15 June 2012: Seller’s property health check

About one third of sales fall through before contracts have exchanged, and about half of those are because of an adverse valuation or survey.

Most problems identified in a survey are easily resolved, but when there is a long list of ‘defects’ many buyers are put off and the sale falls through.  A house seller can help to avoid this scenario by commissioning a property health check.  A surveyor can look at the property and advise the seller of what issues are likely to be picked up by the purchaser’s surveyor.  The seller can then deal with the items, or just be up front about them when negotiations are taking place.  When a buyer can see that the seller has been completely transparent and can see the ‘defects’ for themselves, they seem much less daunting.

Typical examples of ‘defects’ are blocked gutters, poor sealant around showers, no gas or electrical safety certificates available, condensation, no smoke alarms, poor décor of external joinery.  It is easy to see how the list of ‘defects’ can quickly begin to look daunting, but these are really just maintenance items that can easily and (usually) cheaply be put right.

Occasionally, more serious problems will be discovered.  It is better to be up front about these, however, as your purchaser will likely want to negotiate the price down far more than the repair will cost in reality.  Purchasers will inevitable take the high end of estimates.  If, for example, the roof covering is reaching the end of its life and will likely need recovering in 5 years or so, the sale will proceed much more smoothly if the purchaser knows this up front, and is given an estimate from a builder as to how much it will cost.  Psychologically, they will be able to budget for this over a 5 year period.  If on the other hand, the survey report says that a new roof is needed, along with a long list of minor defects, the purchaser suddenly thinks that they need to find another £10 – £15,000!

So, help your sale fly through, and get a property health check when you put it on the market.

For free advice and information please click on the links or contact us on 01202 237377 or info@sutherlandsurveyors.co.uk.


Daniel Sutherland