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    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 8th Aug 18, 11:32 AM
    • 11Posts
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    Kulpio
    Loft Conversion no proven buildings regs - renegotiate price - help!
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:32 AM
    Loft Conversion no proven buildings regs - renegotiate price - help! 8th Aug 18 at 11:32 AM
    Hi, we are first time buyers and have been looking for a year for a house in the right area, and the perfect location has come up. It is rural so not many options outside of a flood zone (Somerset).

    Anyway we can't seem to get any guidance from Solictor or anyone about what to do.

    So it is a bungalow that has had a first floor added in the early 90s. We have a full building survey and the survey basically said it is a DIY bodge job that would not meet current building regs.

    The sellers can;t provide the original regs either. Thing is the house was on the market for a week and it has something like 3-6 offers, some over the asking price. We put an offer in 20k over asking price and we got accepted. We were happy as its a lovely, peaceful location and we want to live there for years.

    But the survey uncovered this about the loft and we are worried we may have to fork out another 20k or so to have it rectified to meet modern building regs. We basically went to the agent yesterday to let them know what has come up and to hint we may want to decrease our offer. He said there are the other people who offered ringing up asking if things have fallen through etc. So now we do not think we will be able to drop the price.

    Bearing in mind the first floor has 2 out of the 4 bedrooms, we feel like the estate agent misled us into thinking these are actually bedrooms when the conversion does not meet building regs and is very dubious towards fire regs...

    Long old story here but do we try for a lower price? (It has been two months since our offer was accepted because they lost the deeds and wasnt registered with land registry and all sorts). We don't want to go in too low for them to say, No thanks, see you later, because deep down we really want the property but we have already gone above asking price to secure it but to put in another 20k or so, well we cant afford it...

    It is a difficult situation and no one is bloody helping us
Page 2
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 5:43 PM
    • 25,949 Posts
    • 70,161 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    C'mon doozer, youre drawing on a comment that was the third post in direct reply to the OP. One which was lacking in much detail.

    I saw a new poster, i saw that what is a typical solution in these fairly common situations (lack of regulatory approval) hadnt been suggested and i recommended that the conversation was had with a solicitor about it. I also pointed out that it doesnt cover the bad work it covers the lack of approvals.

    I get it, youre the oracle in these here parts of the forum. Ill be directing any and all questions on this forum to your PM account as my advice is clearly unsuitable and you will know better.

    Pompous person.
    Originally posted by spadoosh
    I'm not trying to be pompous, I'm genuinely encouraging people to take more information from the OP and try to offer advice that is a little more tailored to them. You didn't have the info and answered, okay. We got some more information and the subsequent advice needs to be tailored to that. I'll often guide people to an indemnity policy too. Some things aren't worth losing sleep over.

    My post was general but if it was in reply to anyone, it was shortcrust in the post above mine, who was saying that people wouldn't be bothered by it and asking if anything needed to be done even after the OP posted a pretty rubbish report from the surveyor that didn't just say 'you should check for permissions'. Perhaps shortcrust didn't read the replies or something.

    It does concern me that there can be a sort of consensus on the board that one should ignore much of a survey report as backside covering by a surveyor. I totally see that these reports can make quite trivial things seem complicated to new buyers but comprehensive reports are valuable reports and can contain issues with quite expensive resolutions that people gloss over.

    FWIW, if I do get PMs, I usually ask people to post on the boards and I'll reply to them there.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 08-08-2018 at 5:46 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 8th Aug 18, 6:58 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Kulpio
    The surveyor has just rung me to explain more in depth. He said that if the searches and if we find there is no building regulation approval then we will most likely have to take down the stairs, put a trap door in as they can not be classed as habitable or atleast, bedrooms.

    Is this view extreme? That is part of where we are at, is that we paid over asking price, but if we have to pay say £20k or more to rectify the first floor, then we would most likely want to reduce back down to asking price. It is hard to gauge the price of the house in comparison to others because the plot is kind of unique and not many similar properties are on offer but at the end of the day we are approaching what think is the ceiling and the rest of the house needs modernising, so we would need to reduce.

