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What to Do if You Get Bad Survey Results

Owain Banfield
Written by Owain Banfield
6th April 2018 (Last updated on Monday 19th November 2018)

What can you do if your property survey results highlight some serious problems with your new home? There's no need to panic, as in this guide Compare My Move explore your options when disaster strikes. 

It may be your perfect property, you may even have put an offer in that has been accepted; but if your survey results are not what you hoped for, it can be a jarring experience. The best you can be is prepared. So whether you had a red condition rating with your Homebuyers Survey, or had some underlying issues from your Building Survey, let's go through the next steps you should take after receiving a bad survey.

This includes who you should talk to in order to get advice on the survey, what steps you should take in order to try and remedy the negative results, and some tips on what to do if a happy middle ground cannot be found.

Steps To Take After a Bad Property Survey

Communicate With the Surveyor Communicate With the Estate Agent Communicate With Your Conveyancer Get Quotes for the Work Renegotiate After A Bad Survey What Does it Mean to You Take A Break and Review Consider Walking Away Save on Your Surveying

Communicate With the Surveyor

The first thing to do if you have received your survey and are either seriously concerned or confused about the results is to get in touch with the surveyor. A good surveyor should be happy to spend some time working through the results and helping you understand them. 

This is a key step, as in many cases results of the survey will be misinterpreted as a lot more serious than they actually are. It is very rare, especially with older houses that no areas of concerns are found and need addressing with some urgency.

Talk to your surveyor and ask questions about how severe each element is and also ask their recommendations based on what they have written. This will give you a much clearer idea of what the report is telling you and will help you make decisions moving forward.

The surveyor should also be able to give you advice on which areas may need a deeper inspection. On occasions where there is one or a number of key issues, this should give you a much better idea of the impact and potential costs of these issues.

Communicate With the Estate Agent

Once you have a very clear idea of what the report is telling you, you should meet with or call your estate agent to get their advice moving forward. They should be able to give you their opinions on what move to make next. As an impartial party, they may recommend getting a second opinion on the survey findings or other steps to remedy such as re-entering negotiations on the price given the results of the survey.

Communicate With Your Conveyancer

Similar to the estate agent, your conveyancer should be able to give you some advice on the best way to move forward given the findings of your survey. It is important to speak to both the estate agent and the conveyancer as they should give two different aspects of opinion.

For example, your estate agent is likely to give advice based on the best way to keep the relationship between yourself and the buyer in a good condition in order for neither party to pull out of the deal. Your conveyancer on the other hand should be able to offer advice based on what is legally viable, they should be able to tell you whether you can renegotiate based on the findings or pull out of the sale all together.

Get Quotes for the Work

Based on what your surveyor has told you via the report and any follow up questions you have asked, you should have a really good idea of what needs to be done to make the property both safe and habitable. The silverlining is that this is exactly why you need a property survey, so you can remedy underlying issues.

This information will allow you to start gathering quotes for the work that needs to be done. When doing this it is a good idea to secure at least 3 quotes on each aspect of work that needs completing. This will allow you to get a good idea of exactly how much the jobs will cost by letting you work out the average, this is key when it comes to potential renegotiation on the total cost of the property.

When you get the quotes, you should also ask those giving them to give you a good understanding of how long the tasks may take. Both in terms of when they could fit you into their schedule and how long it may take to complete once started. This is important as it will give you an idea of when you may be able to actually move into the property and any costs or issues that the timeline on these may cause.

Renegotiate After A Bad Survey

So, you have fully understood the issues in hand, sought the advice of key individuals involved in the sales process and have a clear idea of how much and how long each concern will take to remedy. This now puts you in a strong and informed position in order to undertake renegotiation.

To do this you should start by going via your estate agent, much like the initial negotiations that were taken in the first instance of getting your offer accepted. By communicating with your agent exactly how much the updates are likely to cost you in terms of expenditure as well as the time issues with moving in, they should be able to advise based on what they think is acceptable.

Before making a new offer, you must understand exactly what you are willing be flexible with. Although you may initially re-offer based on the full costs of the repairs it is very possible that these terms will not be acceptable. Knowing what is the minimum amount you would be happy with accepting will make the negotiation process a lot easier and also means you won’t lose out by getting caught up in the heat of the moment. This flexibility may be that you accept some of the cost of the repairs or that you agree for the current owners to make the repairs based on their own quotes and time lines.

What Does it Mean to You

Buying a new home and moving can be one of the most emotional moments of your life. For this reason, once you have found a house that you have fallen in love with it can be very difficult to make rational decisions about it.

When your survey has turned up some bad results, you really need to ask yourself what that new house means to you. If it is perfect in every way, including the size, style and location then it may well be worth spending a little extra to make the move happen. On the other hand, if the house is not 100% ideal, then there is a high possibility that you will regret spending extra money on it in order to make it safe and habitable.

Trying talking to an unconnected party such as a friend or colleague about how much the house means to you. They should be able to ask you some questions to help you understand how much it really means.

Take A Break and Review

You may well open your survey and be overwhelmed by how much seems to be wrong with the property in question. The shock of a few things being wrong with the survey can lead you to make irrational decisions. It is well worth walking away from the survey and taking a break in order to clear your mind before returning to take any actions based on the findings.

Getting advice from those we have mentioned within this guide will also allow you to get contrasting views on the findings and put them into perspective.

Consider Walking Away

It is very important to maintain walking away from the deal as an option. Even though you may have spent a large amount of money based on the property you have made an offer on, it is always worth walking away if the numbers just don’t add up. This can be difficult when you have already invested in aspects such as the survey itself or where you have fallen in love with the property.

Take for example that you are unable to renegotiate any middle ground on the repairs that need making. Although, you may have spent £1,000 in the process of the purchase, if the repairs are going to cost you £5,000 then you will still be better off walking away.

Save on Your Surveying

We hope this guide has helped calm your nerves following some bad surveying results, or helped to prepare you for the worst case scenario. Whether you re-enter negotiations, pull out of the purchase, or pay for remedial work, it's worth taking a level-headed approach to these findings. And this comes from being fully informed about every step you should take.

If you're looking for a second survey as a way of forming a second opinion, Compare My Move can help. You can get your free surveying quote by filling in a 30 second form, and start saving when it matters most.