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Does a ‘bad’ survey mean the end of a sale?

September 24, 2020 1:18 pm


A survey on a house is vital for homebuyers to identify any issues or potential problems they could face when purchasing a home. A survey does tend to make or break a deal, but do not fear – a ‘bad’ survey does not always mean the buyers will pull out of the sale.

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What does a ‘bad’ survey look like?

A survey will often list problems in order of severity. Most surveys use a traffic light system for rating the urgency of the issues, with red meaning urgent repairs are needed, amber meaning further investigation is required, and green meaning that normal maintenance should be undertaken.

What are the common issues?

The homebuyers survey will inform you of any issues that will affect the value of the property. Amongst the most commonly mentioned are wiring issues, out of date heating, and roof problems. These problems can be solved by you fairly easily and are unlikely to prevent the buyer from going ahead; however, there are worse issues that could come up on your survey. Some of the issues that will really ring alarm bells with a potential buyer are damp, rot, insect infestation, and the dreaded Japanese knotweed plant that can make a property unmortgageable! These are a lot more expensive to fix and will require you to weigh up your options.

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It is a good idea to phone the surveyor who carried out the homebuyers survey to discuss the issues in further detail, which should be at no extra cost. If you are looking for a homebuyers survey for your home, you will find many established firms that can do this for you.

What are your options?

On receiving a not-so-positive survey, a potential buyer may call in an expert of their own to investigate the issues further. This is to help them weigh up the extra cost and their budget. As a seller, you have the easier option, which is to fix the problem yourself; alternatively, you can agree a lower asking price. For example, if the damp will cost the buyer £3,000 to fix, you could reduce the asking price by this amount.

Even though you may have to reduce the asking price, a ‘bad’ survey does not necessarily mean that you have to kiss goodbye to your sale and your dream next home.

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