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Buying house with failed loft conversion.

(16 Posts)
Mougly Wed 20-Apr-16 17:44:36

We put an offer on a property in a heated London market. They've had an offer fall through last summer as buyer couldn't get the mortgage so really keen to sell. It's a 2 bed Victorian with a downstairs bathroom. Loft conversion didn't pass inspection but looks like a sufficient third bedroom ensuite. They've taken out the chimney breast and the kitchen bathroom single storey extension at the back has a flat roof with some damp marks on bathroom ceiling.

There is a building control application for Cavity wall insulation with status: INV. Does anyone know what this means? Not sure if it's done or not and on what wall.

Does anyone know what could be wrong with the loft for it not to be approved? Worst case/best case senario? Windows are small but the staircase up is full size.
Should I be worried about the extension roof being flat? And how much can it cost to have the chimney reinstated? We are keen to have a real fireplace.
Can't get hold of the planning office and my experience so far is that they will move on to the next offer if you ask many questions. Really frustrating but feeling lucky they are even considering us with so many people offering on each property. Would Lyon buy a 2 bed house if there was an unapproved 3rd bed in the loft? I believe it's going for a 2 bed house price.

SingingTunelessly Wed 20-Apr-16 17:48:28

First thought is, has the chimney breast been taken out properly? I mean has the appropriate support been put in place? The chimney breast is the supporting structure for the actual chimney on the roof. If it's a DIY bodge job be very wary.

IAmAPaleontologist Wed 20-Apr-16 17:51:53

I wouldn't without building regs unless I had a guarantee that it was something easily fixable like a fire door missing that caused it to fail rather than something more major like joists not being reinforced to take the weight of furniture and people.

BabyGanoush Wed 20-Apr-16 17:54:37

I would steer clear, sorry

BrieAndChilli Wed 20-Apr-16 18:02:13

IT could be that the standing space isn't tall/wide enough to be classed as a room.

PigletJohn Wed 20-Apr-16 18:32:16

It was most likely built without Building Control or Planning Permission. You have to assume that the floor reinforcement, stairs, insulation, fireproofing, wiring and plumbing are all substandard.

A non-compliant loft conversion adds negative value to a house, because you have to budget for the cost of ripping it all out, then doing it again properly.

If you want to take a gamble on it being a proper job and just missing a bit of paperwork, put £400,000 on the lottery. The odds are better.

AppleAndBlackberry Wed 20-Apr-16 18:36:47

INV for invalid? I don't think houses of that age actually have a cavity. I'm not sure about the loft conversion, I'd want to see the report. If you can't then I'd only pay the value of a 2-bed.

Mougly Wed 20-Apr-16 18:44:03

Thank you for all the feedback! I would definitely not buy if the loft wasn't reinforced, that is worst case scenario. The loft is 10'9x7'3 (3.28zx2.21m) in size. The massive bathroom takes 1/3 of the space and the layout needs reconfiguring to work as a room. Possible the standing height/width doesn't qualify. SingingTunelessly- The chimney breast had a building control application with status: approved from 1981, I think it's a proper job but will try to find out from planning office in the morning. They only open for 1 1/2 hour daily. hmm

Mougly Wed 20-Apr-16 18:55:48

The loft had an approved planning permission in 2005 but for some reason got a completion unsatisfactory status in 2006
AppleAndBlackberry Cavity wall insulation is from 2006 but building control application says status:INV. Invalid is a good guess l, think maybe it never happened.

Ragusa Wed 20-Apr-16 18:58:10

Don't be pushed into buying any old shite because the property market is overheated. Any recent work without BR approval is a complete liability. It's cost you at least 50 grand to put right and you'd need worthless indemnity insurance.

lalalonglegs Wed 20-Apr-16 19:15:35

I think it's worth considering if the price is that of a two-bedroom house but it sounds as if you would need to redo the loft and bathroom up there so there's no point paying extra for that. Even if it has building regs clearance it sounds very small so would probably want a dormer to make it usable.

Rangirl Wed 20-Apr-16 19:48:41

Are you a cash buyer? if not you need to know what your Lender's position is

Ragusa Wed 20-Apr-16 19:52:15

Ok I think 2005 is recent enough to be worrying and the fact it had planning but didn't get signoff from BR.... that is concerning.and suggests a bodge job. Do you think the 'couldn't get mortgage' associated with the previous sale might be a bit of artistic license on part of EA?? Or mortgage co did some actual checks and smelled a rat?

The fact there is an application in for regularisation..... mmm, that concerns me. Why would the sellers not wait till the applucation was approved before proceeding to sale??

strawberrypenguin Wed 20-Apr-16 19:53:17

I'd definitely want more details before committing. And yes I'd be concerned about flat roof too - in my experience they always leak.

Ragusa Wed 20-Apr-16 19:56:59

I'm so sorry, I misread: you clearly said the application was for cavity wall and not for regularisation of the main work.

NEVER feel grateful to be considered to buy. It was last summer that the last sale fell through: in London, this is very unusual and suggests some intractable issue with the property.

Ifailed Thu 21-Apr-16 07:42:15

I would present all the info you have to some insurance companies and ask for a quote for Building Insurance. If they will cover you, then you are OK, if not, run away.

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