Do I tell my buyers...(21 Posts)
That our house has damp?
We are in a chain found somewhere to go to all going well til buyer no 1 had their survey which showed damp. We had a specialist damp inspection that recommended treatment. We reduced sale price by the quote but buyers pulled out - they said they would only proceed if we had the work done (we both work full time, have a toddler and the whole kitchen needs replacing in any case so not practical).
The damp is not visible at all so in our opinion is not that bad and obviously not urgent. There is no paint blistering, no mould, no excess condensation, no discoloured paintwork.
Question is do we tell future buyers at offer stage that there is damp? Dh and I are honest people and think it better they know up front than find out in their survey and pull out like previous buyers. Estate agent says we shouldn't tell them and should wait for survey as surveyors put different emphasis and a new surveyor may not make such a big deal of it. Plus new buyers may be content with a reduction in sale for value of the quote.
WWYD? We are being pressured by top of chain to exchange as it is so we do need to find a new buyer quickly, one that will proceed at speed with minimal fuss.
I would say the same as your EA to be honest (that's not a sentence I use very often!)
Different Surveyors highlight different issues. I would wait until the new buyers' survey comes in, but of course be prepared to offer the same reduction if need be.
However, if the damp problem keeps on cropping up on surveys then you may have to have a rethink.
Thanks santas. I am starting to think the same. Only thing is dh thinks it's better they find out about when they are in The house or recently been in it so they can see that it isn't a major problem as there is no visible evidence of it. Just worried sale will fall through again and another 6 weeks will have passed...
Personally I'd either pay and get the problem fixed or tell them from the start. Otherwise you could end up in exactly the same situation again.
I would also add it's a 1920s house so pretty old - therefore bound to have some problems especially damp? I like to think our first buyers were just overly cautious (v naive first time buyers by all accounts) and that second buyers (we have an offer) would be less risk-averse due to age and not being first time buyers. Or maybe I'm just ageist!!
maggy that's the problem. It doesn't make sense for us to do the work. Most of the work re damp needs to be done in the kitchen. In the kitchen the ceiling is falling down (literally) and whole room needs gutting, replastering, floor needs new screed, new cabinets... it is a v old kitchen (think 1970s wooden cabinets, artex textured walls and ceiling). Kitchen needs redoing so makes sense to do damp work at the same time. Wouldn't make sense for us to do the damp work and then refit the old cabinets. We aren't replacing kitchen as part of the sale. Buyers know when they view that kitchen needs redoing as it's blindingly obvious with plasterboard hanging off the ceiling...
(The rest of the house is nice though. Just hadn't got round to doing the kitchen!)
Houses of that age are built to breath naturally and without chemical injections and ranking treatments.
The surveyor is not a very good one if he is suggesting remedial work to a house that otherwise has no visible signs.
Was he just using his damp meter days after all the heavy rain?
My house is 1905, we have neighbours that are all suffering because of damp proofing treatments over the years that just seal in the problem causing major issues further down the line.
If you have an actual cause of damp (failed guttering for example) that's another matter.
RICS have published articles on dangers of damp proofing old properties and to beware damp proofing specialists
Is the damp issue only showing up in the kitchen?
If so, and as you say the kitchen obviously needs gutting, then probably OK to wait/see if their survey shows it.
Are you currently selling it with the discount of the damp work, or will you offer the reduction of flagged up? If they find the issue and you say "oh yes, that's why we reduced the price", then it could come across as deceitful.
tiba - exactly. The cause of damp is from cavity wall insulation installed 15yrs ago that has broken down in the cavity and clogged up at the bottom. Like you say - not designed to have insulation! Quote is for chemical injection of something or other. Quote didn't recommend removing the cavity wall insulation. And yes, the survey originally relied on damp meter readings like you say.
stillrunning it is mostly in kitchen but also couple of walls in dining room and one wall in the lounge. But as I say, there isn't actually any evidence of it... if it was us I expect we would do the kitchen and dining room as part of the refurb but leave the lounge wall (as lounge been recently redecorated and had some damp work done recently anyway).
We haven't reduced the sale price at the moment. But are in agreement that we would reduce by the quote again.
Nah, I'd wait. High damp readings are a bit bullshitty much of the time!
I think if you don't tell a buyer and then they find out about it later they would probably come back to you about it because you have constructive knowledge of the problem, as does your estate agent. Probably better to say to a potential buyer that the kitchen obviously needs done and previously its been recommended that treatment be done for the damp at the same time, that way they make an offer based on the facts rather than getting into the process and risking losing the buyer, or having a haggling over price situation
syc4more I like that suggestion of tying it in when talking about the kitchen, thanks.
