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06 Oct, 2023/ by Surveyor Local /News

There are many elements of moving home that can give rise to tensions, multiple questions and stress as you endeavour to sort them out. 

One of the items that you hope will come out well is the survey on the structure that you are proposing to buy. But what if the resultant report comes back highlighting a number of issues, with a high potential cost for remedial work?

Your immediate response might be to drop the idea of buying the property like a large lump of lead. 

It is true that receiving unexpected bad news in a survey report can be a surprise and very unwelcome, forcing you to pull out either because of the associated costs of fixing the issues or because you simply don't want to face the upheaval of remedial work once you've bought the place.

However, the main advice is don't be too hasty.

Next steps for a bad survey

Here is a combination of pointers to follow before giving up on your potential dreams, which are provided by the Homeowners Alliance (HOA) and reallymoving:

  1. Talk to your surveyor - be aware that there are different surveys available, which go into more or less detailed analysis and reporting of the state of the property. 

For example, a Property Valuation Report simply assesses the market value of the property, while a RICS Level 3 Survey is far more detailed. The Level 2 Homebuyers Survey and Level 3 Survey reports are presented in a traffic light system, so that you get an immediate visual representation of the severity of the issues.

But some of the points may still be confusing or a source of worry, which is why you should ask your surveyor to provide further clarification. They will be able to provide guidance on whether it's a discussion with a seller that's required or, at the other end of the scale, if you need to get a builder or structural engineer involved.

  1. Talk to the experts - some of the remedial work may need more information before you can make a decision on the next course of action. 

HOA advises contacting specialists for whichever structural problem is causing you concern, so that it can be assessed further and a quote provided for the work to be undertaken - there is no obligation with the firm providing the quote but this document provides you with the information on likely costs. 

And it's always advisable to get at least two quotes for comparison purposes.

According to HOA and reallymoving, the common problems that surveyors identify are evidence of damp (the more detailed survey will be more thorough in identifying potential sources), structural damage to brickwork, foundations and timbers, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants, subsidence (and its less familiar cousin, heave, which is where the ground expands and pushes the foundations upwards or inwards), rotten window and door frames and old wiring that might be a source of danger and risk of fire or electrocution).

All of these can be a source of worry, but experts in these areas may assist in quelling those fears, giving their analysis of the effort and time it'll take to fix the issue.

  1. Talk to the seller - you have the survey and are armed with the quotes from the experts. 

These are all useful pieces of information to use in a dialogue with your seller to work out the best way forward, perhaps negotiating a reduction in the asking price (before you commit to an offer) either to cover the cost of fixing the issues or at least to go some way to paying for them.

Or you might be in a strong position to request the vendor to fix the problems as part of the agreement before the exchange of contracts.

As the HOA points out, this is extremely valuable in negotiations where the survey-flagged problems have a material impact on the property's value (an independent valuation comes as part of the survey for you to weigh up against the asking price).

And, some more good news, if you decide to go ahead with the purchase, the results of the survey do not need to be shared with anyone (including your lender) as you have paid for it.

  1. Do your research - reallymoving advise that finding out as much as possible is essential before you enter into discussions or negotiations with your potential vendor. 

The value of the property is dependent on a number of factors, including the market forces in the area local to where you are planning to buy. So, for example, is the market currently in favour of buyers or sellers? Are there comparable properties that have recently sold?

  1. Be honest - your immediate reaction might be to throw your arms up in horror and turn your back on the property because of the inevitable worry and stress that pursuing it might cause. 

But, as reallymoving rightly points out, you need to be honest with yourself - does the result of survey and the upheaval that might result from the To Do List really mean you want to lose the home that you've already investing time and effort in?

If the answer is “no”, there is an amount of strength you can draw from that acceptance.

You can read more details in the HOA and reallymoving articles.

Picking the right surveyor

Before you have to worry about any of that, you'll want to get a survey sorted on your prospective new home, with a trusted and efficient Chartered Surveyor, who will provide the detail and support you need for a cost-effective price and in a quick turnaround.

And that's where it is really worth contacting Surveyor Local

Not only will the surveyor work hard to find all the problems affecting the property, they will also be keen to adopt new and proven technology in order to give the best survey possible.

Surveyor Local will provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay. 

You'll get one of over 100 fully-qualified RICS surveyors, who is local to the property you are buying so they will know the area and bring that knowledge to their assessment and their analysis of the issues with the new home.

Next-day bookings are usually available, and your appointed surveyor will look after arranging access to the property with the estate agent and the seller. Once the survey is complete, they will send you a PDF copy of the report by email.

Call  to get your survey quote started, or to discuss your concerns with the acquisition of your planned property.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Surveyor Local's easy-to-use quote generator. Simply input your name, postcode, email address, phone number and an approximate value of the property (usually the agreed price), and we'll give you an instant quote for the work (with an email copy). 

We'll do the rest once you confirm your acceptance of the quote.

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