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Disastrous survey - time to pull the plug?

(56 Posts)
MrsRoff Tue 31-Jan-17 17:46:18

Hi everyone,

We found what we thought was our dream home recently and had an offer accepted. We agreed a price which was £25k over the asking price as we were in competition with another couple.

When we were shown the house we were told it needed some modernisation and that was evident - the house is dated and just not to our tastes. My in laws predicted it would need a new roof but we were happy to do that if needed.

However, the survey has come back and it needs significant repair work that has come as a real shock. This includes but is not limited to:

· Cracking/movement to walls supporting raised patio plus deflection/movement to concrete patio surface. Reconstruction required.
· Radon Risk Report advises that the property is in an area with a 1 – 3% risk of Radon Level being above the ‘Action Level’. Testing recommended.
· Timber railings around raised patio in poor condition. Renew.
· Damp detected to roof timbers.
· Rising damp detected at low level to wall of side extension towards front of garage. Repair.
· Toughened safety glass not installed to ‘Critical Locations’ of exterior glazing, for example, doors and side panels. Repair possible, although complete replacement more appropriate given age/condition of frames.
· Warped interior door to Kitchen. Renew.
· No evidence of any testing to electrical installation. Test required. At least partial replacement likely.
· Lid no longer fits plastic water storage tank to roof space. Tank deformed and renewal required.
· Smaller adjacent tank has no lid and is poorly supported. New tank and better support required.
· Leak to shower pump in airing cupboard. Thermostatic control also defective to Bathroom. Repair/renew.
· Blockage to drain at bottom of garden where this joins public sewer.
· Asbestos cement sheeting used as fencing at bottom of garden. Arrange removal by licenced contractor.

It ain't pretty.

My main fear is that we may negotiate money off the sale price but this could be a real money pit. We don't know what we'd be letting ourselves in for and, like most people, we don't have a bottomless pool of money to fund repairs.

I hate the idea of pulling out, but then I also struggle to have too much sympathy for the vendors as they did openly admit to the surveyor that they've done nothing to maintain the house over the last 2 decades.

What do you think?

Boulshired Tue 31-Jan-17 18:04:02

Most is what I would expect in a house that needed some modernisation which is usually estate spin to soften the modernisation word. All you can do is reconsider your valuation or pull out.

Lostwithinthehills Tue 31-Jan-17 18:05:57

That list sounds an absolute nightmare to me. Have you worked out a rough guesstimate for how much it will cost you to address all those issues? Also how long will it take to get through that list? It won't be a dream home if you sink endless thousands of pounds over years and years trying to repair it. I would hazard a guess that as you work on each issue even more will present themselves to you.

I think you should seriously consider walking away!

PigletJohn Tue 31-Jan-17 18:06:00

To me, they just sound like things that need doing to an old house. Presumably the roof is leaking and needs repair, quite likely the damp wall has a leaking gutter or a raised ground level. The patio is not a structural part of the house and you could replace it with purple decking if you wanted.

Some bits of asbestolux in the garden are not significant.

You have half a day's work for a plumber.

The drains might need rodding, or possibly digging out and repairing.

Updating electrics is to be expected in an older house.

EweAreHere Tue 31-Jan-17 18:07:32

The house probably isn't worth what you offered. Decide how much you want it, and re-price it accordingly. I'd lower my offering price based on what the work will cost. (I'd also factor in the time, etc, if you can't live there while major renovations are going on.) Let the Seller decline if they want to try their luck elsewhere.

EagleIsland Tue 31-Jan-17 18:12:03

Nothing there sounds like a deal breaker to me. It depends on how DIY oriented you are. 1/2 those jobs could be done by a handy homeowner.

Don't let the asbestos or radon worry you. A radon mitigation system is easy to make.

wowfudge Tue 31-Jan-17 18:14:27

That list is nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be OP. Old houses always need something doing to them.

yomellamoHelly Tue 31-Jan-17 18:22:36

Sounds okay to me. But we have had a couple of shockers. Wouldn't put me off if you're planning on doing it up anyway. What would be more of a concern would be if they'd already tarted it up as I'd wonder what else there was waiting for us.

