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House move problems - any advice please.

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Some close friends are on the brink of moving and are lined up for signing documents on Monday.

Today I received an email from the chap....

"We are due to sign the documents for our house purchase on Monday.

Yesterday, we got to see the insides of the garage and workshop that form the outbuildings. A bit late in the day, as we had made an offer in October. The estate agent had made the excuse that their client's possessions were being stored in the garage. It is my fault, we should have looked at them earlier (before we made an offer).

The upshot is: The buildings are in in a dreadful state and definitely not fit for purpose. Even the estate agent who opened up for us was shocked.

The floor of the garage was uneven and badly cracked. At least one of the walls was cracked and the bricks displaced. The floor of the workshop was wet and the roof cracked. Plants were growing through the roof and the whole place had a yucky feel about it. The building had obviously started out flat because the gable end was a triangular piece of hard board. We knew the roof was asbestos but the state of the buildings has made this more significant.

This leaves us with several options.

One of the options (suggested by the estate agent), is to raise the buildings to the ground (I think the foundations or footings will need redoing, too) and rebuild a garage and workshop. This will obviously be at a cost. We should therefore get an estimate of the cost and ask the vendors to take that off the asking price.

My question to you is:

“Do you know any builders who would come out and do us a quick estimate?”

We are both a bit shaken because this is going to cost us a lot whichever way we go. I had all sorts of plans for storing my stuff in the garage/workshop. This will now have to go into storage or be destroyed.

What do you think".

So, errors on both parts I guess. He should have insisted on checking on the state of the buildings earlier, and the agent should have ensured that that was possible. I guess a surveyor would also have assessed the state of the building had he been instructed to do say.

Oh dear - I think this is going to be a painful exercise!

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Nothing is bought until exchange of contracts. You need to find out if it's stopped moving if so you could pour a new floor in the garage and sort the roof.

The asbestos is expensive to dispose of

Need pics really...

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Surely that should have been picked up at survey? I know the surveyor would be particularly interested in the house, but if the outbuildings form part of the contract then he would at least have given them a cursory glance and if they are as bad as your friend suggests that should have been noted.

 

I would be raising Cain with both the surveyor and more particularly the estate agent!

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Thanks for your comments gents. I agree that the buyer needs to lean very hard on his solicitor and surveyor (I do hope he used one...) to resolve this. He's a clever guy but sometimes a bit naive and trusting. Sad thing is they are downsizing to free up some capital to help their daughter (who I think is disabled) to start buying a place of her own. Having to spend differential sorting this out will knock a hole in what they will be able to pass on to her.

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IIRC, there are different types of survey and it depends which one they paid for. I think the 'lenders valuation report' type just means somebody came along and said, 'Yep, there is a house there'. A structural survey is much more detailed. If the surveyor misses something I believe he can be sued. But he can cover himself by including in the report that he couldn't get access to inspect that part of the property. Either way, your mate hasn't signed up yet. So there is still time for some negotiation unless he wants to pull out completely      

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IIRC, there are different types of survey and it depends which one they paid for. I think the 'lenders valuation report' type just means somebody came along and said, 'Yep, there is a house there'. A structural survey is much more detailed. If the surveyor misses something I believe he can be sued. But he can cover himself by including in the report that he couldn't get access to inspect that part of the property. Either way, your mate hasn't signed up yet. So there is still time for some negotiation unless he wants to pull out completely

You're right about the different levels of survey. The cheapest is the type you mention without which you're unlikely to get a mortgage, there's a very detailed one which costs a lot, and a middle one (which we used) and is pretty detailed.

I think if I was my mate I'd be looking at pulling the plug on buying unless there was a substantial reduction in price. It always costs more and is more hassle than you think it will be.

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My opinion - if the seller has been dishonest and hidden the condition of this part of the property, what else have they hidden?

 

The buyer has nothing to lose as they haven't exchanged. Unless the rest of the property is perfect and ideal, then I would pull the plug and take the cost of solicitors incurred as a lesson learnt. The seller doesn't sound worth it.

 

On the other hand, as per EA suggestion, make a lower offer. Depending on the size of the out buildings in question, you could make a good guesstimate (ask any local builder for a cost per sq/m and add 25%). However, the movement hasn't been measured, you don't know the cause and it could hold many nasty surprises. Water coming up from the floor + movement suggests a collapsed sewer but without pictures, plans or any information, that is just a guess. Asbestos is easy to dispose, the council in Birmingham will collect it for free if it's double bagged and labelled as such. Worth checking with the local authority. My concern would be the water - if it's a leaking pipe, it could have eroded surrounding soil leaving a void which may result in further movement and compromise the main property. 

 

Just my 2ps worth and may be totally wrong as I haven't seen the property. 

 

Cheers

Edited by sanjx

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Thanks sanjx and Karl - it all helps. The strong point is that at present he hasn't signed. Good point about other work that may have been skimped.

Will post next week when things have developed a bit.

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