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  • FIRST POST
    • DazRave
    • By DazRave 14th Jul 17, 1:49 PM
    • 7Posts
    • 1Thanks
    DazRave
    Scary survey or just scary words?
    • #1
    • 14th Jul 17, 1:49 PM
    Scary survey or just scary words? 14th Jul 17 at 1:49 PM
    Hi guys!

    Been a lurker of the forums for years, always managed to find the answers I've needed via a search but this problem seems much more specific. So I'm after a collective group of opinions from both past/current buyers and sellers.

    I'll try to just summarise to make things easier:
    • FTB who have found the perfect (1930s) house we both love.
    • Offer accepted, Mortgage agreed, Our own building survey completed (the one higher then the standard HomeBuyers report).
    • Pre-Survey concerns around slightly sloping steps near the top of staircase. Other already noticed issues like guttering being a bit poor, old roof, old style double glazing with a few window seals failing causing condensation between glass.
    • Post-Survey highlighted everything above but also highlighted both landing and bathroom floor is slightly sloped too. Couldn't distinguish why this was but the opinion of Surveyor was that the it's potentially still moving and could be due to the open plan kitchen/dining room not having sufficient support.
    • Survey ended with an estimate of £8k worth of repairs but this included sorting out a badly laid driveway as well as guttering and other bits and bobs and didn't include repairs/investigation on the sloping issue.

    Our opinion:
    Other then the (slightly, may I add) sloping floor and top steps the report didn't highlight anything we didn't already know. Regarding the slope, there's some cracking on the internal walls below the sloping floor but none on the external walls.

    Friends/Family majority opinion:
    Pull out.

    Options
    • Pay for structural engineer to work out reason for sloping and supply estimation of cost of work. Use that estimation to re-negotiate price.
    • Pull out and don't waste any more money.

    Side note.. we received the Report last night (literally) and already the Estate Agent is pushing us to digest it and tell them once we've done reading it. I'm assuming they are just wanting to get things moving. Do we send them the report so they understand what's concerning us at the moment or do we just tell them what's concerning us?

    I like gathering facts and opinions from as many sources as I can before I make decisions. So here I am. Please help!

    Update - 15/072017
    Since the report was received on Thursday evening, we have managed to get a builder into the property this morning. The builder in question is a family friend.

    It seems to me my suspicions have been confirmed. Someone (potentially not the current Vendor) has punched through from Living room to dining room walls and then the dining room to kitchen walls. Not only that but the single story extension to the rear of the house is shoddy too. It just seems like way too many walls have been messed with.

    The most concerning find was that the side external wall is certainly bulging. When looking at the bulge on the wall myself with the builder, I'm out right shocked that nothing at all was said by the Surveyor about it.

    We're gutted, to say the least. The work needed could easily go as high as £15k with their being no way of telling what else is hidden between those walls once they are stripped back.

    Unless the Vendor's willing to knock £20k off the agreed £190k (listed at £198k, reduced from £205k) I think we'll just have to walk.
    Last edited by DazRave; 15-07-2017 at 3:58 PM. Reason: Added update
Page 1
    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 14th Jul 17, 1:56 PM
    • 1,266 Posts
    • 1,607 Thanks
    shortcrust
    • #2
    • 14th Jul 17, 1:56 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Jul 17, 1:56 PM
    I wouldn't pull out yet. When you're sitting in a home that you don't both love the fact that the floors are dead level won't be much of a consolation.

    Get it looked at. Might be nothing (I have sloping floors which are no bother other than having to wedge things under furntiure legs...), or easily fixed.
    Last edited by shortcrust; 14-07-2017 at 1:59 PM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Jul 17, 2:01 PM
    • 40,193 Posts
    • 45,932 Thanks
    G_M
    • #3
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:01 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:01 PM
    I assume an internal wall between living/dining rooms was removed sometime?

    If this was a load-bearing wall, and insufficient support was added, this could explain movement, and hence sloping floors, cracks etc.

    If the movement is ongoing, I'd be concerned. You'd need to add a load-bearing beam across the gap between the walls. Cost and disruption. If you are prepared to put up with both those, fine, include it in your budgetting.