    We are just concerned that when we hinted towards us finding out these issues in the survey and what that could lead to, he said the other people that put offers in have been ringing to see how the sale is going to check if it has fallen through etc. He put a lot of pressure on us to make the offer the day we did so, and he lied during that viewing saying the owner had died where we have found out they haven't. Are all estate agents this sly, I know they work for the sellers, but I don;t think I can ever trust an estate agent after this guy...
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 8th Aug 18, 7:34 PM
    • 5,042 Posts
    • 7,575 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    The surveyor has just rung me to explain more in depth. He said that if the searches and if we find there is no building regulation approval then we will most likely have to take down the stairs, put a trap door in as they can not be classed as habitable or atleast, bedrooms.

    Is this view extreme? That is part of where we are at, is that we paid over asking price, but if we have to pay say £20k or more to rectify the first floor, then we would most likely want to reduce back down to asking price. It is hard to gauge the price of the house in comparison to others because the plot is kind of unique and not many similar properties are on offer but at the end of the day we are approaching what think is the ceiling and the rest of the house needs modernising, so we would need to reduce.

    We are just concerned that when we hinted towards us finding out these issues in the survey and what that could lead to, he said the other people that put offers in have been ringing to see how the sale is going to check if it has fallen through etc. He put a lot of pressure on us to make the offer the day we did so, and he lied during that viewing saying the owner had died where we have found out they haven't. Are all estate agents this sly, I know they work for the sellers, but I don;t think I can ever trust an estate agent after this guy...
    Originally posted by Kulpio

    You haven't paid over the asking price you offered over the asking price. However you offered over the asking price for a 4 bed house what the surveyor is telling you that what you have here is a 2 bed with a nice storage loft. You can't use the bedrooms in the loft as bedrooms because they are likely to be dangerous if there is a fire.



    Listen to what the surveyor is telling you. They know what they are doing. This is probably the kind of house that needs to be bought by a builder. The problem is that if the previous owners thought it was alright to do a DIY loft conversion you are likely to find that all sorts of other things have been bodged. It is possble that you will need a new roof. Where are you going to get the spare cash from to pay for a new roof? The money for the repairs will not be paid for by the mortgage. You will have to find this money out of your savings.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 10:25 PM
    • 25,949 Posts
    • 70,161 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    I think it's an extreme view. Everything can be fixed. The question is the cost and the value to the person that owns it.

    Every converted loft was a typical loft with a hatch and some Xmas decorations in it at one point.

    Perhaps there is some element that prevents it from meeting regulations - which would be headheight, but I'd be surprised, OP, if you didn't feel it was a bit poky up there. The requirement is 2 metres above the stairs . Even headheight can be addressed. At a cost!

    I do think your surveyor's report is your friend for negotiation.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Tink_x
    • By Tink_x 9th Aug 18, 8:17 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Tink_x
    Havenít read all the replies so may of already been mentioned but I think you can get indemnity insurance policies to cover things like missing regs.
    • LeoTLion
    • By LeoTLion 9th Aug 18, 9:41 AM
    • 125 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    LeoTLion
    OP you haven't mentioned if you are cash buyers or require a mortgage.

    If the latter, and given the issues highlighted in the survey, isn't it unlikely for a mortgage company to grant a loan for anywhere near the asking price, if at all?
    • Angry_kittens
    • By Angry_kittens 9th Aug 18, 11:56 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    Angry_kittens
    A family member encountered a similar issue when buying his first house, the seller was unwilling to negotiate or get the building regs so he pulled out of buying it, much to the shock of the estate agent who thought as a first time buyer he wouldn't have the stones to pull out. Put the seller in a pickle as he was about to complete himself etc. House sold a long time later for 15k less than offered.

    If you're not happy don't buy, a house is the biggest purchase you will ever make! It could cost a lot more in time, effort and money in the long run.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 9th Aug 18, 12:38 PM
    • 1,628 Posts
    • 597 Thanks
    sevenhills
    The surveyor did not give a value in his report. I am not sure the other parties know about the issues, the estate agents certainly do know but didnt tell us or anyone. They said, well the vendors were selling it as a project. Then why not be clear with us to start with... The other top offer came from someone deep in a chain whereas we are non-chain so it is helpful for them.
    Originally posted by Kulpio

    I assume that means that you will not be able to get a mortgage on it.

    • Surrey_EA
    • By Surrey_EA 9th Aug 18, 12:55 PM
    • 1,666 Posts
    • 2,219 Thanks
    Surrey_EA
    I assume that means that you will not be able to get a mortgage on it.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    I think this was a buildings survey, carried out solely for the benefit of the purchaser, not necessarily connected to a mortgage valuation carried out for the benefit of the bank, in the event a mortgage is required.

