Buying: Time Limit on House Survey

lemon1984

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We are Sale Agreed on a house and currently trying to organise a survey. Our surveyor contacted the Estate Agent today to try and organise a time and was told he could only have an hour. We contacted quite a few surveyors before selecting one and most told us they would require around three hours. One told us 2-4 but it seems like the average being three hours.
Is it normal for an Estate Agent to tell you that you can only have an hour for the survey? This was a bit of a red flag for me and seems like they might be trying to hide something? Maybe its normal this is the first house we have ever gone sale agreed on, but most of the surveyors even told us they needed around 3 hours.
 

RedOnion

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Just the estate agent doesn't want to be hanging around, or the sellers are being awkward. Tell the agent you need 3 hours. No negotiation.
 

mathepac

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Tell the agent that unless your surveyor can have whatever time they need to complete a thorough professional survey (whatever that is) you will withdraw your offer on the property.
 
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lemon1984

Registered User
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Thanks, this was my plan tomorrow. I'm hoping they will allow us to complete the full survey. I'm pretty annoyed and willing to withdraw my offer if they wont give the time required for the survey, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't getting annoyed over something that was standard.
 
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mathepac

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Can we once and for all drop the mis-leading estate agent speak and ban "Sale Agreed" in AAM? Nothing is agreed until contracts are finalised and exchanged. OP, you have made an expression of interest in examining the property with a view to possibly completing the purchase, nothing more, nothing less.
 

Leo

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I think the meaning of Sale Agreed is well understood, I don't think anyone confuses it with sold. What term would you suggest as an alternative where a seller has agreed in principle to sell to specific other party subject to the completion of the subsequent checks and preparation of final contracts to the satisfaction of both parties?
 

mathepac

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"Under Offer" as I think I suggested before. I don't think "Sale Agreed" is well understood. I think it's a none too subtle attempt by EAs to convince naive buyers they've a contract in place.
 

Leo

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Say I currently have a leading offer on a property, but the vendor has not yet agreed to proceed with that offer. While that property is under offer, it's not yet sale agreed so I'm not going to start spending money on surveys and searches. That will only come when the vendor agrees to sell the property to me.

Having contracts in place is meaningless until both parties sign, and the legal element and transfer of funds is complete. But then it's sold.
 

mathepac

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Saying "it's not yet sale agreed" is validating the EA-speak, that thing I'm asking people to stop using! There are only two statuses for a property in the market, For Sale or Sold. If it is not Sold, via the legal mechanism of contract completion, it is still For Sale, irrespective of the lingo pasted on advertising by EAs. The interim stage of "Under Offer" more accurately reflects the transition from For Sale and Sold.

If an EA pastes the Sale Agreed nonsense on advertising hoardings or websites, will s/he refuse higher offers than the one to hand? No, because the idea of their role is to get the best price possible for their client, the vendor. Hence gazumping, when the party plumping down the original EA deposit gets shouldered out of the deal by more money. Sale Agreed? No way, only a few letters matter in that phrase, the last five! :)
 

Leo

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Saying "it's not yet sale agreed" is validating the EA-speak, that thing I'm asking people to stop using!
I know, I'm just saying I don't see any rational in stopping using it. It's a perfectly valid term that is well understood in the market. In my nearly 15 years of posting on here, I haven't seen anything that would suggest there is much in the way of confusion that warrants change.

Under offer is a different stage in the process, the point where the vendor hopes multiple bidders will continue to up the price until only one remains. No one is going to start paying for surveys or searches at that point.

I think most people understand that some vendors will still accept a higher offer even after going sale agreed, they are perfectly entitled to do so. Most won't, and in my experience estate agents generally don't want to deal with such scenarios. It can hurt their reputation costing them future business and result in significantly more work for very little extra in terms of commission.

Obtaining the best price possible for your property is good financial sense, no need to dress it up as greed.
 

mathepac

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We're agreed then. "Sale Agreed" is as meaningless as my suggestion of "Under Offer" as neither reflects any change in legal status of the property or the behaviour of the agents. Therefore the simplest and most honest thing might be to leave "For Sale" signs in place unaltered and remove them completely once the property is sold.
 

Leo

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10,164
We're agreed then. "Sale Agreed" is as meaningless as my suggestion of "Under Offer" as neither reflects any change in legal status of the property or the behaviour of the agents
We agree it is meaningless in the context of the legal ownership of the property, but it was never intended to signify any such status. It does serve a purpose in demarking a phase in the typical purchase process. In my experience, the behaviour of agents alters significantly once a property goes sale agreed, I know there's little to no point spending any time on a property that is Sale Agreed. On a number of occasions I have inquired about properties that have gone Sale Agreed in areas I'm particularly interested in. Having been actively looking for a while I have built a level or relationship with many of the agents operating in the area, yet on most occasions they won't even confirm what the agreed price is and I've yet to meet one who gave the impression they would countenance offers.
 

NoRegretsCoyote

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My only house purchase was a pretty ordinary 3-bed semi.

EA gave me the keys and it was just me and the surveyor there. I think it took about 45 minutes. Most of what he was doing was taking pictures.

I could see three hours being necessary if it was old and/or large, but not for something standard.
 
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