Jeezimacasalinga Tue 31-Jan-17 18:25:04

Sounds pretty much what you'd expect from a house that needs modernisation - do you think it was priced accordingly? How much would the house be worth if it was in perfect condition? Take that figure and then work out the cost of the work, and then decide whether it's worth it or not.

MrsRoff Tue 31-Jan-17 18:29:18

Lostwithinthehills, the surveyor estimates that the cost of repairs is AT LEAST £50k plus VAT.

PookieSnackenberger Tue 31-Jan-17 18:29:54

That sounds par for the course and pretty standard for a house requiring refurbishment. Surveys generally sound much worse than they really are.

I would start costing the the required work and begin negotiations. Although be prepared for them to take the house back to market if you make unrealistic demands.

Lunenburg Tue 31-Jan-17 18:30:50

That is a minor list compared to the survey I received for this house.

Now several years later and I have a lovely comfy home at minimal extra cost (less than 10k)

Surveyors looking at an older house will always cover every possible issue and you need to take a deep breath, get rough estimates for every element (often available on line) and decide if the house is worth that additional cost.

The only house I have ever walked away from on the back of a survey is the one where the Surveyor identified Japanese Knotweed.

PookieSnackenberger Tue 31-Jan-17 18:31:23

Just seen the £50K price tag from the surveyor. I'm astounded by that from the list in the OP.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 31-Jan-17 18:34:13

I also don't think its too bad. If its your dream house I wouldn't be pulling out over that.

Kr1stina Tue 31-Jan-17 18:36:25

Do you have enough experience and the budget to be considering a project?

How many houses have you done up before?

Madbengalmum Tue 31-Jan-17 18:37:09

£50k for those few things, is the surveyor having a laugh?!

TheCrowFromBelow Tue 31-Jan-17 18:37:45

I don't think that list is too bad, and most of those would be items I would expect to replace in an older home that hasn't been updated.
Get quotes for the essential work, but wouldn't some of this would have been visible when you saw it e.g. cracks in the patio, warped doors?

monkeyfacegrace Tue 31-Jan-17 18:38:24

Surveyors have to be over the top to protect themselves

That list wouldn't scare me either- the roof you knew about, the other bits are all odd jobs. The patio isn't part of the house, just remove it.

Madbengalmum Tue 31-Jan-17 18:40:18

Monkey, my OH is a chartered surveyor, and that isn't protecting himself,its just sticking your finger in the air and thinking of a number!

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Tue 31-Jan-17 18:40:50

what were you expecting to pay to replace the roof?

I also do not think it's that bad,
Looking at that my main concern would be the patio and why it has caused the walls to be cracking...that sounds ominous.

otherwise as everyone has said..."modernisation" is a very wide remit.

If you offered over then pull back to the price and explain why, negotiate from there.... they should realise than any decent survey is going to show similar results and if they want the sale they are going to have to make compromises.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Tue 31-Jan-17 18:43:35

Some of those things are quite small (and pigletjohn doesn't sound fazed). Can you separate out the list into 'have to do quickly' 'need to do within 6-12 months' and 'at some point in the future' (e.g. The fence has been there for ages,provided you don't disturb it there's probably no rush) and start getting some idea of costs from tradespeople?

PossumInAPearTree Tue 31-Jan-17 18:44:40

The only thing I'd be slightly concerned about is the rising damp but I'm sure even that is fixable.

monkeyfacegrace Tue 31-Jan-17 18:45:20

mad sorry I wasn't being derogatory or talking about the money, I meant they have to be very very careful about noting every fault in detail. It's what they are paid to do.

Whereas the layperson would just say 'the patio could do with being ripped out' iyswim?

PossumInAPearTree Tue 31-Jan-17 18:46:56

The cracked walls aren't the house walls are they? I read it that there's a raised patio and it's the supporting wall for that raised patio which is cracked. So not a house/structural issue?

ligersaremyfavouriteanimal Tue 31-Jan-17 18:52:44

I wouldn't be overly fazed by that list, we had far worse on our survey (1930s in need of total renovation) and a lot of it turned out to be unnecessary or not as bad as it sounded. And £50K sounds a crazy amount. Could you take a builder round for their opinion?

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