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Vendors being a tad 'odd'

(49 Posts)
xandersmom2 Fri 28-Apr-17 15:50:22

Hi All, new here and hoping someone can help :-)

After much searching, dh and i finally found a house we like and had our offer accepted. We've lived - and owned property - all over the world but this is our first house purchase in the UK.

We had a homebuyer's survey done which indicated that there is a crack in the rear wall of the house and (as a separate matter) they feel the back patio doors weren't properly installed with appropriate support, so have said that a structural survey is needed - surveyor has stated he cannot complete the house valuation until he's seen the structural report.

Vendor and her EA are being a bit freaky. First of all they tried to talk us out of a structural survey and we had to point out that we had no choice as our lender requires it! Then the EA called twice to tell us we only need a structural survey on the crack and we don't need a full structural survey (we haven't yet ordered either kind of survey so why she's flipping out about this i don't know); on the last occasion my dh asked why the vendor is so averse to a full structural survey and she tried to brush it aside and make out that we're trying to delay proceedings - which we're not, we only got the homebuyer's survey back today!

Both structural surveyors that we've spoken to have said they'll inspect just the crack if we'd like, but that a full structural survey doesn't cost that much more and would give us greater protection and they'd recommend this. The lender's surveyor has said the lender is just interested in the crack and so just having that inspected would be fine. Honestly we would have proceeded to just have the crack inspected if the EA hadn't kicked up such a stink and actually made us smell a rat (which may or may not be there).

There were other items in the homebuyer's survey that (at our broker's recommendation) we asked the vendor to comment on, and the only comments that came back were 'surveys always say those things, everything is fine'. Sorry but based on personal experience I'm fairly sure every survey doesn't say that (among other things) the chimney is crumbling and in urgent need of repair, the roof underfelt urgently needs repair, and there's no insulation in the attic! (Funny story – vendor insisted there was no attic. When I pointed out the attic hatch in the hall ceiling she told me she’d never noticed it – she’s lived there 10 years – and had never been up there...!)
We're not FTB, we spotted some (but not all) of what the survey is pointing out and we're not wasting anyone's time, but we're careful shoppers and don't want to buy a lemon. We weren't looking for them to offer to pay for everything and were/are happy to just move forward and get quotes and reassess at that point, but we were looking for them to at least acknowledge and accept that we will be getting quotes for this other work and not try to railroad us (EA actually wanted to know if we could get the structural surveyor there today).

Much as we liked this property, I’m getting a bit of a ‘feeling’ about it. We’re in rented at the moment and don’t have to move (haven’t given notice etc) so if this house doesn’t work out we’ll just take another look around for something else. I'm a bit taken aback by the vendor’s attitude and unsure how to proceed. Anyone have any thoughts or experiences?

Thanks in advance!

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Fri 28-Apr-17 15:58:25

Dodgy, IMO. I would really wonder what they are trying to hide, and might be inclined to let this one go....unless you really, really love the house, and are prepared to push for full survey and are prepared to do the work.

ExplodedCloud Fri 28-Apr-17 16:01:10

Does she actually want to move? Apart from the obvious thought that they're trying to cover something, could it be she's trying to put people off. Divorce or forced sale sort of thing.

wowfudge Fri 28-Apr-17 16:01:40

I think you need to tell the EA you are serious about the house, you won't be railroaded and need to do your research, get the structural survey done, etc. If the vendor is panicking, she needn't as you are just being prudent purchasers. Tell the EA the reaction is making you very wary. Any more messing you'll have to think very hard about proceeding.

xandersmom2 Fri 28-Apr-17 16:16:31

Thanks All...... it's a weird one for sure!

She acts like she really wants to move - she and her new hubby (remarriage late in life for both) want to move overseas and - allegedly! - have a property all lined up somewhere warm and sunny.

I can't decide whether they're trying to hide something (or even are just afraid there is something they don't know about) or are panicking that we're going to pull out. Which we weren't planning on doing right now, though dependent on what the surveyor finds we may have to (if the lender won't allow us to proceed).

