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  • FIRST POST
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 14th Oct 16, 4:48 PM
    • 46Posts
    • 19Thanks
    neo2020
    Full Survey done. Now what?
    • #1
    • 14th Oct 16, 4:48 PM
    Full Survey done. Now what? 14th Oct 16 at 4:48 PM
    We had a survey done on the property we are looking to buy today. The property is a leasehold loft conversion in a Victorian block of 14 flats. The ground rent is £150 and service charge is around £1,300 per year.

    We agreed to meet the surveyor after the survey for her to talk us through the main points of her report and ask any questions (we'll get the full report early next week).

    Issues she identified:

    Property

    The surveyor's main concern in relation to the property itself was a smell, which my wife noticed during our 2 viewings as well (I did not notice it but my wife's nose is always much more sensitive + I had a blocked nose!). The surveyor is clear that this smell is evidence of some kind of problem, possibly an issue with the soil pipe in the eaves space in the main bedroom.

    Building & Management

    The surveyor was very concerned about the state of the building and its management.

    The surveyor explained that there are a number of visible issues that may need to be addressed in the future at significant cost, specifically:

    - There are visible cracks on the left side of the front of the building. Depending on when the building was last painted, these may be evidence of structural problems. (the building has clear not been painted for a long time and the cracks are quite small and narrow)
    - The slate roof of the building appears to be the original roof and is likely to need replacement in the next 8 years ("tired" was the word she used)
    - The tree in front of the property is undermining a little 1 foot wall which separates the garden from the street and its roots are likely to be doing the same in the opposite direction (towards the building) (the wall is definitely being undermined but the tree is miles away from the building)
    - There is wet rot on the outside of one of the windows to another flat, repairs for which would have to be paid for by all the leaseholders.

    Basically, the surveyor's main concern is that the property is not well maintained, even though the MC is raking in approximately £18k a year in service charges.

    Actions I've taken:
    - Spoke to solicitors. They advised not doing any searches until we get the management pack from vendor's solicitor to save money, which I agreed with.
    - Contacted EA to gauge the vendor's willingness to address the issues and/or renegotiate.

    Is there anything else I need to do? Anything I've missed?

    My thoughts at the moment are that if we can get the vendor to identify and address the issue inside the property (surveyor said the property itself was otherwise great), i.e. the source of the smell, the other stuff may be a good bargaining chip but it is kind of par for the course, is it not? If we can get them to knock £3-4k off the price, that covers most of the cost in the first few years? Even if the building needs £35-40k worth of repairs, divide that by 14 and it's only 2-3k per flat.

    Is the surveyor likely to be overly negative to cover their backside or is this me trying to talk myself into a bad deal?

    Here are a couple of images of the building:


    Last edited by neo2020; 14-10-2016 at 5:29 PM.
Page 1
    • Thanetia
    • By Thanetia 14th Oct 16, 4:55 PM
    • 40 Posts
    • 37 Thanks
    Thanetia
    • #2
    • 14th Oct 16, 4:55 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Oct 16, 4:55 PM

    Is there anything else I need to do? Anything I've missed?
    Originally posted by neo2020
    Maybe find another flat to buy that doesn't have all these problems?
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 14th Oct 16, 5:12 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    neo2020
    • #3
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:12 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:12 PM
    Maybe find another flat to buy that doesn't have all these problems?
    Originally posted by Thanetia
    We are looking but this is the only one we've seen so far that we liked. In fact, we REALLY like this one and have not seen any that we even came remotely close to thinking "we'd like to live here".

    There are not many properties in this area in our price range so the market is small and in a month only 2-3 have come on the market...

    We would like to make this one work, if we can.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 14th Oct 16, 5:27 PM
    • 51,251 Posts
    • 43,041 Thanks
    Thrugelmir
    • #4
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:27 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:27 PM
    (the wall is definitely being undermined but the tree is miles away from the building)
    Originally posted by neo2020
    How tall is the tree, what type is it and how far is it from the building. I would suggest not miles away.
    “A man is rich who lives upon what he has. A man is poor who lives upon what is coming. A prudent man lives within his income, and saves against ‘a rainy day’.”
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 14th Oct 16, 5:30 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    neo2020
    • #5
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:30 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:30 PM
    How tall is the tree, what type is it and how far is it from the building. I would suggest not miles away.
    Originally posted by Thrugelmir
    I added some pictures to OP.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Oct 16, 5:43 PM
    • 37,051 Posts
    • 40,979 Thanks
    G_M
    • #6
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:43 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Oct 16, 5:43 PM
    Property

    The surveyor's main concern in relation to the property itself was a smell, which my wife noticed during our 2 viewings as well (I did not notice it but my wife's nose is always much more sensitive + I had a blocked nose!). The surveyor is clear that this smell is evidence of some kind of problem, possibly an issue with the soil pipe in the eaves space in the main bedroom.
    A smell is often caused by damp - but the surveyor seems too have discounted this.
    A soil pipe in the main bedroom? Where is the nearest loo? It seems more likely (to me!) to be a soil stack! The outflow from a loo usually passes through an external wall and drops down to groundlevel. However the pipe also usually also goes up (known as a stack to carry smells and gasses to roof level. If this passes through the eaves it may be either the stack does not rise high enough (possible since this is a loft conversion) or it has a leak.

