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House sale nightmare - buyer wants more money off price

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  • House sale nightmare - buyer wants more money off price

    I'm selling the house I own with my ex.

    We accepted an offer in September, three grand below the asking price.

    This week, the buyer has had homebuyer's report and also the results of a damp and timber check that the mortgage company asked for because of the age of the house.

    We knew there was a possible damp problem in one wall and were prepared for that.

    However, the company she had come in to do a free check, despite telling my ex that there was indeed a minor problem with the one wall we knew about and little else, have submitted a report to the buyer saying it needs £3.5k of work doing, including the plaster taking off all of the walls in the through lounge and £1k of work on timber.

    The bloke who came didn't even lift the carpets and categorically told my ex that other than the wall we knew about, which will cost about £200 if we do it ourselves, there was nothing that needed doing.

    We now have the scenario that the mortgage company won't lend the buyer the full amount based on that report, although we believe it to be a complete fabrication. They are retaining three grand, possibly more, from her mortgage offer and she wants us to knock that off the agreed price.

    Add to that, she is also talking about getting money off the asking price for everything that came up in the homebuyer's report - although the estate agent has told her this has no bearing on her mortgage offer and that we won't entertain a further reduction based on anything in the homebuyer's report.

    Anyone had any experience of such a situation? We have been told to get our own damp and timber report and contest the buyer's report, but I don't know that it will get us anywhere and if the mortgage company will accept ours over hers.

    The estate agent is worse than useless and basically telling me to accept what the buyer can now pay, which is six grand below the asking price. I just can't afford to let it go for that.

    On the other hand, these flaming HIPS reports come in in a fortnight and I'm worried that if it has to go back on the market and wait until next year for another buyer, we could end up even more out of pocket.

  • #2
    Was the offer made in writing, or verbal?

    Simply that it would be useful to know if there was any kind of exchange of contracts, and if so, whether the results of the Homebuyer's report was stipulated as a condition of sale, etc.


    • #3

      We'd both signed the memorandum of sale which stated no further discount on the agreed price would be accepted for any reason.

      That was because we have already knocked off £3k from the asking price.

      Any advice anyone can give would be gratefully received.

      I'll have a copy of this report tomorrow and my first step will be to check if colleagues in Trading Standards have ever had any dealings with the company who provided the report.


      • #4
        Get your own quotes? Although this is a common problem with all period properties the survey works on worst case scenario and not actual cost. I would recommend that you get your own quotes; you should insist that you see the report.

        Ask to see what the mortgage valuation report actually values the property at!!!! They may back down after you ask this.

        Don’t take your property off the market just place it with another estate agent to avoid paying for the hip.

        If you are unhappy with the way that the agent has dealt with your sale, gently remind them that you are the client not the purchaser, if the agent persists in recommending the reduction then ask them to consider reducing there commission inlight of the reduction that you have to take. Let’s see how good their negotiation skills are now.

        If you are inclined to re-negotiate ask them to contribute half as they are going to benefit from the work not you, if you have anymore problems after the homebuyers talk to your agent and ask them to remarket the property.
        Don’t reduce if you don’t want too. It’s your money!!!!!!!!!

        Good Luck



        • #5
          The agents obligations are with you the seller, and they should certainly not be pressuring you,it is a tough one, as bonnetti says get your research together so that they cant argue with the facts then see what they say
          If you've got it, Property Flaunt it! - www.PropertyFlaunt.com


          • #6
            I'm sorry this is so tough-the timing is just all wrong for you. I just hope that you figure it out before the HIPS come in, that you don't have to put it on the market again.
            Learn How To Plaster
            Run By Plasterers For Plasterers


            • #7
              It sounds then like you should contact a solicitor - the big question is whether a legally binding sale had been agreed with no room for the other party to drop out, so if you feel this is the case, then contact a solicitor who specialises in residential property - they should be able to advise on the phone whether this is something they feel you have a case with.


              • #8

                It's a shame that you didn't take advantage of the new Home Condition Reports that are available in your country now. We here in the U.S. have had home inspections since the mid-1950's and most homes today aren't sold without them. Sellers inspections are still relatively rare, but there are definite advantages for a seller.

                Here, when the seller hires us to do a home inspection, the listing estate agents invariably tout the inspection as a plus. However, when the buyers come in, they typically don't trust the seller's inspection, and they hire their own inspector. Afterward, if the seller's inspector is competent and has done his or her job correctly, when the buyer comes back and says, "My inspector found this list of issues on the home that need to be addressed," the seller's response is usually, "Sorry, but if you'd bothered to look at the inspection report I'd had prepared, you would have seen that everything on that list was accounted for, and, although I didn't fix them, I did adjust my price accordingly, so I have no intention of lowering my price beyond what you've offered."

                It does a good job of taking the wind out of a cocky buyer's sails. Almost the only time it doesn't work is when a seller hires a less-than-competent inspector - that can open up a whole new can of worms for a seller and it's none too good for the inspector either.

                Inspectors here sat back quietly amused at all of the commotion that was made over the debut of the HIPS. It was interesting to see that most of the noise was coming from the lenders, estate agents, and RICS - all folks who stood to gain from the sale of a house and if home inspectors and the HCR never got off the ground - and we were disappointed to see the HCR pulled from the HIP requirement; particularly since the training standard there is so much more stringent than here.

                I'm in a state that doesn't regulate home inspection. A fellow can be flipping burgers down at Micky D's today, decide tonight that he's going to open up a company inspecting homes tomorrow, and do so; all he need do is trot out and get some business cards printed up.

                Sure, the majority of folks in the business are experienced and underwent some sort of formalized training, but there are enough of these untrained characters running around to blight the whole profession, so we're envious of any system that has a mandatory training requirement.

                It's a shame that this has happened to you. I don't know what the rule is there, but here, once you know about issues like those, you have to disclose them to the next buyer when/if your buyer walks away. So, you'd be faced with revealing it and then either doing nothing (it's hard to close the deal that way), reducting your price (you might not be able to afford to), fixing it (you might not be able to afford that either), or giving the buyer a credit (can get you upside down on a deal).

                Alternatively, you can take the house off the market, wait out the slump and then put it back on the market when values begin to escalate again. When there are more buyers than houses it's easier to tell them to take it or leave it, because you can find another buyer easily.

                I hope things work out for you.

                Mike O'Handley
                Editor, The Inspector's Journal


                • #9
                  That is a horrible story. I wish you the best.