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    • johnnyfox
    • By johnnyfox 18th Jun 17, 2:27 PM
    • 2Posts
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    johnnyfox
    Scary Buildings Survey results - what should we do next?
    • #1
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:27 PM
    Scary Buildings Survey results - what should we do next? 18th Jun 17 at 2:27 PM
    Hi all, long time lurker first time poster here.

    My partner and I are FTB who are in the process of buying a 2-bed Victorian terraced house.
    Due to the age of the property we had a full buildings survey done and the results have been a bit of a shock to say the least, with a 50/50 split between grade 2 and grade 3 issues. We are currently trying to decide what to do next. We are reluctant to pull out of the purchase but are unsure whether to reduce our offer or ask the seller to make some of the repairs prior to completion.

    The key issues are:
    - Water meter spinning indicating a leak somewhere in the property
    - Windows are single glazed wooden sash and are in various degrees of disrepair and will require replacement in very near future
    - Both front and back doors do not have deadlocks and do not meet insurance standards, frames are damaged and will need replacing
    - Evidence of beetle attack to floorboards and around front door frame (I have seen evidence that this has been treated in the past, so unsure if this is an ongoing problem or not). Floor timbers have been poorly replaced in places
    - Suspected presence of asbestos in upstairs cupboard and also potentially in ceiling soffit board and roof void
    - Rear chimney breast removed on ground/1st floor leaving unsupported structure inside roof void
    - No evidence of recent gas or electrical testing. Fusebox is old single phase model, circuits do not appear to be RCD protected
    - Hornets nest in attic
    - Water tanks in attic are poorly supported, with no insulation jackets or lids
    - No smoke detectors are fitted within the property
    - Presence of damp in front lower wall and also within bathroom and kitchen floors. Only one airbrick visible to front of property and none at rear indicating no through ventilation and that damp air will be present underneath the floor

    Other than these there are various issues that we were already aware of. It seems like our seller is a bit of a DIY enthusiast and has carried out a lot of internal repairs that are half-arsed to say the least. However, most of these appear to be cosmetic and not in need of urgent attention.

    On the plus side, no structural problems were noted and the roof is in good condition.

    We are currently paying 5k over the asking price due to being gazumped, so I do feel that there could be room to negotiate here. However, as previously stated we are keen that the sale does not fall through.

    So I suppose what I'm asking is, how many of these issues are to be expected with a property of this age and are we better off reducing our offer, or insisting that certain works are carried out prior to completion?

    Finally, should we negotiate via the EA our through our solicitor?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    Cheers!
Page 1
    • anselld
    • By anselld 18th Jun 17, 2:35 PM
    • 5,162 Posts
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    anselld
    • #2
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:35 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:35 PM
    The issues are not unusual for a Victorian property. The question is, does the price offered reflect the current state of repairs? What was the surveyors assessment of value in current state .vs. offer price?

    Also, do you have the money after purchase to complete the items you would want to repair.
    Last edited by anselld; 18-06-2017 at 2:38 PM.
    • Chanes
    • By Chanes 18th Jun 17, 2:37 PM
    • 840 Posts
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    Chanes
    • #3
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:37 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:37 PM
    The spinning water meter is a worry if it is leaking in the wrong place, that is aside from the cost. Reading all that you have stronger nerve than I, it would be way too much for me!

    However, given that you still want it, copy the worrying elements from the survey and give them to the EA, they want to sell and may have a friendlier relationship than your solicitor with the vendor. Ask them to see if there is any movement on price given the report! Good luck!
    • harz99
    • By harz99 18th Jun 17, 2:46 PM
    • 2,410 Posts
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    harz99
    • #4
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:46 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Jun 17, 2:46 PM
    johnnyfox, you DO have a structural issue in that report, the unsupported weight in the loft resulting from removal of the chimney breasts.


    Personally I would walk away not just because of the report, but also because of the involvement of a DIY enthusiast, who has undertaken who knows what work, to what sounds an unsatisfactory standard.


