Negotiating the price after the survey

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If you have a survey done on a home you want to buy, it can show problems that you didn’t expect. Property issues can cost a lot to sort out, so you may want to renegotiate the price you’re willing to pay after the survey.

What is a home survey?

A home survey is an inspection of a property done by experts (called surveyors). It happens after you’ve been offered a mortgage by a lender. 

A survey will look at property to show up any issues. After they visit in person, they’ll give you an impartial report about the condition of the property.

You don’t have to get a home survey, but it can offer peace of mind that there are no issues that you don’t know about.

What kind of issues might affect the asking price?


Damp is common problem house surveys show up – it’s said to affect one in five homes in Britain. How serious damp is can vary, from a small patch in one room to rising damp and black mould.
If your survey shows up damp, you’ll need to speak with a damp specialist for more in-depth advice. Damp can cause health problems, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of fixing this issue, if it comes up.

Roof problems

Roof issues, like cracked tiles, faulty or blocked up guttering, or an unstable roof structure can be found during a survey.

A qualified roofer should be able to do minor repairs. If the problem is more severe, you might need to speak with a specialist roofing contractor.

The cost of roof repair can by the square metre, so the bigger the problem, the more it can cost.

For example: 
Repairing flashing could cost from £200 per square meter.
Replacing the internal structure of a roof could cost up to £12,000

Lack of planning permission

Your seller should have gotten planning permission for any big changes they have made to the property. If they haven’t, this could be an issue in the future.

You might be able to get approval after the work’s been done (known as regularisation) but you may want to ask the current owner to sort this out.

Electrical issues

Electrical issues can range from a very small repair, to rewiring the whole property. Costs of electrical work can vary depending on what work needs doing. Rewiring a three-bedroom house could cost up to £5,000.


Asbestos was used in home-building until it was banned because of health risks in 1999.
If asbestos is found in your survey, you’ll need to speak to an asbestos specialist. They can either safely conceal any areas of asbestos or remove them for you. Asbestos removal can cost £2,500 or more.


Faulty drainpipes are another common issue. It can cost up to £400 for a CCTV assessment of the drains to look at how severe the issue is.
The repair work will vary in expense based on the damage to the pipes and how long they’ve been damaged. Drainage work can cost up to £100 per metre.


Insulation is important as the cost of heating rises. The good news is that grants for roof and plumbing insulation might be available to you from your local authority, or from certain energy companies.

The types of insulation the more extensive surveys will look for are:
Cavity wall insulation
Ground floor insulation
Double glazing.

What are you options after a survey reveals issues?

If your home survey comes back showing a few problems, first off you need to find out how much the repairs will cost. Contact builders and specialists for quotes.

Then you have a few options:

See if the seller will carry out the work

You can negotiate with the seller that they get the work completed before you buy the house. 

Carry on as normal

If it doesn’t cost too much and you’re happy with the price you’re paying for the house, you may want to continue with the sale and pay for the repairs yourself, after the sale.

Renegotiate the price

Results from a survey can decrease the value of the house. You may want to ask the seller if they will reduce the asking price. They don’t need to agree to a lower price, so this could put the sale at risk.

Pull out of the sale

If you are not happy with the price after the survey, you can decide to pull out of the sale. 

If the sale of the home is still ‘subject to contract’, you can contact your solicitor and ask them what the steps are you need to take to pull out of the sale. You won’t be reimbursed for anything you’ve paid for up to that stage, such as surveys and solicitor costs. 

If you decide you want to pull out after the contracts are exchanged, you could be given huge fines to pay as well as the buyer being entitled to keep your deposit. 

How does renegotiating affect your mortgage offer?

If you renegotiate the sale price successfully, you’ll need to contact your mortgage lender.

You’ll need to borrow less money if the price has been gone down after the survey, so your lender will need update your mortgage documents to reflect this.
The content on this page is for reference and is not financial advice.
For impartial financial advice, try MoneyHelper.