My surveyor has identified some potential defects and has recommended that I investigate further. Who should do this, me, the Vendor or Estate Agent?
This is something that often crops up, mostly I suspect because as a property buyer you don’t want to spend money on further investigations that may result in your not purchasing the property, as such you’d rather have the other side or their agent provide this further information. THIS SHOULD BE AVOIDED!
If you consider this analogy i.e. you wouldn’t buy a car off someone and rely on their mechanic telling you it’s mechanically sound, so why rely upon those trying to sell you the property telling you that there are no defects?
There is the further potential legal considerations, for instance if you instruct the contract to provide you with a report on the specific defect then you can rely on the information provided and should it be incorrect you can sue them or ask them to rectify works carried out.
On the other hand if the report is provided by someone else, e.g. the vendor or the estate agent, then it may well be (and is usually the case) that the reports is restricted to those who instructed the particular contractor and liability to third parties may not be included. This can result in you, further down the line, being unable to even discuss the report or works carried out with the people who undertook them.
There is also the possibility, in particular as those carrying out the works or investigations will likely be being paid by the vendor or, that the final conclusions are biased towards those who have paid them to provide the information.
If the further investigations have been requested by your mortgage lender as a condition of the mortgage you may also find that their surveyor refuses to accept reports unless liability is extended to the mortgage lender, something that those providing reports may wish to avoid as they will be aware that the lender has the funds and resources, along with the expertise available, too easily sue them should they need to do so.
It is for these reasons that, in my opinion, you should always ensure you Commissioner reports and/or further investigations along with any works required yourself and ensure you negotiate the price to cover the cost of these investigations, along with resultant works.