    How long ago was it done? Any idea? Any Building Regulations certification?

    On the other and it might be an idiosyncracy of an old house and nothing more........
    • Returntosender
    • By Returntosender 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    Returntosender
    • #4
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    We're buying a house that has subsidence problems, but it was underpinned by the vendor, so we're not too bothered by a house that has historical subsidence.

    However, if there is movement in the house, internal walls are cracking, then it may be that it just hasn't moved enough for the outside to crack yet. Personally, I would employ a subsidence firm to check it over - do you know of any historical leaks to the property? I would also get a quote for structural strengthening of the open plan rooms.

    I would be put off, personally, because it sounds like a lot of uncertainty in the years ahead.
    • cattie
    • By cattie 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • 7,717 Posts
    • 5,241 Thanks
    cattie
    • #5
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    I'd certainly not consider pulling out yet. With one house I bought a few years ago the surveyor noted that an area of landing upstairs had a floor that bounced when trod on. Floor was fully carpeted. Anyway I bought house & it turned out that all the floorboards needed were a couple of noggins, so a very small job. There is nothing stopping you trying to negotiate a lower price by stating the surveyors estimate for works needed.

    All older houses will have some negative remarks made by surveyor, but a lot of the time they are just covering themselves as they don't actually do much other than make remarks about getting specialists in to check things & this is pretty general to all surveys.
    The bigger the bargain, the better I feel.

    I should mention that there's only one of me, don't confuse me with others of the same name.
    • DazRave
    • By DazRave 14th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    DazRave
    • #6
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jul 17, 2:28 PM
    @G_M
    "I assume an internal wall between living/dining rooms was removed sometime?"
    Correct. There's been a wall taken out between kitchen and dining room.

    "How long ago was it done?"
    We think it pre-dates the Vendor, so sometime before 1998, but we're checking this.

    "Any Building Regulations certification?"
    None was present for the Surveyor to look at, but that doesn't mean there isn't one and so we are going to ask the Vendor to provide.

    There's a small single story extension to the rear of the house which extends the dining room and kitchen. The removed wall creates a large U shaped room. The bottom of the U section is the original section of the house. Therefore it's one of the original walls which has been removed. It's also worth noting that a W/C has been installed under the stairs too close to the area of the cracks and directly under the top 2 steps that are sloping.

    @Returntosender
    "do you know of any historical leaks to the property?"
    None at all that we know of. The building survey report also didn't suggest there had been leaks. However, it did highlight that where some of the guttering needed repairs, water was able to run down the external wall of the house. However this is around another side of the house away from the where the sloping floors are.

    @Cattie
    "There is nothing stopping you trying to negotiate a lower price by stating the surveyors estimate for works needed."
    Interesting point.. the Surveyors report listed the urgent repairs at a estimate of £8k. However this list even included the driveway being re-laid because the concrete is a mess. Not something I'd thought would make it onto the urgent list. Weirdly, what didn't make the urgent list was the slope on the floors. The report does earlier on highlight a Structural engineer should be hired though.


    Again, thanks all for the replies. I think we'll certainly get someone in to check out the floors... but what do we tell the EA etc in the meantime? Should we be open and honest, perhaps even send them the report?
    Last edited by DazRave; 14-07-2017 at 2:31 PM. Reason: Added quotation marks.
    • Clutterfree
    • By Clutterfree 14th Jul 17, 3:06 PM
    • 3,422 Posts
    • 18,888 Thanks
    Clutterfree
    • #7
    • 14th Jul 17, 3:06 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Jul 17, 3:06 PM
    Personally, I wouldn't send them the report.
    Tell them that the survey brought up a few issues and that you may need to employ an expert to investigate further.
    Ageing is a privilege not everyone gets
    • DazRave
    • By DazRave 15th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    DazRave
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 3:56 PM
    Update
    Since the report was received on Thursday evening, we have managed to get a builder into the property this morning. The builder in question is a family friend.