    Building & Management

    The surveyor was very concerned about the state of the building and its management.

    The surveyor explained that there are a number of visible issues that may need to be addressed in the future at significant cost, specifically:

    - There are visible cracks on the left side of the front of the building. Depending on when the building was last painted, these may be evidence of structural problems. (the building has clear not been painted for a long time and the cracks are quite small and narrow)
    small crack, no paint for long time, does not sound like ongoing movement, but only a Structural engineer could say

    - The slate roof of the building appears to be the original roof and is likely to need replacement in the next 8 years ("tired" was the word she used)
    or it could last 25 years
    - The tree in front of the property is undermining a little 1 foot wall which separates the garden from the street and its roots are likely to be doing the same in the opposite direction (towards the building) (the wall is definitely being undermined but the tree is miles away from the building)
    ignore the small wall. How near the building and what kind of tree
    - There is wet rot on the outside of one of the windows to another flat, repairs for which would have to be paid for by all the leaseholders.
    so there's an small expense

    Basically, the surveyor's main concern is that the property is not well maintained, even though the MC is raking in approximately £18k a year in service charges.
    you need to check the accounts - is this money spent each year (on what?) or is it building up a reserve fund?
    Originally posted by neo2020
    from the pictures it does not look in too bad condition, but of course the surveyor has seen it closer to!
    Last edited by G_M; 14-10-2016 at 5:58 PM.
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 14th Oct 16, 6:02 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    neo2020
    • #7
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:02 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:02 PM
    Thank you so much for the detailed answer!

    A soil pipe in the main bedroom? Where is the nearest loo?
    Originally posted by G_M
    The loo is directly adjacent to the eaves which she thinks is the source of the smell. The eaves area is where I inserted the red circle on the image below:




    How near the building and what kind of tree
    Originally posted by G_M


    See above - I don't what type of tree it is but it is huge (taller than the building). It's at least 5-6 metres away from the building and the garden in which it stands is elevated above the foundation, there is like a gulley between the garden and the building itself.

    you need to check the accounts - is this money spent each year (on what?) or is it building up a reserve fund?
    Originally posted by G_M
    Yes, we have requested the management pack from the vendor's solicitors. The reason the surveyor (and me, actually) is concerned is that despite taking in £18k a year, there is no sinking fund at all according to the vendor.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 14th Oct 16, 6:22 PM
    • 916 Posts
    • 1,125 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #8
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:22 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:22 PM
    The general rule is that the top of the tree is the same size as the bottom in other words the roots go as far as the branches so if the branches reach the property then the roots probably do to.
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 14th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    • 2,555 Posts
    • 1,575 Thanks
    csgohan4
    • #9
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    Some insurers may charge more or refuse insurance depending how high and how close to the house it is
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 14th Oct 16, 6:54 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    neo2020
    Some insurers may charge more or refuse insurance depending how high and how close to the house it is
    Originally posted by csgohan4
    Building insurance is included in the service charge so it's not (directly) our problem. I guess this will show up in the accounts when we get them.
    • ElsieMonkey
    • By ElsieMonkey 14th Oct 16, 11:02 PM
    • 265 Posts
    • 245 Thanks
    ElsieMonkey
    i'd be looking into the management company, see what they've spent their money on over previous years and what their plans are for coming years maintenance wise. If the place isn't well managed i would pull out. Properties that aren't managed well aren't nice places to live, and you have no control over making that better no matter how much potential you think the place has. I know I've been there. I'd rather pay higher service charge for well managed property (which I do now do). Research the management company, ask your solicitor to raise some enquiries about their expenses...speak to the neighbours, speak to the management company yourself
    • neo2020
    • By neo2020 15th Oct 16, 12:46 AM
    • 46 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    neo2020
    Research the management company, ask your solicitor to raise some enquiries about their expenses...speak to the neighbours, speak to the management company yourself
    Originally posted by ElsieMonkey
    Thank you, I will definitely be doing all of this.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 15th Oct 16, 7:08 AM
    • 20,801 Posts
    • 83,707 Thanks
    Davesnave
    The house looks as if it might be in a conservation area and a beech tree like that would probably have a preservation order on it.

    If the tree were to threaten the building, management would have to apply to have it top pruned and possibly root pruned as well. In an extreme situation, permission is likely to be granted, but unlikely to be cheap, as these works need specialist management and monitoring over time.

    No one here can tell you how likely problems with the tree might be or over what time scale. A tree surgeon could give an advisory report.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 15-10-2016 at 7:11 AM.
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