Am now in process of lookin in to how much it would cost to remove the cavity wall insulation and clear the debris breaching the DPC. As that would be non-invasive work (all done externally) would cure problem once and for all (rather than covering up with chemical DPC and not removing the cause of the problem). If it's in region of the other quote for chemical DPC we may just get it done then at least we could tell buyers that we have sorted it so no longer an issue.
Just spoke to dh again and he is v annoyed estate agent didn't tell most recent buyers about the damp.
Argh this is such an annoying position to be in 😔
when you say you had a survey done by a specialist damp surveyor - was he really a surveyor or does he work a damp company?
If it was a free one done by a company who then sell you their service I think they almost invariably find something that needs doing!
I would suggest paying for an actual damp surveyor (rather than free one from the damp company if this was in fact the case) to see what the real position is.
Also do you have any certificates/guarantees from previous damp companies. Sometimes these guarantees can last as long as 30 year so it may be that there is cover available for any works required. These guarantees pass from owner to owner. Worth checking - probably among the deeds/papers that your conveyancing solicitor will have.
Don't say anything, and I say that as someone who purchased a flat with damp last year.
It's the buyer's responsibility to get a survey done and protect themselves. Focus on making sure your new place is right for you, let the buyers focus on theirs.
Or to put it more succinctly - Caveat Emptor!
clear the debris breaching the DPC. As that would be non-invasive work (all done externally) would cure problem once and for all
We moved into a Victorian cottage (after having had a full survey done) and the first night noticed damp creeping up the front wall in the sitting room. It was entirely due to rainwater creeping up above the old DC level so a deeper 'ditch' was dug outside as well as new chemical pumped into the wall. No insulation in the walls though.
I'd be honest with new buyer and tell them that you have reduced the price already to cover the work (blast your EA for not telling them!)
I would also not say anything to be honest. We had a surveryor say there was damp in our house, so we had it treated, wasn't a huge bill and was done quickly, I think within a week the guy came out and did it . I think your first buyers just got cold feet and were looking for an excuse.
We told them we weren't removing any cabinets or anything so they worked round it and provided a certificate to say the work was done.
I had the same issue. First buyer pulled out as she said it was too much work.
We told futire buyers when they viewed, and had it done ourselves in the end. It was 3 days disruption and cost 2.5k.
I think legally agents have to inform buyers of issues brought up in a previous survey. Would you like to be told there is no problem with a property then discover there actually was?
If you don't want to disruption buyers probably won't either. All surveyors check for damp so very unlikely it won't be spotted.
I would fix it myself, you should be able to do it without actually replacing the kitchen. I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't. Also I would be worried about karma.....
I think it is a bit mean to describe the FTBs as 'naive' - I would have walked away too, the house sounds like a bit of a nightmare and I wold worry about what else would go wrong.
They were v naive duke - they thought they would go from offer to completion (in a chain with 4 other people) in just over 2 months and sounded v shocked/concerned/worried about damp in a) an old property so blind to have some and b) property that showed no visible signs of damp inside the house.
So had some people come round yesterday re cavity wall insulation. First guy reckons we don't actually have damp at all and meter readings are high cos the insulation is so patchy - he showed me that yes it has broken down inside the cavity. Therefore there will be cold spots where moisture condenses causing high readings. Had two different companies yesterday both said if we get insulation removed it will get rid of the damp as can see on camera the build up of debris above the DPC and the break down of the insulation. Neither company said they could see any evidence of damp inside the property.
So we have decided to let the most recent offering people know but will phrase it as 'previous survey showed high damp meter readings so thought you should know as will come up on your survey. But we don't think it's anything to worry about as no sign of damp inside the property'. Then if they get twitchy and ask more questions we can then say we've had it investigated, that likely insulation is the cause and we will be happy to get the insulation removed (don't want to offer to do this up front if we don't have to). Quotes I have received so far are £1800-2000 for removal which is much cheaper than the chemical DPC previously recommended which wouldn't actually solve the problem. So crossing fingers new buyers will a) not be worried about it like we aren't and b) if they are accept us doing the removal of the insulation as a remedy.
Thanks for all your advice, been v interesting to read opinions from both sides. Can't remember who said about independent damp inspection - we may consider this if we continue to have issues as like you say the first company was A damp proofing company so not surprising they recommended a chemical DPC!
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