With more and more purchasers requiring a builder’s report, problems are now much more likely when a report reveals defects.

To start with, it is important to realise that there is really no point in criticising the report.  The builder is acting as a professional advisor, and could therefore be liable for damages if any defects were not picked up.

Instead, concentrate on dealing constructively with the matters that are disclosed.

Where these are only minor, they should not be a problem.  Either the vendor will agree to remedy them, or the purchaser will accept that they are only trivial, and that the price that has been negotiated already makes adequate allowance for the existing condition of the property.

Serious defects however, will inevitably cause difficulties.  In some instances the purchaser will want to withdraw completely.  Even if this is so, further negotiation should always be attempted.  To keep the transaction alive the vendor might have to agree to a price reduction, or to have remedial work carried out.  After all, the defects will very likely remain a problem on any attempted re-sale, so it is obviously better that the vendor faces up to them and tries to hold onto the existing purchaser.

Sometimes a builder’s report is used purely as a lever to renegotiate the price.  If this is suspected, it is sometimes better for the vendor to adopt a take it or leave it attitude.  This usually quickly reveals whether the purchaser has genuine concerns, or is merely trying to take advantage of the situation.

In summary:

  • If there are genuine and serious problems, these should be addressed.
  • If they are only minor, negotiation should resolve things.

With the large number of sales we act on all the time, we are very familiar with the many and varied issues that can arise.  We are always available to help in a constructive and practical way if there are problems.  Almost always these will have happened before, so we will know what to do.