My surveyor has refused to put a valuation on the property and is requesting further reports, including on the condition of the wall ties and dampness. What should I next?
The Surveyor providing the valuation and requesting the additional reports is doing so as he/she is unable to come to a definite conclusion as there are potentially serious unknown variables, such as the cost of remedial works that may be required to remedy the defects found.
The situation is that the surveyor providing the initial report, likely a Mortgage Valuation or Homebuyer Survey, is working under the terms and conditions of that particular report and as such may not be able to conclusively determine the extent of a particular defect. For instance defective wall ties. Whilst it may often be possible to establish the potential for a defect to exist in the wall ties, from external visual evidence such as horizontal cracking or other defects, that does not necessarily mean that the Surveyor will know the full extent of the problem. That can often only be fully confirmed by an intrusive inspection within the cavity of the wall. As you can imagine, the Surveyor cannot just go around drilling holes in people’s walls, plus the terms & conditions (and yes the fee that has been paid) does not justify that in-depth specialist work.
So your Surveyor has found the defect or at least suspects one exists. He’s/She has highlighted that to you and you now need to obtain reports from suitably qualified, experienced contractors whom are members of an appropriate trade/professional organisation, to undertake further investigations. They will obtain permission to carry out intrusive inspections and will also have specialist equipment. Furthermore as they may also be undertaking the works, they can quantify the cost of the works required to rectify the defect. That’s an important aspect as lets say a property in good repair would achieve a market value of £100,000 in a good repair, if there’s say £10,000 of repairs required, then the valuation may actually be only £90,000. However without the additional reports the Surveyor would not be able to accurately confirm the situation. Hence why they ask for additional reports.
You should, in this situation, put your legal team and anyone else who may spend your money on hold until you know the outcome of the further inspections. Notify estate agents and the vendor that you intend to undertake such works and get their permission, hopefully also agreement that they will deduct the cost from the proposed sale price and/or otherwise compensate you for the expenditure, then you should commission YOUR OWN reports from experts you have instructed.
Why should you commission your own reports? Well, firstly always remember the Estate Agent is acting for the person selling you the property, the Vendor wants to sell you the property. Now doesn’t that leave open the possibility for reports commissioned by them to be tainted, at least a little? Moreover, if you find you’ve moved in and that the defects are still present, you’d be in a much stronger position to approach the contractor providing the report if you’d commissioned it (i.e. paid for it) than you would if someone else did and that report was therefore in their name.
You should always ensure the contractor provides a cost of rectifying the defects, is a member of an appropriate trade/professional body and provides you with a detailed written report on their findings.
Once you have that report you can then pass either the report itself or the Valuer/Surveyor may well accept it’s findings (cost of works being likely the most important bit). They may choose not to adjust their valuation, believing that the cost of the works is factored into the purchase price or alternatively may adjust by even more than the cost of works (buggeration factor for instance). That’s the Valuer’s call and will be based upon their expertise. Hope that helps.