Perhaps the fact that we're being pretty laid-back about it is throwing them off. We did know this place was going to need some work but were planning on being there for the next 20 years or so, so we figured we'd just slowly work through it and had budgeted/planned for the things we knew about. That said, we're not going to just 'eat' all the costs of repairs that we couldn't possibly have known about, and of course the structural concerns were a real surprise. (EA just kept saying 'this is only being requested because you had a homebuyer's survey' as though it was all our fault...!)

Think perhaps she may also be panicking that we will drop our offer. She told us numerous times during the offer process that she could only afford to move where she wants if she got X price for the house, which is what we offered in the end (house is 'OK' but the location and the garden is the real seller for us). I spoke with the homebuyer surveryor a short time ago and asked him (perhaps very cheekily) what he thought he would value the house at if the structural survey came back with good news; he hemmed and hawwed and eventually said he could 'probably' value it as what we're paying. So (based on his hesitation) i take that to mean it's at the very top of what he'd suggest we pay for it.

Broker wants our permission to tell them to 'back off or we walk'. He's a bit fierce, glad he's on our side grin.

wowfudge Fri 28-Apr-17 16:20:04

So that's the issue - they can't take a reduction in the agreed price. Either they hold out and wait longer to sell (no guarantee they'll get more) or they realise they may have to take a drop in price, if it comes to that.

OVienna Fri 28-Apr-17 16:24:27

They're being weird. They know something is wrong and maybe that's why they're so keen to sell, in fact. Either put your foot down about the full structural survey or walk away.

WonderMike Fri 28-Apr-17 16:26:34

I can't decide whether they're trying to hide something

Can we start a sweepstake? I can't decide between body in the loft or in the chimney stack.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 28-Apr-17 16:27:09

They are presumably worried that there will be further issues shown on a full structural (and if they already know then they should be disclosing it). If they don't already know of anything it would seem odd. They can't insist on you not having a full structural and in fact if they won't I'd walk away.

Lunde Fri 28-Apr-17 16:48:45

Definitely don't buy without the structural survey - you need to know what sort of costs you might be looking at

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Fri 28-Apr-17 17:07:17

100% get a full structural survey, do not allow yourselves to be bullied. Even if they're just nervous rather than actively hiding something, this really sounds like a house that you need full info on before you proceed.

MinniesAndMickeysNeedCounting Fri 28-Apr-17 17:18:57

How odd, the ea also sounds a bit ott

Have they started to proceed before with a different purchaser so know from that failed sale exactly what the structural survey will say.

I'd walk away, doesn't sound as though you love this house, I'd keep looking

blankmind Fri 28-Apr-17 17:39:51

Have the full structural done, then re-assess. You are holding all the aces in this game.

I'm guessing that if something shows up then they will not be able to keep the full price you offered and likely lose their dream home abroad.

Thing is, another buyer could well want a reduction after they have had a full structural done as well, maybe your broker could let them know that, after you have the results of course.

specialsubject Fri 28-Apr-17 17:51:40

Many years ago we had a duff survey on the place we were trying to sell. All the faults were nonsense. We got the buyer round and went through it with him, and he was happy. And it is still standing.

Never trusted surveyors since - but if the vendors can't show otherwise then this one probably does know his job.

There is always another house.

Biggreygoose Fri 28-Apr-17 17:58:48

Get a full structural survey.

But with a crumbling chimney (depending on the build they can be structurally significant), a crack in the rear wall and concerns about the installation of the patio doors (Was the lintle visible? Or any indication of type ?) Be prepared for it not to be pretty.

xandersmom2 Fri 28-Apr-17 19:32:09

wowfudge - think you probably nailed it. Well, that's life - sometimes we can't have things we can't afford, right?! But, does mean we have to consider that even if the valuation comes in low, or the structural surveyor says there's 10K work needs doing, then the vendor might not budge. And needless to say we don't have an extra 10k tucked down the back of the sofa!

