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Why are searches not commissioned by homeowners?

59 replies

Ohmygoddddd · 21/02/2024 12:42

Would it not be much easier to compel homeowners to prepare a pack for potential buyers which includes a survey/the searches ready for sale? The number one worst aspect of buying/selling is the awful, drawn out protracted process of slowly finding out the issues with the home you are buying and any potential re negotiations/sales falling through.

If we all just had this information to start with it would be so much more efficient and set prices at a realistic standard, so any offers could factor in any structural issues/alarming results from the searches etc.

I just cannot fathom why we allow the system to be like this and why there isn't more of a push to change it.

OP posts:
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HotChocWine · 21/02/2024 12:46

Because I wouldn't trust the seller to tell the truth about any potential problems

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CombatBarbie · 21/02/2024 12:49

They do in Scotland.

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DistingusedSocialCommentator · 21/02/2024 12:50

HotChocWine · 21/02/2024 12:46

Because I wouldn't trust the seller to tell the truth about any potential problems

Not that but they will be out of date and the onus is on the buyer to do their research to their satisfaction, thats why. Also, the seller may not get a buyer, so extra costs.

A potential buyer paying for searches shows some genuine intent on buying, if you see where I am coming from

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DistingusedSocialCommentator · 21/02/2024 12:51

CombatBarbie · 21/02/2024 12:49

They do in Scotland.

See my above posts its a better system in England for reasons stated in my previous post.

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Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 12:52

HotChocWine · 21/02/2024 12:46

Because I wouldn't trust the seller to tell the truth about any potential problems

It’s the survey company providing the survey though. In Scotland it goes via the estate agent and all works fine. The seller can’t fiddle it.

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Mosaic123 · 21/02/2024 12:56

I wouldn't trust a homeowner either.

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RuffledKestrel · 21/02/2024 13:02

As above, works that way in Scotland. Makes house buying much more straightforward in comparison to buying in England.

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needahouseindurham · 21/02/2024 13:05

Yes absolutely agree.

The survey should be done by an independent company, searches etc all done and in a pack for potential sellers to look at alongside the EPC etc.

Yes there are flaws - they'd only be valid for a year or so but it would make everything quicker and easier and it also would save renegotiation/ sales falling through post survey.

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Tupster · 21/02/2024 13:06

Can't understand why you'd ever want the seller to do this. As a buyer of anything, it's my right to have a good old look and think and decide if that's the one I want. If a buy a dress from the internet and I just go by the store's description and photos, I still have the right to get it home, try it on and return it if I'm not happy. The searches, surveys and legal back and forth in home buying is where I have that same opportunity to really understand what I'm buying and be sure I'm happy with what I'm doing because there's no return policy on a property once I've handed over the cash.

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Ponderingwindow · 21/02/2024 13:09

Structural issues, I think people want to be able to choose the person hired. The quality of those inspections varies dramatically. A seller doesn’t have an incentive to hire someone rigorous.

legal searches, should be absolutely standardized. I don’t see why these can’t be prepared and ready.

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GasPanic · 21/02/2024 13:26

Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 12:52

It’s the survey company providing the survey though. In Scotland it goes via the estate agent and all works fine. The seller can’t fiddle it.

I would absolutely trust all estate agents 100%.

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Dearg · 21/02/2024 13:38

The Scottish home report essentially replaces the surveyor report. It does not cover everything - legal searches are still performed separately.

The Home Report pack contains a survey by a chartered surveyor and often a mortgage valuation ; an Energy Performance Certificate, also completed by the surveyor and a Questionnaire completed, or not, by the seller.

It is supposed to be refreshed every 3 months. But is not a structural survey; homeowners disclose ‘ to the best of their knowledge’ etc. Its effectively a valuation, little more.

In my own experience, both as seller and buyer, it cannot be relied on to be accurate or comprehensive.

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DelphiniumBlue · 21/02/2024 14:08

There was a trial run for this some years ago, where the sellers provided a full pack. The drawbacks were that the searches expired fairly quickly, and so someone had to pay for them to be renewed, and the surveyors wanted to limit their liability to the person who paid for the report, and not to anyone else to whom the report was shown.
However the property information forms were retained, so that the seller is now expected to provide an info pack containing all the relevant service charge/maintenance info at the outset. I stopped doing conveyancing more than 10 years ago, but my experience was that this didn't really speed anything up. Anyone working in the industry knows what info will be required, and will start trying to collate it at an early stage.
Delays stem more from things like mortgage requirements, dealing with issues on survey reports, incomplete documentation ( eg not having all the appropriate consents for work carried out), and personal issues ( timings with vacating the property, tenants or lodgers in situ, divorce or probate), and people not fully understanding the process, so not dealing promptly with queries, being on holiday/uncontactable, and not having the same priorities, or not understanding the importance of certain pieces of paper, eg ground rent receipts, so not prioritising doing what's necessary to obtain them.
Anecdotally, delays with conveyancers, particularly conveyancing factories, seem to be an issue, mostly due to unqualified staff being overburdened, and the file not being passed to a qualified person for checking until all the information is available. So an issue with paperwork is often not picked up till quite late in the day.