    A buildings survey does not necessarily include a valuation of the property.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 9th Aug 18, 2:27 PM
    • 3,842 Posts
    • 3,386 Thanks
    Hoploz
    Thinking of the mortgage here, and wondering what stage your application is at.... Your solicitor will pass these survey results on to your lender who will use it to determine the value and whether they want to proceed or whether they will proceed if certain conditions are met.

    I think you need to hang on and wait to see what the lender says before attempting renegotiation, for two reasons -
    1) You can probably not afford to proceed if the lender values it lower than your offer
    2) It's more concrete evidence to put before the seller in support of your reduced offer
    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 10th Aug 18, 8:30 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Kulpio
    We have our mortgage approved already and waiting to go, they were no issues with the value on their behalf. However we must tell them about these issues before we proceed I feel so it maybe that we need indemnity insurance to appease them no matter how useless I feel that insurance is from researching.
    • Teasedale
    • By Teasedale 10th Aug 18, 8:43 AM
    • 45 Posts
    • 29 Thanks
    Teasedale
    Yeah, a building survey is what they used to call structural survey, it is what we had done.
    Originally posted by Kulpio
    Did you ask the surveyor to explain what remediation was required to bring the property to a standard which you thought acceptable, and what it was likely to cost. This is the info you need before you negotiate.
    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 12th Aug 18, 11:33 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Kulpio
    Did you ask the surveyor to explain what remediation was required to bring the property to a standard which you thought acceptable, and what it was likely to cost. This is the info you need before you negotiate.
    Originally posted by Teasedale
    Yes, we got a builder in to take a look. He kept stressing that the building regs may have passed off the work at the time. I get that, totally.

    We are still waiting on the searches from the solicitor that should bring up past building reg approval hopefully. If it doesn't and we have already been told the sellers wont be able to find any certification of building reg approval... Then surely the current loft conversion needs to meet with modern day regulations, which it doesn't so overall doesn't this make it a 2-bed house?
    • need an answer
    • By need an answer 12th Aug 18, 12:00 PM
    • 957 Posts
    • 1,167 Thanks
    need an answer
    Then surely the current loft conversion needs to meet with modern day regulations,
    Originally posted by Kulpio
    Regulations change over the years and at some point in time there were potentially no regulations in place.

    Something historically built does not need to comply with the most up to date regulations.

    It can be sold without regulations it just means from your point of view you have space that is part converted but not habitable.

    My personal view is that in buying this property you are inheriting a project,its been started but may need stripping back and redoing.
    Wouldn't it be easier to find a 2 bed home without the conversion part in place and starting again?
    Sometimes taking on something old and making it comply to current regs will end up costing more than starting a fresh.

    Nothing is unsalvageable but be prepared to potentially spending a lot of money to put it right.


    You could very well use the extra space as occasional rooms and find you have absolutely no problem structurally or otherwise but think forward to when you may be in position to want to sell and without the then current regulations you will be facing it all again in the same way you are now negotiating with the seller others will negotiate with you.


    The question is not really around how much money you can ask the vendor to drop the price,but do you have sufficient money time and energy to finish a project that someone started 30 years ago to a standard that will actually add value to the property going forward?

    I think you mentioned that the property was unique and on a good plot of land couple that with the EA asking if you are proceeding with the purchase and it wouldn't surprise me if the next buyers lining up for this property are not in your league but developers who actually want it more for the land in order to totally rebuild and remodel it to something more fitting and saleable in the 20th century.
    Last edited by need an answer; 12-08-2018 at 12:42 PM.
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    2017 -32
    • Linton
    • By Linton 12th Aug 18, 12:31 PM
    • 9,821 Posts
    • 10,078 Thanks
    Linton
    Surely whether it satisfied building regs 20 years ago or not is irrelevent. What is important is its current state and the cost to put it right. Perhaps you could get a quote from a local builder if you really want the house, otherwise look elsewhere.
    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 13th Aug 18, 9:27 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Kulpio
    Regulations change over the years and at some point in time there were potentially no regulations in place.

    Something historically built does not need to comply with the most up to date regulations.

    It can be sold without regulations it just means from your point of view you have space that is part converted but not habitable.