    It seems to me my suspicions have been confirmed. Someone (potentially not the current Vendor) has punched through from Living room to dining room walls and then the dining room to kitchen walls. Not only that but the single story extension to the rear of the house is shoddy too. It just seems like way too many walls have been messed with.

    The most concerning find was that the side external wall is certainly bulging. When looking at the bulge on the wall myself with the builder, I'm out right shocked that nothing at all was said by the Surveyor about it.

    We're gutted, to say the least. The work needed could easily go as high as £15k with their being no way of telling what else is hidden between those walls once they are stripped back.

    Unless the Vendor's willing to knock £20k off the agreed £190k (listed at £198k, reduced from £205k) I think we'll just have to walk.
    Last edited by DazRave; 15-07-2017 at 3:58 PM. Reason: added info
    • societys child
    • By societys child 15th Jul 17, 4:58 PM
    • 4,323 Posts
    • 4,548 Thanks
    societys child
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 4:58 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 4:58 PM
    work needed could easily go as high as £15k
    Could go as high as 15k (but may not) and you want a £20k reduction
    Got to ask, what the extra £5k is for?

    • DazRave
    • By DazRave 15th Jul 17, 5:08 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    DazRave
    Could go as high as 15k (but may not) and you want a £20k reduction
    Got to ask, what the extra £5k is for?
    Originally posted by societys child
    Sorry, forgot to mention the £15k very rough estimate would be what I'd be charged via the family friend. I'd dread to actually think what it could raise to from anyone else.

    EDIT: It's looking most likely to be towards the very top end of the estimate as the boiler, gas meter and water meter have all been placed on the wall that would need rebuilding.
    • michael1234
    • By michael1234 15th Jul 17, 11:52 PM
    • 112 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    michael1234
    Perhaps I'll live to regret it one day but unless I'm buying something very old or listed, I don't bother getting a survey at all.
    I really don't appreciate paying for someone to itemise the plug sockets and tell me I might need 10 more expensive specialist reports for this and that.
    • DazRave
    • By DazRave 19th Jul 17, 10:29 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    DazRave
    Update: We ended up pulling out. The work was estimated as between 10 to 20k to get right and put our minds at ease and the Vendor refused to admit the sloping floors and bad cracks were even a issue. Even after our survey strongly recommended further investigation before going ahead with a sale.

    On the flip side.... as a weird twist of fate, we had one eye on another property that came onto the market just before the weekend. It's an absolutely gorgeous house that we expected would sell for way more then it's listed for. Estate Agent wouldn't allow us to book a viewing as they had 25 booked already over the weekend and many offers.

    So we went round and knocked on the door instead. Had a right good chin wag with the Vendor, we really got along with them. They were selling the property on behalf of their best friend who is now in a Care Home. They themselves still live across the road.

    Needless to say, less then 48 hours later, our offer was accepted.

    I don't believe in fate or anything, but wow, what a roller coaster few days.

    Hard work begins now! Thank you to all who replied, the advice was taken on board and helped more then you might think.
    • LandyAndy
    • By LandyAndy 19th Jul 17, 10:45 AM
    • 23,701 Posts
    • 50,303 Thanks
    LandyAndy
    Update: We ended up pulling out. The work was estimated as between 10 to 20k to get right and put our minds at ease and the Vendor refused to admit the sloping floors and bad cracks were even a issue. Even after our survey strongly recommended further investigation before going ahead with a sale.

    On the flip side.... as a weird twist of fate, we had one eye on another property that came onto the market just before the weekend. It's an absolutely gorgeous house that we expected would sell for way more then it's listed for. Estate Agent wouldn't allow us to book a viewing as they had 25 booked already over the weekend and many offers.

    So we went round and knocked on the door instead. Had a right good chin wag with the Vendor, we really got along with them. They were selling the property on behalf of their best friend who is now in a Care Home. They themselves still live across the road.

    Needless to say, less then 48 hours later, our offer was accepted.

    I don't believe in fate or anything, but wow, what a roller coaster few days.

    Hard work begins now! Thank you to all who replied, the advice was taken on board and helped more then you might think.
    Originally posted by DazRave

    Great news. Sounds like it has all come together for you.
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