    Even a full survey can only see what is visible, what else may be lurking unseen?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 18th Jun 17, 3:00 PM
    • 39,660 Posts
    • 45,170 Thanks
    G_M
    • #5
    • 18th Jun 17, 3:00 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Jun 17, 3:00 PM

    The key issues are:
    - Water meter spinning indicating a leak somewhere in the property
    Worrying. you could inherit an expensive problem eg if the leak were in the mains supply and it passed under the house, needing floors digging up to identify and fix.

    Where does the supply start (ie front boundary?) Does it go under a long front garden? Where does the mains enter the building (where's the main stop !!!!)? At front of house or rear?

    This might be one of the few situatons where I'd want the seller to deal with it and fix before Exchange of Contracts.

    - Windows are single glazed wooden sash and are in various degrees of disrepair and will require replacement in very near future
    Well you knew this from viewing the property didn't you? Budget to replace the windows (£300 - £600 per window?)

    - Both front and back doors do not have deadlocks and do not meet insurance standards, frames are damaged and will need replacing
    Locks are a minor issue. Easy to fit. Current owner never felt the need so why should he pay?
    Wooden frames? UPVC? Depending what is there, the style of property, the rest of the street, whether a Conservation Area, consider doing the doors when you do the window. £1000 the pair?

    - Evidence of beetle attack to floorboards and around front door frame (I have seen evidence that this has been treated in the past, so unsure if this is an ongoing problem or not).
    If it's live it'll need treating. More likely it's historic (the holes they leave don't magically fill themselves!).
    Floor timbers have been poorly replaced in places
    What, so they creak a bit? £6 for a hammer and some nails from B&Q.

    - Suspected presence of asbestos in upstairs cupboard and also potentially in ceiling soffit board and roof void
    Don't disturb it. It'll be fine.Millions of houses have it. Only an issue if you take a sander or grinder to it.

    - Rear chimney breast removed on ground/1st floor leaving unsupported structure inside roof void
    Hmmmm..
    Any idea how long ago?

    Did the surveyor actually say it was unsupported, or could not see any support (eg as may be hidden behand plasterwork etc)?
    Have you asked the seller for Buildings Regs certificate?
    Any signs of either cracking (due to weight of chimney above) or recent redecoration (designed to hide cracking!)?

    - No evidence of recent gas or electrical testing.
    So what? No requirement for either.
    Fusebox is old single phase model, circuits do not appear to be RCD protected
    OK - budget for new Consumer unit (£60 + labour). But likely needs a full re-wire too (£1-3K)
    - Hornets nest in attic
    Remove.
    - Water tanks in attic are poorly supported, with no insulation jackets or lids
    Lid and jacket = £20 B&Q
    'Poorly supported?' Might need an odd job man

    - No smoke detectors are fitted within the property
    2 for £10

    - Presence of damp in front lower wall and also within bathroom and kitchen floors.
    is bathroom also on ground floor?
    Damp at ground floor level most likely either
    * damp from the lack of under floor ventilation
    * raised groundlevel outside (eg flower bed or patio/drive built against the wall above dpc level
    * blocked drain outside

    Failed dpc unlikely but possible and this would be more costly

    Only one airbrick visible to front of property and none at rear indicating no through ventilation and that damp air will be present underneath the floor
    air bricks cost £3 each plus labour


    So I suppose what I'm asking is, how many of these issues are to be expected with a property of this age and are we better off reducing our offer, or insisting that certain works are carried out prior to completion?

    Finally, should we negotiate via the EA our through our solicitor?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    Cheers!
    Originally posted by johnnyfox
    Some of these are superficial (no smoke alarms ) but over all I'd catagorise this as a mini project property. You'll need todo work to it, so will need to have a budget in reserve to pay for that.

    Do NOT try to get the seller to bodge do it before Complation.

    Yes try to get the price reduced. If you currently have no reserve to do the work, and the seller refuses to reduce the price, walk away.

    Negotiate via EA.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 18th Jun 17, 3:17 PM
    • 9,309 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    • #6
    • 18th Jun 17, 3:17 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Jun 17, 3:17 PM
    Budget for:

    New external doors to meet insurance requirements
    New double glazed windows throughout
    Beetle infestation treatment
    Complete rewire with new consumer unit and extra sockets.
    Complete internal redecoration and replastering following the above.
    Removal of hornets' nest - could be £100.
    Replacement of all faulty floorboards
    Treatment of all damp issues and possibly provide dpc, airbrick(s) etc
    Proper lagging and support of water tanks
    Removal of, or making secure unsupported structure in roof space plus making good any damage to masonry etc.
    Investigation of water leak
    Gas safety check and possible rectification of unsafe works
    Rectification of any unsuitable DIY work

    Usually if undisturbed asbestos is relatively safe, but if in doubt its removal will be costly and it will have to be replaced by suitable materials.