    My personal view is that in buying this property you are inheriting a project,its been started but may need stripping back and redoing.
    Wouldn't it be easier to find a 2 bed home without the conversion part in place and starting again?
    Sometimes taking on something old and making it comply to current regs will end up costing more than starting a fresh.

    Nothing is unsalvageable but be prepared to potentially spending a lot of money to put it right.


    You could very well use the extra space as occasional rooms and find you have absolutely no problem structurally or otherwise but think forward to when you may be in position to want to sell and without the then current regulations you will be facing it all again in the same way you are now negotiating with the seller others will negotiate with you.


    The question is not really around how much money you can ask the vendor to drop the price,but do you have sufficient money time and energy to finish a project that someone started 30 years ago to a standard that will actually add value to the property going forward?

    I think you mentioned that the property was unique and on a good plot of land couple that with the EA asking if you are proceeding with the purchase and it wouldn't surprise me if the next buyers lining up for this property are not in your league but developers who actually want it more for the land in order to totally rebuild and remodel it to something more fitting and saleable in the 20th century.
    Originally posted by need an answer
    Well I was told that if building regs cant be proven from back when, then they need to comply to todays? Surveyor went onto to mention that we would need to take out the stairs and put a trap door and have a posh loft space...

    It is hard for us, because we have looked for houses for a year and a half since moving here and nothing has come up in a better location, with a nice garden and only one close neighbour.
    We value privacy and quality of a peaceful life so if it does end up costing more then I guess it doesn't matter.

    That is also the point about the above, I would be surprised if a developer wanted the property as it is outside of the village boundary and they would have to extend onto greenfield site, which I think would be rejected.
    • Kulpio
    • By Kulpio 13th Aug 18, 9:28 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Kulpio
    It's very hard. I look at Rightmove everyday at the 30 houses that come up that meet our criteria and I probably get excited about 1 a week or a couple a month and this one we actually have had our offer accepted. We do not know if it will take a year and a half to find something else you know.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 13th Aug 18, 1:27 PM
    • 5,042 Posts
    • 7,575 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    Yes, we got a builder in to take a look. He kept stressing that the building regs may have passed off the work at the time. I get that, totally.

    We are still waiting on the searches from the solicitor that should bring up past building reg approval hopefully. If it doesn't and we have already been told the sellers wont be able to find any certification of building reg approval... Then surely the current loft conversion needs to meet with modern day regulations, which it doesn't so overall doesn't this make it a 2-bed house?
    Originally posted by Kulpio

    It is a 2 bed house with a nice loft storage space. It isn't a 4 bed because it wouldn't be safe to sleep in the loft.


    If you need a mortgage will the mortgage company only be willing to lend to the value of the 2 bed rather than the 4 bed or was the house very cheap for its apparent size?
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 13th Aug 18, 1:28 PM
    • 5,042 Posts
    • 7,575 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    It's very hard. I look at Rightmove everyday at the 30 houses that come up that meet our criteria and I probably get excited about 1 a week or a couple a month and this one we actually have had our offer accepted. We do not know if it will take a year and a half to find something else you know.
    Originally posted by Kulpio

    Probably better than a house that is going to cost you a lot more in repairs than you can ever sell it for?
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 13th Aug 18, 1:34 PM
    • 3,345 Posts
    • 4,940 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    The surveyor has just rung me to explain more in depth. He said that if the searches and if we find there is no building regulation approval then we will most likely have to take down the stairs, put a trap door in as they can not be classed as habitable or atleast, bedrooms.

    Is this view extreme? That is part of where we are at, is that we paid over asking price, but if we have to pay say £20k or more to rectify the first floor, then we would most likely want to reduce back down to asking price. It is hard to gauge the price of the house in comparison to others because the plot is kind of unique and not many similar properties are on offer but at the end of the day we are approaching what think is the ceiling and the rest of the house needs modernising, so we would need to reduce.

    We are just concerned that when we hinted towards us finding out these issues in the survey and what that could lead to, he said the other people that put offers in have been ringing to see how the sale is going to check if it has fallen through etc. He put a lot of pressure on us to make the offer the day we did so, and he lied during that viewing saying the owner had died where we have found out they haven't. Are all estate agents this sly, I know they work for the sellers, but I don;t think I can ever trust an estate agent after this guy...
    Originally posted by Kulpio

    ...until the people desperate to buy have their own surveys done?
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