WonderMike - just grin. I did try to joke with the vendor (when I pointed out to her that she had an attic) that there could be all sorts up there - gold bullion, a Monet or two, or even the previous owner. She didn't think it was funny. Ooops.

MinniesandMickeys - I don't think this is the case this time around as the house had been on the market a couple of months and we were the first people to come along with an offer she'd consider. That said, I can see from Zoopla that the house was on the market for 6 months in 2012 and never sold. So perhaps something cropped up then? - no way of knowing, unfortunately. You're right, though, we're not totally in love with the house; it ticks most boxes and could tick more as we made changes in the next few years. It is definitely do-able and would suit us just fine. But we're not head over heels.

Thanks for your input, everyone. We're waiting for one of the structural engineers to come back to us with a firm quote (he was supposed to email it to us and hasn't yet - guessing this isn't going to happen until Tuesday now) so we have the long weekend to chew it over and decide how we feel about it all. However we have definitely decided that if we are going to pursue this house then we'll have the full structural survey done - they've made me nervous enough that i wouldn't feel comfortable if i didn't!

ShoesHaveSouls Fri 28-Apr-17 19:40:35

We got a full structural survey on ours done, at the request of our lenders - and tbh it was the voice of doom. It brought up all sorts, and not even everything (they can't find everything even in a full structural)- we have since discovered some horrors all by ourselves wink .

We did push ahead, and got the house at a reduced price. I sometimes wish we hadn't in all honesty. I fell in love with the house when I saw it - but it is really annoying living in a house where previous owners have tried to paper over the cracks and 'hide' stuff.

Be wary.

flumpybear Sat 29-Apr-17 10:15:27

Absolutely get a full structural survey - sounds like they're hiding something and hoping you don't look too hard!!

Bluntness100 Sat 29-Apr-17 10:24:11

I reckon it's a mix of both, they need to keep the price where it is, but worried the structural will give you negotiation room and as such the sale will fail as they can't afford to drop,price. To be honest they probably don't know something is wrong for sure, just worrying.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 29-Apr-17 10:26:19

I'd be prepared to pay lay money that in 2012 they got an offer then something awful came up on the full survey and the house didn't sell because of it.

kittybiscuits Sat 29-Apr-17 10:31:03

Definitely full structural survey and not just the crack. I agree with others - they know there is a significant issue which will affect the sale price and scupper their plans.

mumgointhroughtorture Sat 29-Apr-17 10:31:51

In your Original post you said "Dh and I have found a house we Like" if you don't LOVE the house I think you may have regrets about this move and perhaps all the hassle over surveyors is taking the edge off it. You don't sound excited about this house . I would walk away and find one you fall in love with and is worth this amount of effort.

NotDavidTennant Sat 29-Apr-17 10:32:56

If they need £X to buy their dream home then I would guess they are going to be very reluctant to accept less that that. I would also guess that the EA knows this and is not being cooperative with you as they can see the sale falling through and their commission going down the drain.

EssentialHummus Sat 29-Apr-17 10:36:07

Get a full survey, then assess.

The other thing to say is that buyers can sometimes be too skittish and react excessively to every minor thing raised in the survey, so you need to assess its contents calmly to learn what the major (expensive) points are that need doing. Often the survey will come out with 30 things but actually 27 of them can be sorted with a visit to B&Q and very little spending - it's the remaining ones that need to be carefully costed.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Sat 29-Apr-17 10:37:31

i'd be very concerned with the crack and the chimney issues, and the latest post update re the offer in 2012 really does imply there is something serious...as lonecat says

I'd walk away unless it was "THE HOUSE" for ever and ever and happily ever after tbh.

And who doesn't know about an attic ffs.....mind you I did have a bit of a row when we sold our tiny cottage with dormer bedrooms, one woman didn't believe that there was no attic! <rolls eyes>

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