While it is bound to be disappointing to discover that the property you want to buy has some flaws, you may still be able to go ahead with the purchase if the seller is willing to negotiate.
It is always advisable to have a survey carried out before you buy a property, particularly if it is an older building or if you plan to carry out work. Some disrepair may be impossible to view as a buyer, but a surveyor will be able to access areas such as the roof space to fully assess the condition.
Common areas that may need work
Some of the most frequent issues raised in property surveys are as follows:
Surveys frequently discover that roof repairs are needed because of the difficulty of regularly viewing a roof and the exposure it receives. Problems include missing or damaged tiles, water ingress, chimney disrepair, inadequate insulation and ventilation and blocked or damaged guttering.
Subsidence or structural movement
Properties settle over time which can result in minor cracking. Your surveyor will be able to advise whether any issues are due to this or to something more serious such as subsidence or structural movement.
A surveyor will also be able to advise you of the cause of any damp at the property. This could be from water coming in from outside or from condensation arising from inadequate ventilation or inappropriate cavity wall insulation. Rooms below ground level, such as basements, can be particularly problematic.
Modern double-glazed windows quite often develop gaps and cracks allowing water to come inside and also to accumulate between the double glazing. There is a chance this could be covered by a guarantee, but in any event, you should address the issue before exchanging contracts.
Asbestos is still found regularly in people’s homes, for example, in garage roofing, lagging, floor and ceiling tiles, around boilers and in loose fill insulation. It must be properly removed and disposed of by accredited experts which can be expensive and disruptive, so if asbestos is at the property you should explore the costs and work involved.
What to do if your survey highlights problems
If your survey reveals problems but you still want to proceed with the purchase, you should arrange for experts to look at the issue and provide you with estimates for the work needed to rectify the situation. The estate agent should be able to arrange access as necessary.
Once you have expert reports detailing the work that will be required and the likely costs, you can ask the seller to reduce the price to take this into account. It is usually in their interests to do this, as it is likely that another buyer would find the exact same problems.
If you ask us to act for you in respect of your property purchase, we can liaise with the sellers’ advocate to ensure that the contract includes any allowance that is made in your favour.
It is also possible to request that work be done between exchange and completion if it is a minor repair. In this case, the contract would also include provision for the works to be examined and found to be satisfactory before completion.
Buying a property on the Isle of Man
At Quinn Legal, we believe that the Isle of Man is one of the best places to live and our lawyers would be delighted to help you secure a home on the Island. We understand the anxiety that can be involved when buying or selling a property and we will do everything we can to make the process as stress-free as possible.
We have one of the largest and most experienced property teams on the Isle of Man. We are friendly and approachable and we will work proactively on your behalf to complete your sale or purchase. We make sure you are kept updated throughout your transaction and we are always available to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.
Alternatively, you can fill in our online enquiry form and one of our team will be in touch within 24 hours.