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Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 14:12

GasPanic · 21/02/2024 13:26

I would absolutely trust all estate agents 100%.

You have to trust them to a point though. Also in Scotland the estate agent and conveyancing is (in my experience) the same organisation so it’s the laywers that would be, what, editing pdfs from surveyors? Seems a bit far fetched.

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CattingAbout · 21/02/2024 14:23

I think searches would be ok done by the vendor (except sometimes they can become out of date quickly) but as a buyer I'd want to be in control of the survey, as if anything came to light later thant was missed in the survey, I'd want to able to deal directly with the surveyor.

We were told by our solicitor not to try and get the seller to get the boiler serviced before completing on our house purchase. Solicitor said much better we do it, then the contract is between the boiler engineer and us if there are problems down the line

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pokebowls · 21/02/2024 14:36

@DistingusedSocialCommentator

A potential buyer paying for searches shows some genuine intent on buying, if you see where I am coming from

But this leaves potential buys spending thousands on multiple searches on properties they don't end up getting whereas a seller would only pay once. Most sellers are also buyers

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Love51 · 21/02/2024 14:39

Buyer pays surveyor to find problems.
Seller pays surveyor not to find problems.

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OutOfTheHouse · 21/02/2024 14:41

We did that a while back didn’t we? It only lasted a couple of years I recall.

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Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 15:22

OutOfTheHouse · 21/02/2024 14:41

We did that a while back didn’t we? It only lasted a couple of years I recall.

I think it never fully came in. It was going to include survey too and then stopped at the point of just including the energy thing (EPC maybe).

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BobnLen · 21/02/2024 15:28

I recall the HIP (home information pack) but it never really come to much and just ended up with the EPC, getting on for 20 years ago.

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Mildura · 21/02/2024 15:44

Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 15:22

I think it never fully came in. It was going to include survey too and then stopped at the point of just including the energy thing (EPC maybe).

Definitely fully implemented, although never had a survey as part of it, only lasted 2 or 3 years and scrapped in about 2010.

The EPC was only retained as it was an EU requirement.

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Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 15:54

Mildura · 21/02/2024 15:44

Definitely fully implemented, although never had a survey as part of it, only lasted 2 or 3 years and scrapped in about 2010.

The EPC was only retained as it was an EU requirement.

Oh I didn’t realise that ☺️

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muddyford · 21/02/2024 16:04

BobnLen · 21/02/2024 15:28

I recall the HIP (home information pack) but it never really come to much and just ended up with the EPC, getting on for 20 years ago.

I remember this too. If a house took a while to sell it had to be redone. Makes more sense for it to be done by the prospective buyer. Anyway it's buyer beware and many people would not trust a survey commissioned by the sellers.

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ClaudiaWankleman · 21/02/2024 16:23

Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 14:12

You have to trust them to a point though. Also in Scotland the estate agent and conveyancing is (in my experience) the same organisation so it’s the laywers that would be, what, editing pdfs from surveyors? Seems a bit far fetched.

Buyers don't have to put much trust in the agent, and even the small amount they do is often betrayed by EAs - there have been so many threads here about agents refusing to pass on offers, or making up offers to drive up commission.

If the homeowner commissioned the survey then the liability would be limited to the homeowner - it would be incredibly risky to write a report where liability was owed to... anyone? who read the report. If there was a material error, would the surveyor then be liable for penalties against the EA for loss of sales commission, costs sunk by solicitors on properties that were pulled out on as well as to the potential buyers? What about the mortgage lender who used the report, are they owed damages?

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Cheeesus · 21/02/2024 16:32

ClaudiaWankleman · 21/02/2024 16:23

Buyers don't have to put much trust in the agent, and even the small amount they do is often betrayed by EAs - there have been so many threads here about agents refusing to pass on offers, or making up offers to drive up commission.

If the homeowner commissioned the survey then the liability would be limited to the homeowner - it would be incredibly risky to write a report where liability was owed to... anyone? who read the report. If there was a material error, would the surveyor then be liable for penalties against the EA for loss of sales commission, costs sunk by solicitors on properties that were pulled out on as well as to the potential buyers? What about the mortgage lender who used the report, are they owed damages?

No idea but it works fine in Scotland.

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