I have gone sale-agreed on a house that the structural survey says will cost €3000 to €5000 to fix

June 2013

Question

I have gone sale-agreed on a house about three weeks ago and have since had a structural survey carried out. The survey report has highlighted some issues that need to be rectified which could cost in the region of €3,000-5,000. Who pays for this?

Answer

I assume that you are buying a second-hand house. If so, the vendor is not normally obliged to address the issues as there is no snagging process (as occurs with the purchase of a new house).

When buying second-hand houses, you are buying the house as is unless otherwise agreed.

When the market is sluggish and potential purchasers are few and far between, vendors may decide to contribute towards the cost of some works simply to get the sale completed. This is a matter for negotiation between the parties.

When the market is busy and there are under-bidders or at least a good prospect of getting a new purchaser, vendors may decide not to contribute to the cost of the works.

In this situation, you then have a choice to buy the property at the agreed price and pay for the works yourself or to pull out of the transaction.

In the last few years, it has become more common for purchasers to seek a reduction in the agreed price as compensation for works but the recent resurgence in the market has made vendors more likely to take a tougher stance on the issue.

Simon Stokes is chairman of the residential committee of the MediKids