Can You Renegotiate Your Offer After a Survey?
Having an offer accepted on a property is an exciting time, but if the building survey shows potential issues with the home, it can also be a time for difficult decisions. Do you plough on so as not to lose the house of your dreams, try to renegotiate, or accept the house is no longer right for you and walk away? The answer will probably depend on several factors, including how severe the issues are and how much you’re willing to pay. Let’s take a look at some of your options.
What are the most common problems surveyors come across?
Before you decide on the best option, it’s essential to be sure you understand the survey and how big the issues discovered are. For example, while many people are put off if the survey finds damp, this is relatively common, and the type of damp and scale of the problem needs to be fully explained. So, while condensation can often be managed without too much trouble, rising and penetrating damp can be more troublesome and more expensive to fix.
Another finding that can strike fear into the heart of a buyer is cracks in the walls, particularly near windows and doors, as this could be a sign of subsidence. Quite often, however, cracks are nothing to worry about and may be an indication of the building settling. Your surveyor should fully explain their findings so you can be clear on whether this is something you need to be concerned about.
As you probably won’t be able to see the roof of a property in any detail when you’re viewing, this can be an area that tends to come back with some issues. This could be anything from cracked tiles or blocked guttering to an unstable structure. Worst case, you’d be looking at a costly new roof, but again, this may not be necessary.
Don’t forget you can always have more investigations carried out, such as roof surveys or damp surveys, should particular areas be highlighted as of potential concern.
Renegotiating an offer after a survey: What are the options?
If, however, the worst-case scenario does happen and a significant issue is identified, it’s still not time to panic as options are available. The first step is to speak to your surveyor so you can be sure about the extent of the problem. At Novello, we’ll meet you at the property to show you what we’ve found in person. We’ll also deliver a clear, comprehensive, easy-to-understand report that you can delve into at any time. Unlike other building surveys, this includes costing estimates for major works, so you’ll already have a good idea of the financial impact of the findings.
It’s also a good idea to keep the seller or their solicitor updated. If you need to arrange further investigations, the seller will need to adapt their timelines, so keep channels of communication open.
Once you have all the information and don’t believe the price is fair, it’s time to consider renegotiating. This can be daunting as you will likely still want to buy the house, just at a price you consider fair. It’s impossible to know how the seller will react but be prepared for some back and forth as you both try to reach an agreement. It may even be that the current owners decide they’d instead carry out the work themselves, in which case you’ll have to decide if you’re happy to let them dictate the standard of the work and are willing to wait.
If you can’t reach a solution both parties are happy with, the final option will be to walk away.
How to Negotiate the House Price Down After the Survey
No seller is likely to be happy if they have to accept a lower offer for their property, but there are ways to give yourself a better chance of paying the right price without upsetting the other party. The key to this is having all the information to hand from your survey, any additional investigations, quotes to rectify the problems and so on.
While you may be concerned that the vendor will walk away from the sale if it becomes too much hassle, remember they may well be buying another property which could be put at risk if they have to start the whole selling process again. If handled properly, renegotiating can be the best outcome for both parties.
At Novello, we offer advice on approaching a renegotiation as part of our Private Client Surveying process. While each situation will be different, and our advice will be tailored accordingly, we’d always suggest putting any new offer in writing alongside the evidence you’ve accumulated. This could also include the Solicitor’s Summary of the survey report highlighting the major issues. Be polite and state the facts, and also be clear in your mind about what you’re willing to accept and what will make you walk away. You may not get all the additional costs covered, so knowing where the compromise could be will be helpful.
Crucially, keep communicating and emphasise that you do want to proceed. These issues will be picked up in future surveys should the seller decide to remarket, so it’s in their best interests to reach a deal too.
Novello Private Client Surveying
Knowing what to do when issues are identified in a survey can be one of the trickiest parts of buying a house. You don’t want to overpay for a property and have to find further cash for major work, but nor do you want to lose a home you’ve fallen in love with. Novello’s Private Client Surveying service is here to help. As a bespoke service tailored to each buyer’s needs, it includes a highly detailed building survey and offers follow-on support, advice and assistance that isn’t available anywhere else.
This all-inclusive service includes significant costings estimates, help organising any further investigations or quotations that may be needed, a reflective valuation that takes into account the true condition of the property following our survey findings, and advice on a renegotiation strategy to give you the best chance of securing the home for a fair price. You’ll also have a RICS-qualified surveyor on hand to answer questions and offer support whenever needed.
Having this expertise can be invaluable when trying to navigate a complex purchase. With Novello’s Private Client Surveying service, we’re here to take the stress out of buying a house and help things proceed as smoothly and swiftly as possible.