Might as well be a first time buyer!!! Indemnity policies/Putting it right etc.(10 Posts)
I am in the process of purchasing my second house. My first was very straight forward, we were first time buyers and bought a new build so luckily, no chain and no real issues. However 5 years on, we've sold this property and I have had an offer accepted on a property thats around 30 years old.
In May this year, I very sadly lost my father to a sudden heart attack and i am very close to having my second baby. So it may be that emotions are running high- I relied on my DF for a lot of advice and reason and Ive obviously lost that hence I'm looking for others opinions and hopefully advice on some concerns Ive got about this property.
My DH and I made the decision to move nearer to my mum in a nearby (more expensive) area which is also nearer to my DH's work and cuts down almost 40 miles of commute A DAY!!!. We sold our own house quickly for asking price within 48 hours and then started looking for something.
We viewed a few properties that didn't come close enough to the mark at around the £425k area. We were so disappointed that none of them seemed to be that suitable and there was only 3 that were worth viewing. They had various issues with them, the first being on a very main road, rooms too small and terrible schools. The 2nd being in a very quiet village with no amenities and needing a lot of decorating. DH hated it too. The 3rd house is great, large reception rooms, bedrooms, near to a great park for our children and in a good area for schools. We viewed it 48 hours after it came back on the market. I was worried that someone else would snap up as they had previously accepted an offer according to the EA for the asking price, we didn't want to muck around and offered the asking price (I since realised that the EA is under no obligation to tell us the truth about previous offers). I appreciate I might have been a bit naive here but there was nothing as nice on the market at the time (still isn't) so we went straight in and it was accepted. They are keen to move as their previous buyer fell through as apparently they wanted to put a stairlift in and realised it would be too much.
A week later and after discussing the property at length (my DH makes no decisions does no research and leaves it to me) I've identified a few issues.
- I took my mother to view the house and she also viewed it with my DH later on that day. She liked it and encouraged us to buy it. However now she's admitted (now we've made an asking price offer) that during the viewing the vendor told her (but not my DH or I) that the boiler needs replacing (its the original) and that there is a problem with the conservatory in that they don't have a door separating the conservatory from the house and theres a problem with the heating in there which apparently means its against building regulations she told DM that I could get an indemnity policy to cover it. Part of me doesn't want an indemnity policy....is it unreasonable to ask them to reduce the price for it to be put right? i don't know, Ive never been in this situation before and my DM isn't able to advise me.
- Ive since done a bit of research and discovered that the garage conversion into a study might not meet building regs. They haven't got an external window, only one into the garage and the room does smell of petrol (they keep a car in the garage and the owner is a bit of a petrol head). I called the EA post offer to double check and she said that the vendor didn't know but the previous owner had done it and he was an architect so it must be and also...i could get an indemnity policy.
My DM thinks it might be a fire risk (thanks mum for pointing that out before I offered!) and if thats the case, what good is an indemnity policy if my family are at risk?- is it unreasonable to ask them for it to be made good or to drop the price? The vendor's EA suggested i change my lender if they are being 'fussy'.
I have no issues paying the asking price. But I was naive and inexperienced and didn't realise that these things were all issues. Yes I am a bit stupid - everyone seems to know so much more about buying a property than me.
Theres a property that sold in the same road for £25k more but has an extra bedroom and none of these issues with it, it would seem. this makes me think maybe I should have haggled a bit more.
If anyone has got any advice id be very grateful. Im feeling a bit lost at the moment!
Do you like the house? Yes - then buy it. No - then don't. An indemnity policy is a couple of hundred quid - you could push for the vendor to pay that for the sale to proceed. The boiler - meh! It could be 5 years old and get condemned (like ours this spring) or be 30 years old and go on forever. These ongoing costs come with owning a house.
Sorry about your father.
You are not stupid at all. There was only one house that you wanted, you did what you needed to do to secure it for you and your families.
Some issues like this do come up with houses and it's not unusual to go back to the vendors to address them. I am not qualified to give you advice on this, but I am sure others will.
My boiler is 23 years old, my gas service engineer says they don't make them that good any more and is horrified by the suggestion I might want to get a new one. So the boiler may nit be bad news.
I hope all goes well. If you like the house and want to move there, then you should proceed. Think how gutted you would have been if you'd put in a low offer and someone else bought it out from under you.
Shortlass- Thats why i think I put in the higher offer as its a sought after area because of the secondary school catchment area and I know there was another family who were in the process of arranging a 2nd viewing. I really don't think we would have bought anything else as I've been keeping an eye on right move.
Is an indemnity policy just a sticking plaster thought to get through the sale? It doesn't remove the problem of a conservatory or a converted garage not meeting building regs though does it?
The indemnity policy, paid by the vendors, protects you as a buyer against any future claims made by the council etc about building work not meeting regulations. So for example if the building work was over a sewer and there was a future issue with the sewer, the policy would pay for any work required to make good.
In your case, you need to decide if the house is ok to live in, in the current state. The policy may not pay for a door to be put in for the conservatory or a window in the garage, however you should raise these concerns via your solicitor and either request a reduction in purchase price to rectify these issues or specifically ask the indemnity to cover the works required to put right (which may not be possible).
Only you can decide whether the house is worth the additional hassle.
Thank you. All good advice.
Is there any way to find out if the garage conversion was registered with the local council? I note there's the Fensa database which told me when the windows were last done.
Or how I find out if it does meet building regs? EA says 'the vendor THINKS it is' and 'all paperwork is with the solicitor'.
If you contact the council re specific work at a specific property it might mean you can't get an indemnity policy.
Can you get a builder/ surveyor to have a look?
Discuss it with your solicitor- if you have particular concerns, it really helps to flag them up as early as possible, so that they can make further enquiries.
A few things I have come across.
When buying my current house the previous owners put a conservatory up without planning permission from the council. This was OK as they didn't need it from the council but they did need permission from the estate owners. My solicitor found this out during the normal course of business. We went back to the owners and asked them to pay for the indemnity policy as a condition of sale which they did. So far so good.
As for the door between the conservatory and the house this happened to my sister with her current house. It didn't meet building regs and the owners had to put something up between the conservatory and the house. In effect it's a set of patio doors in between. They had to do this as a condition of sale.
Just because you offered a price it doesn't mean it cannot be adjusted or renegotiated once you find this stuff out. The solicitor should do most of it for you in the normal course of purchasing it. The owners should not be hiding this from you and have to declare it. I say find out officially and add some conditions of sale. Don't forget the chances are the previous buyers learnt this and so will the new next ones of you walk away. Fact is the sellers need to get this shut sorted.
Your solicitor should clarify all this during the sale process.
I agree with if you like the house then buy it. Do you need to put a car in the garage? Do you need the conservatory immediately?
If it's a long term home then get the indemnities and be happy.
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