely they must have a local friend or neighbour that they can trust with the key if they can't be bothered face opening up the house themselves.

Eachpeachpearplum1985 Thu 10-Dec-15 13:23:49

Thanks for your replies! OK, good so we're not asking for anything ridiculous or extreme then! We would try and get things done just on one day but not sure how easy that will be!

It's less about getting quotes (although that would be handy!) And more about safety with our baby and making sure we would be able to do what we want to do to the property if that makes sense?

Moving15 Sat 12-Dec-15 08:51:18

I do understand where they are coming from. If its a complete doer upper and priced accordingly then if you are a serious buyer you should be well informed enough to know the likely work done and the likely costs. If you aren't experienced enough to take this on then it is highly likely that you will get cold feet at some point in the process and lots of time will have been wasted. If they are confident it is easy to find buyers then why would they spend lots of time letting tradesmen in and out at this difficult time just to accommodate you. I think the plan to get some specialist reports booked in for the same afternoon is a good one.

Wiifitmama Sat 12-Dec-15 08:58:08

We are in a very similar position to you, though we are actually buying the doer upper that is next door to our current flat - the other half of the semi! The lovely old lady died recently and her sons are selling to us in a private sale - no agents. They too have an emotional attachment as one was even born there over 50 years ago!

However, they are being different than your sellers. They have given us keys and are allowing us pretty much unlimited access. We have a great relationship with them.

On the other hand, we would not have needed this to know costs. We have builders coming in soon to do quotes, but I have already estimated costs without specific quotes. We had a structural engineers report as the building is very old and has extensive cracking and we needed to know that it was historical cracking and safe (which it is). We also had a full house survey which told us we needed rewiring, etc. From that, we can estimate costs. Large house - full rewire - £7-8K. New kitchen - £12-15K. We have had bathrooms refitted before so know the costs involved. Etc etc.

So for costs, you estimate. For safety reassurance you need surveys.

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