Unsure whether to buy this house...advice, please?(38 Posts)
Hi all, my wife and I are currently renting in London in a single bedroom flat with our 7-month old, but we're looking to move to Gravesend.
About 6 weeks ago we found a house we liked and secured it on £230k. It's a two-bed house with front and back gardens, spacious and bright, and only 10 minutes walk to the station, so great for the London commute. Also in a nice part of town and near to a great set of schools. Oh, and empty with no chain.
Brief description: original Victorian build, two-up, two-down, with ground floor living room and dining room wall knocked through into one room. Extension to back for kitchen, lean-to on ground floor and small bedroom on first floor.
The Homebuyer's Report however came back with some bad news - in summary, 1) a hole in the extension roof has caused water damage to the ceiling, 2) rising damp in the living room walls, 3) infestations in the floor and stair timbers, 4) electrical system uncertified, 5) gas system uncertified, and 4) asbestos detected in various places.
The Report also knocked down the value of the house to £225,000. So pretty serious stuff!
Now, we've saved up enough for a deposit with Help to Buy support, but our mortgage lender won't allow us a mortgage above the value of the house the Report declared - £225,000. So £230,000 is a non-starter right from the off. However we also need cash to do the repairs.
We had specialists look over the house over a fortnight and it's not nearly as bad as the Report warned, thank goodness - the roof will cost £600, the electrics £300, the damp and timbers £2,400. The gas is safe, and the asbestos is safe if untouched, which we intend to do (bar at some point sweeping the chimney and removing the lean-to roof, which is a nice to have rather than essential).
So just north of 3 grand which we would need to borrow, and it would take about a week, maybe two, to get done, during which we'd have to remain living in our flat. So to be safe, we'd calculated we would need to float £6,000 to do the repairs and keep ourselves going while the repairs are going.
So we go back to the vendors and on the encouragement of my parents, go hardball at £210,000, fully expecting it to move north sharply as negotiations proceed, maybe settling around £220,000 or so. We sent a long, polite email explaining our reasoning for the reduction (to pay for the loan repayments and the revaluation in the survey), but they responded with a measly counter-offer of £228,000.
We then offered £218,000, and they've said £227,000, final offer. Even though they know we can't get a mortgage above £225,000!
So...I'm not sure what we should do. In theory we ought to cut our losses, as they seem to be remarkably intractible. That's my parent's view. However a landlord friend of ours has warned that house prices are always rising, and £227,000 for a 2-bed, even if in a bit of a state, is a steal.
I fear that if we let this go, we'll not be able to find any affordable house in the future. And we need to move for the kid's sake, let alone our's!
So, should we abandon it, or stretch to £227,000? I'm tempted to offer £225,000 as our final offer, which is the most we can do.
What else is there on the market? I'd ditch the whole idea of that house to be honest, sounds a nightmare.
Personally I would walk away from this house.
Sounds like it needs a lot of work and the vendors sound like they think there house is worth more than it really is.
There will be others you can buy.
Very simply, any other buyer is going to get a survey done and have the same valuation/repair issues (as the vendor knows). It also (with respect) doesn't sound like a once in a lifetime/unique house. I'd offer £225k and nothing more if you're keen on it.
How can you stretch to £227,000 if your mortgage will only allow a valuation of £225,000?
I'm not sure, OP. How much do you like it?
Sounds like a lot of hassle to me. I would have a good look at rightmove tonight and see what else is available in the same price range and if other suitable alternatives are available I wouldn't buy it. If there is nothing as good for 225/227 I'd buy it for 225/227.
I'd run away from this house as quickly as possible! Too many problems which could potentially be bigger than anticipated-rising damp could occur in other places, and the infestation (woodworm? dry rot?) could also be found to be much more extensive. Your ability to make changes in the future could be hampered, or very expensive, due to the asbestos.
The risk is too huge considering they won't reduce the price by much.
How long has it been on the market?
Thanks everyone. Seems a pretty unanimous response from everyone here then.
I dunno, we're scared that we won't find another house we can afford with all the other positives this house has.
Sounds like similar issues we had.
We however found that there was no rising damp as there was a leaky pipe under the floor, so we had that excavated and sorted so no need for damp proofing. Also have a few guttering issues which need sorting but nothing major there either.
We had a gas engineer out to certify the gas and fix the boiler for a few hundred pounds.
The electrics needed sorting fully and cost £2.5k.
A few blown windows here and there was another £900.
Other than that just mostly cosmetics.
We however did not have infestation of timbers.
Looking at the floorboards they had all been replaced on the ground floor previously so someone's already done that work.
I'm not surprised they won't consider your ridiculously low offers...if I was the vendor I'd probably think you were taking the piss
I'm not sure why you offered 210? I'd now offer 225 based on the valuation, best and final, but meanwhile start looking around as you may lose this house. Which may not be a bad thing.
It's not just the cost of the work, it's the hassle too.
None of the above would make us walk away from a property, if the price was right (for us, wrt to everything that needs done, the stress, delays in it being liveable in).
I don't think 20k below is a stupid low offer. The house is empty, so presumably it's been on the market for a while- a house is really only worth what people are actually willing to pay for it!
In your situation we would (and have), made a low offer (what we were prepared to pay given the condition), and then walked away when it was turned down.
We started looking at other property but let it be known via our solicitor that we still wanted to buy the property, but at X price and no more. Some months later the sellers solicitor approached our solicitor to ask us to re-offer if we were still minded to buy the property... at the low offer, and we bought it.
The seller has 3 options here, drop the price for a quick sale, do the work themselves or let it sit empty, potentially for a long time, until they find someone who will pay what they want (and in the meantime all those leaks and infestations will be getting worse).
Gravesend? Surely you can get something better for £230k there? I'd ditch it and look again:
Can we? We've been looking for months and the number of houses we found met what we needed that we could afford were about two, including this one, and the first one got overpriced extremely rapidly.
Id really not go for that house. Sounds like too much hassle and time, quite apart from cost.
Should add that with those kinds of issues they could take more time and effort and cost to sort out than would be compensated for in the price reduction.
If you offer £210 or even £225 your mortgage amount will be based on actual the selling price rather than property valuation as per the survey. It will not release an extra £15k unless the bank specifically agree to provide extra funds for repairs. If you reduce your deposit to fund the repairs, it may affect the loan to value ratio and hence your mortgage rate.
You could ask that the owners carry out the repairs at their expense (though this can be risky as they have no motivation to ensure this is done properly. We have been bitten by this before, repairs were done but it simply masked the underlying issue)
If you cannot find what you need in the area you want then something needs to give - either your budget needs to increase, your standards need to drop or your area needs to change (sorry, I may have been watching too much Kirsty and Phil lately ). You need to look again at the sums closely - can you really not afford anything else in the area? Will you have spare cash to tackle any further problems that arise? If two houses have come up in 6 months in your chosen area and within budget then it really does look as if something needs to give. Perhaps this house was already priced in accordance with the works needed?
how about just leaving your current offer on the table and waiting to see what happens next? but also keep looking....
do you know if they have had any other offers previously or if anyone else has come up with the same problem with mortgage.
perhaps the only way the vendors will get the price they want is with a cash offer so maybe time will help them to reconsider and they will come back to you - or if not - another place will come along that is more suited to you and your family.
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