Once your offer on a house has been accepted, you are in a great position to move forward to completion – with a survey the next step to bring you closer to picking up the keys.

Surveys are important because they identify any maintenance or repair issues that might impact the price you are willing to pay – or uncover more serious problems that put a dent in your plans.

If the survey comes back without anything notable, you can go ahead with the agreed price. However, if any concerns are raised, it is time to think about negotiation.

This guide explains some tips for negotiating a purchase price after a survey and approaching that negotiation to accomplish the best possible agreement.

Can I Renegotiate an Agreed Property Price After a Survey?

Yes! Your agreed buying price is based on the house as you have seen it – but that price is always subject to contract terms, and you have not made a legally-enforceable commitment.

The house survey is part of your purchase contract and might include caveats that the seller needs to cover the cost of repairs or carry out maintenance work before you finalise the transaction.

Renegotiating is not contentious, and it may be in your best interests to revisit the offered price with a counter-offer to take into account the survey results.

How to Approach Renegotiations in a Property Purchase

Acknowledging that many people find it difficult to raise the issue of price, we have collated some advice about conducting negotiations fairly and transparently.

Be Upfront About Your Price Expectations

It may be a stereotype that British people cannot haggle, but this situation likely involves the largest expenditure you will make, and it is not a time to be shy about talking about money.

If you are honest with the seller, or their agent, you will usually achieve a faster solution.

Your communications should include:

  • Details of which repairs you expect the seller to carry out.
  • A price you would be willing to offer to accept the property as it is.
  • A copy of the survey or the relevant sections that have caused concern.

There is no merit in stalling, so it is best to contact the vendor as quickly as you can and be clear about what it will take for you to go ahead.

Prepare for the Possibility of Losing Out

While we would never recommend paying over the odds for a home, no matter how much you love it, there is the potential that a vendor could take a property off of the market or accept another offer rather than lowering their price.

It may be useful to seek independent advice for a realistic idea about what it would cost to fix the problems and make a call about whether you are willing to risk losing the home depending on the values involved.

In the best-case scenario, the vendor will accept the survey’s outcome, agree to lower the price by the repair cost or arrange repairs before the contracts exchange.

Is Renegotiating the Same as Gazundering?

Gazundering involves tweaking an agreed sale price at the last minute before contracts are signed. This practice is not illegal but is often considered unethical.

In essence, the buyer changes their offer so late in the day they hope the vendor will have no choice but to accept, thus saving them money.

Renegotiating and gazundering are very different scenarios. One is based on a qualified survey that mitigates the viable market price you are willing to pay for a property.

The other is an unscrupulous tactic often adopted by developers or investors looking to shave a proportion of their costs.

Negotiating is appropriate and reasonable if there are any issues in your house survey. You are well-advised to request a price reduction if the report shows that anything is not quite as you had expected.

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