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Rising damp - how much to reduce offer by?

(14 Posts)
BossWitch Fri 21-Apr-17 21:28:58

Hoping for some wisdom!

We've got an offer in on a house, at full asking price (just under 200k). First time buyers, in rental, flexible on moving times etc. We know that there is one other offer in (and another viewing booked for Sat) but the agent has said that our offer is being looked on favourably at the minute - whatever that means!

Got a call yesterday from the agent who told us that the property has rising damp. It has been picked up by a surveyor but isn't really noticeable in the house - we didn't notice when we viewed (though we've only done one viewing, as stuff generally moves pretty fast where we are. Are probably going to try to get a 2nd viewing now, but anyway...)

We are really keen on the house so yesterday left the conversation with the agent as 'we are still interested but may wish to revise our offer once we know the likely cost of the work needed' which was basically the position that he suggested as well.

Today he called again, to let us know that they've had a quote for the work needed, which comes to roughly 6k. £3,500 of this is the damp course treatment and replastering, the rest is stuff like replacing skirting boards, removing and refitting kitchen units & radiators.

Again, the agent said to us that we would want to revise our offer (which we do) and mentioned about our mortgage company likely requiring the damp issue fixed in order to approve the mortgage. He was very much the one saying 'revise your offer' so we feel that definitely should reduce the offer, but when we know that there are other offers in and more viewings booked we don't want to take ourselves out of the running.

The property has been on the market for a while at a higher price and has now been reduced, which is why there's suddenly a lot of interest. It's well priced for the size of the house/plot and the area. It is old fashioned inside so it would need to be redecorated throughout anyway.

What would you do? My instinct at the moment is to essentially say 'let's go halves' and knock about 3k off the offer. My thinking is that this kind of seems fair, it still leaves them with an offer not too short of asking, and it will roughly 'cover' the essential work to stop the damp getting worse and replaster some of the walls - the plan would be to leave anything in the kitchen & dining room for later as we'd want to knock these through in a few years anyway, so it seems pointless to do any plastering in there now.

What I worry about is:

1. taking our offer too low so that we lose the house completely
2. how this impacts getting the mortgage. Would the mortgage company need to see that this work was completed before agreeing to sign off on the funds? Or would it be a case of us getting the mortgage on a promise of doing the work? (Seems unlikely...)

Any expert house buyers out there who have had a similar situation?

BossWitch Fri 21-Apr-17 22:01:23

Please god someone take this decision out of my hands!


OliviaBenson Fri 21-Apr-17 22:20:06

I'd be getting my own independent damp survey which isn't from a company that does the work.

Riding damp is actually quite rare.

Is it an older property? Chemical injections and new plaster can actually make things worse if it is.

thatstoast Fri 21-Apr-17 22:31:06

A lot of houses are damp, for 3k worth of work I doubt the mortgage company would be that bothered if property otherwise ok.

Where has this survey come from though? Has a previous sale fallen through?

BossWitch Fri 21-Apr-17 22:31:40

It's a brick built, 1950s ish (we think).

I know there's this thing about rising damp being a myth, but it is apparently 90% of external walls and 1 internal wall, so it doesn't sound like water coming from anywhere but the ground from that?

I will definitely look into finding an independent surveyor. Not sure how to find someone who will definitely know about riding damp who doesn't work for a company who deals with rising damp!

BossWitch Fri 21-Apr-17 22:55:16

Good point toast. Not sure where that survey has come from. I will ask the agent tomorrow! It was on the market at a higher price so maybe they had an offer, then there was this survey, buyer pulled out and they've dropped the price. Hmm.

PigletJohn Fri 21-Apr-17 22:56:25

let's suppose it is a water leak under the floor.

A plumber can detect it. If there is a water meter you can detect (but not locate) it by looking at the meter with a torch.

if it is 1950's build it will have a DPC. Unless the earth or paving has been heaped up against the walls by some idiot, it is unlikely to have failed. If the ground floor is concrete it might be wet from a pipe or drain leak, and passing from the floor into the walls.

A company that sells chemical treatment is likely to tell you to buy chemical treatment. Neither chemicals nor plaster will repair the fault that the water is coming from.

If the water table is high due to a stream or river, or sloping ground, or if the gutters and drainpipes are spilling, a surveyor might recognise it.

The agent might be leading you to think that there is a failed DPC and that chemicals and plaster will cure it. Hence his suggestion of the treatment and the price. The cause of the problem might be quite different.

it's possible that the vendor and the agent know what the real cause is but don't want you to know. If it could be cured with £6,000 why didn't they do it earlier?

If you can detect how high up the walls the damp goes, and take photos of tidemarks inside and out, and look at the water meter, and observe if the wet area is between the outside stopcock and where the kitchen used to be, or if it is near radiator pipes or drains embedded in the floor, it might be interesting.

BossWitch Fri 21-Apr-17 23:49:01

We're going to try to get in for another viewing tomorrow and will try to take photos as suggested by pigletjohn. May post them here for you to look at pigletjohn, if you fancy it?!

Im pretty sure it is a concrete floor, so that's interesting.

I'm skeptical about the whole 'damp proofing company surveys for damp' issue as well. Don't know at the moment where this survey has come from so wI'll be trying to find the answers to that one tomorrow.

It's complicated by the fact that they haven't accepted our offer yet, and so I don't want to go down the route of looking for our own surveyor etc on a house which is still on the open market with competing offers in place!

PigletJohn Fri 21-Apr-17 23:59:48

if you get the chance to lift any carpets, and look or feel for damp, it might be interesting.

BossWitch Sat 22-Apr-17 00:02:20

Will certainly give it a go!

sunnysouthend Sat 22-Apr-17 07:58:55

I think you should be able to see the DPC from the outside, so you should be able to see if anything outside is covering it and causing a problem?

Lucisky Sat 22-Apr-17 08:12:43

It's your very first sentence that worries me a bit. You made an offer of full asking price but they are still taking viewings? Why? Are they being greedy? When I have made offers on houses close to the asking price it is always on condition that the seller takes it off the market. Also it is very good of the estate agent to give you all this info re damp etc, but if he was selling my house for me I wouldn't be very pleased - I think it's very odd for an agent to willingly provide price lowering ammunition to a buyer - especially as they stand to lose if the price is lowered. Sorry, no idea about the damp, but use a good builder for advice, not a damp proofing company.

IntelligentPutty Sat 22-Apr-17 14:54:03

We had rising damp in our house and decided to get the work done before we tried to sell.
It was a big upheaval. Had to remove everything (everything) from downstairs.
The dust was incredible. We moved out for 2-3 months whilst the plaster dries and we repainted.
It did only cost about 5000 but the upheaval was immense. So I can understand why current sellers aren't doing it themselves.
I would also suspect that they are expecting to be knocked down in price.
Personally I'd take 15k off the asking price as you won't be able to actually live there for a while. Or maybe you would but we didn't want to chance that dust (and there is a lot). Also there is a lot of finishing to do afterwards.

IntelligentPutty Sat 22-Apr-17 14:55:54

But. After all that we sold it for over the asking price and within a couple of days on the market.

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