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What to Do if You Get Bad Survey Results

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
6th April 2018 (Last updated on Monday 14th October 2019)

What can you do if your chartered surveyor highlights serious problems with your new home during the survey? It may seem daunting but there's no need to panic as, in this guide, Compare My Move will help you explore your options during a time when it feels like disaster has struck.

It may be your perfect property, you may have even put an offer in and had it accepted; but if your survey results are not what you hoped for, it can be a jarring experience to figure out what to do next. 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 Structural Survey, we’ll go through the next steps you should take after receiving bad survey results.

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

Steps To Take After a Bad Property Survey

Communicate With Your Surveyor Communicate With the Estate Agent Communicate With Your Conveyancer Get Quotes for the Work Renegotiate After A Bad Survey Think About What it Means to You Take A Break and Review the Situation Consider Walking Away Save on Your Surveying With Compare My Move

Communicate With Your Surveyor

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

This is a key step as in many cases, the results of a property survey will be misinterpreted as a lot more serious than they actually are. It’s very rare, especially with older houses, that no areas of concern are found or 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 further inspections. On occasions where there is one of a number of key issues, this should give you a much better idea of the impact and potential costs of these problems.

Communicate With the Estate Agent

Once you have a clear idea of what the report is telling you, you should meet with or call your estate agent to get their advice on how to move forward. They should be able to give you their opinions on what move to make next and why. As an impartial party, they may recommend getting a second opinion on the house survey results or suggest other steps to remedy it, like re-entering negotiations on the price, depending on how severe the results of the survey are.

Communicate With Your Conveyancer

Similar to the estate agent, your conveyancer should be able to give you advice on the best way to move forward given the findings of your property survey. It’s important to speak to both the estate agent and the conveyancer as they should be able to give two different but professional viewpoints on the situation.

For example, your estate agent is likely to give advice based on the best way to keep a positive relationship between yourself and the buyer in order for neither party to pull out of the deal. Your conveyancing solicitor, 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 whether you should simply pull out of the sale altogether.

Get Quotes for the Work

Based on what your surveyor has told you and any follow-up questions you have asked, you should have a good and clearer idea of what needs to be done to make the property both safe and habitable. The silver lining is that this is exactly why you need a property survey, so that you can remedy these underlying issues and determine whether the property is actually a worthy investment.

This information will allow you to start gathering quotes for the work that's needed. When doing this, it’s 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, which 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 providing them to you to also give you a good understanding of how long the tasks may take. Ask about when they'll be able to fit you into their schedule and also 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 in and any costs or issues that the timeline on these may cause.

Renegotiate After A Bad Survey

So, you’ve fully understood the issues at hand, sought the advice of key individuals involved in the sales process and have a clear idea of how much and how long the repairs will take to be completed. This now puts you in a strong and informed position to start to renegotiate.

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 involved, they should be able to advise you on what they think is an acceptable counter offer.

Before making this new offer, you must understand exactly what you’re willing to be flexible with. Although you may initially make a new offer based on the full costs of the repairs, it’s very possible that these terms will not be accepted. Knowing what is the minimum amount you would be happy with will make the negotiation process a lot easier. This flexibility may be that you accept some of the cost of the repairs yourself or that you agree for the current owners to make the repairs based on their own quotes and timelines.

Think About What it Means to You

Buying and moving into a new home can be a highly emotional moment in your life. For this reason, once you’ve found a house that you’ve fallen in love with, it can be very difficult to make rational decisions and decide whether or not walking away is the better option in the long-run.

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

Try talking to an unconnected party like a friend or colleague about whether it would be worth the renovations. They should be able to ask you the right questions to help you understand how much it really means to you.

Take A Break and Review the Situation

You could very well open your survey and be immediately overwhelmed by how many issues are connected with the property in question. The initial shock of bad survey results could lead you to make quick and irrational decisions. It’s sometimes worth walking away from the survey and taking a break in order to clear your mind before continuing to take actions based on the findings.

Getting advice from those we have mentioned already within this guide will also allow you to get contrasting views on the results and put them into perspective. Taking a few minutes or even a few hours to think things over can calm your mind and ensure you make the most rational and appropriate decision for you.

Consider Walking Away

It’s very important to keep walking away from the deal as an option if the issues found are troubling. Even though you may have already spent a large amount of money on the property you’ve made an offer on, it still could be worth walking away if the numbers don’t add up. This can be difficult when you have already invested in certain aspects like the property survey itself or if you’ve already fallen in love with the building.

Take, for example, that you’re 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. Always be mindful of the future as well as the current situation you're in. Ask yourself the question, "What will benefit me in the long-run?" 

Save on Your Surveying With Compare My Move

We hope this guide has helped ease your mind following some bad surveying results or has helped 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 which comes from being fully informed about every step available to you. 

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 here so that you can start saving before the results are even calculated.