House Survey - Advice Needed Please

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wiltsman | 12:59 Mon 25th Jan 2021 | Property
14 Answers
Can anyone assist me with the following query.

A friend is selling her three bedroomed semi, and has a problem. She has sold the house, subject to contract, to a couple who are anxious to move in as they are living currently in rented accommodation. They will be buying through a mortgage, and after an inspection by the building society, my friend knows this went through without a problem.

The couple buying the house then decided to have their own survey done. This took an hour to complete, and now my friend has been told, much to her surprise, that damp was found, and that to proceed with the sale, she has to have a professional survey done of the damp, with the appropriate repairs if necessary.

I know the house and have never seen any trace of damp, either visually or by smell. She is anxious to move the sale on, and get a damp survey done to determine, one way or the other, to get the problem sorted.

How does she get a professional to survey for damp only? Every organisation offering surveys she has contacted want her to have a full house survey, some of which will take three hours and cost up to £500.

How does she get a professional damp survey done, and avoid the cowboys who will ‘find damp’ whether it’s there or not?

She is prepared to spend on getting things done correctly, but does not want to be taken for a ride.

Any advice please on what or what not to do? Thank you.


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I think I am right in saying that some people use 'damp meters' but these meters can find damp anywhere as it is to a certain extend in the atmosphere.
Sorry I can't think of a solution for your friend but do know of people who have been 'conned' by these meters.
Sounds suspicious to me: if the buyers' surveyor was "professional" then what did their report say? Surely something more than "damp was found"?
Start by finding a possibly suitable PCA member by using the search facility here:
Then visit that member's website to learn more about their qualifications and experience.
Presumably the buyers would want her to get any damp treatment work done aswell if the survey confirms its needed or they may ask for some money off instead?? These sort of niggles happen quiet often with house sales and you just have to decide whether to walk away or go along with any demands. An alternative is just to say they can organise one if there in doubt and/or youll share the cost of a survey and any work that needs doing up to say £1000
The problem with commissioning an independent survey is, the company carrying it out are nearly always going to find something.
I'm not sure why the onus is on the seller to provide a pro damp survey. You don't say whether the Mortgage company have withdrawn the offer based on this independent survey. If they haven't I'd be saying to the 'anxious' buyers 'do you want it or not'?
You could try A RICS surveyor near you to see if they will do damp only, their work must be slow at the moment and after all money is money.
I would also ask your prospective buyers to show you a copy of their report, if they refuse, find another buyer, or at least threaten to.
bobbinwales - the OP does say that his friend has been told that "to proceed with the sale, she has to have a professional survey done of the damp, with the appropriate repairs if necessary", no suggestion that they would be willing to accept a reduction in the agreed price. I can only assume that despite being "anxious to move in" the buyers are inexperienced in house ownership/maintenance and will only consider moving into somewhere in "perfect" condition.
on reflection perhaps the best course of action is to call there bluff. Tell the buyer to commission a damp survey if they want one and say when the results are available you can discuss the next steps which may include the option of putting it back on the market
yes etch but these things are sometimes used by buyers as a lever to get a reduction at the last minute.
Bobbin, only stipulation would be is that it's a RICS surveyor. I've employed surveyors before and for the right inducement they will write what you want them to.(within reason)
This stinks a bit to me.... if it was me I'd like to see the original survey and what was found that led to the "damp" diagnosis. When we bought the house I currently own, we had a full survey done as well as the valuation required by the bank. The lender will only be concerned with confirming that the house is worth the amount they are lending and if that is confirmed by their inspection, then they won't pursue it further. Anyway....we had our own survey done and the surveyor found several small problems. We showed that survey to the seller and they agreed to get the necessary works done. My point is that we as the buyers covered all the survey costs. If the buyers want another survey then that's fine but they should pay for it.
We had something similar when we sold my parents house. All was going through then the buyer said they had employed a builder to check it out and he found damp coming in through the chimney although there had never been any damp in the house at all. Then they said they would carry on with the purchase but they wanted £5000 off the price and would get the work done before they moved in. We said no to that and we would get it done before purchase. We didn't get the chance to employ a builder as the next day solicitor called to say they had bought it. As others say be careful as some are just out to get you to knock a bit off the price.
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Thank you to those of you that took the trouble to reply. It certainly gives food for thought.

I certainly think she needs to see a copy of the survey that mentions the 'damp problems' before proceeding with any further action.

Any other views on this subject are welcome. Many thanks again.
the housing market is buoyant ATM
I would be inclined to call their bluff and say if they want a damp survey, they'll have to get it. They have more to lose than your friend IMO
PS this is a very common occurrence.

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