    Smoke detectors are an option and are relatively inexpensive.

    Add the cost of all this to your £5K gazump and I think you'll find you are seriously overpaying. I would view other houses asap, see what else is available for the money

    Do not be fooled, that could be an expensive list of remedial works
    Last edited by lincroft1710; 18-06-2017 at 3:23 PM.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 18th Jun 17, 8:38 PM
    • 2,491 Posts
    • 3,254 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #7
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:38 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:38 PM
    I think that this house is going to be too much work for a FTB. It needs attention. It really needs attention by someone who has a large amount of savings so that when there are nasty discoveries during the work which there will be they can be repaired. It always costs more to repair a house than you think it will. When you start to take out the cosmetic Destroy It Yourself improvements you have no idea what you will find but what the survey tells you now is that it has not been looked after.

    Isn't there any other house on the market in your area that offers this type of accommodation without all the expensive problems that this house has? They may be more expensive to buy now but this one is not going to be cheap.
    • JigglyPug
    • By JigglyPug 18th Jun 17, 9:42 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 202 Thanks
    JigglyPug
    • #8
    • 18th Jun 17, 9:42 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Jun 17, 9:42 PM
    It's not necessarily a 'walk away' case but I would think very carefully about your finances and whether you need to renegotiate, mainly because there are some really expensive issues there and you're already paying above asking! I'm not one to be overly nervous about issues in an old property but the fact that you're FTBs and you're paying more than asking for a house with some serious issues would make me pause for concern. If it was me, my main concerns would be:

    - Windows need replacing or repairing. This is an expensive job, especially if you plan to refurbish the original sash windows or replace with new sash windows. Have you budgeted for this?
    - Unsupported chimney breast in the loft. This needs to be looked at ASAP, and could be deceptively expensive to fix.
    - Potential leak. This could be really expensive and could involve a lot of remedial work to put right any damage after you find the leak.
    - Electrics sound like they're rather old. Can you afford a full re-wire (plus again, the necessary remedial work after) if necessary?

    All in all, it's not the worst survey in the world and some things wouldn't worry me at all but there are some potentially very expensive jobs in there!
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 19th Jun 17, 10:43 AM
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    ReadingTim
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 10:43 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 10:43 AM
    What needs to be done, what's commensurate with the age of the property and what's purely cosmetic has been well covered by other posters: given it sounds like there was a fair degree of interest in the property, you have to determine whether you're willing or able to buy the house at the previously agreed price, and rectify the issues at your own expense, in the event the vendor is unwillng to negotiate.

    It's better to rectify the issues after you've bought it, rather than getting the vendor to do it, with payment dealt with by way of a reduction in the purchase price. However, you will therefore need to keep cash left over after purchase for this purpose, which will mean (possibly) a lower deposit, and therefore higher LTV, which could cause a problem. Therefore, whilst you may be willing to take this 'project' on, the bank may not.
    • johnnyfox
    • By johnnyfox 25th Jun 17, 4:23 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    johnnyfox
    Thank you all for your very helpful replies - I really appreciate all the time taken to comment and must apologise for my delayed response.

    It's been a hectic week of contacting builders, dealing with estate agents, viewing other properties and doing a fair bit of soul searching.

    We're currently awaiting two sets of quotes from damp specialists and a builders for the structural work on the chimney breast. In the meantime we've viewed a few other places around the area that are within budget and although some are in better condition and some even slightly cheaper, none have the great outdoor space that this one has, nor do they have what we would consider to be the same potential. It's made us realise that we do really want this place, but not at any price. Once we get our quotes in we'll be looking to renegotiate the price with the seller based on this and if they won't budge then we're happy to walk away.

    Once again, thank you all for your advice - I feel much better informed than I did a week ago!
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