I’ve just received my survey report and the survey reveals defects. What are my options?
1. If your survey reveals defects, the first thing to do is get quotations from contractors for the works. Survey reports don’t generally include cost estimates because the actual costs can vary depending on whether any work is carried out in isolation or as part of a larger scheme. Make sure that you are fully aware of the cost of all works before exchange of contracts.
2. For most works it is better to choose your own contractor rather than letting the vendor arrange to have the work done. Most works can wait until after the purchase is complete. If you appoint a contractor yourself then you can make sure the works are completed to your satisfaction.
3. If the survey reveals defects which are significant and not reflected in the asking price, you may wish to renegotiate the purchase price. Renegotiation is usually done through the estate agent rather than directly with the vendor. Remember that the vendor is under no obligation to reduce the price. Any renegotiation will depend on how much the vendor can afford to reduce the price by. In some cases the asking price may take into account the condition of the property and there may not be any scope for renegotiation. Negotiation of the purchase price is a delicate balancing act and may not always go to plan. If there are other buyers on the scene then the vendor may choose to sell to another buyer. Similarly, a vendor may decide to take the property off the market if the likely selling price is less than anticipated.
4. You are not under any obligation to give a copy of the survey report to the vendor or even the estate agent. They may ask for a copy but the decision is yours. However, in some cases it may be helpful to give an extract to the estate agent to help negotiations.
5. If you find that the cost of the works is higher than your budget you may choose to withdraw and look for another property. This is only usually an option before exchange of contracts and this is a good reason to instruct a surveyor early in the house buying process.
In the event that you withdraw from the sale then the cost of the survey is a small price to pay when compared to any unexpected expenditure you would have had if you hadn’t commissioned a survey.