re Major Structural defect - undetermined

Hi good people of somersoft, very stressed at the moment. Wishing some advice on how do I proceed from there.

I recently bought a place, and subject to building and pest inspection for major defects of structural nature - the agent put there for us. The expiry date on that is 13/01/2015.

Anyway, we had this building inspection, and it mentioned along the lines of: there high amount of movement in the walls. It is unclear if this have stabilized or continuing. "Major structural defect undetermined". Recommending a structural engineer. And this followed by photos of various cracks on the external wall etc. (we are really amateurs at this, so we did not see the problems at inspection since we dont know what to look for.)

Anyway, I rang back the building inspector. But they would not give an indication that there is or there is not a major defect. But, I managed to get out of them that given all the movements/evidence, there is a 'good possibility' that there is a major defect.

So, armed with this, I rang the agent, and my conveyancer and forwarded my intention to terminate contract based on building and pest clause. All is well, and the agent was talking about which account do I want my initial deposit to (only paid 1000 for now).

But then, about 1 hour before the vendor conveyancer went on break, she wrote to my conveyancer, saying that the building inspection report did not show any major structural defect, and therefore, the contract is now unconditional!

I do not know what to do! Has anyone encounter similar issues before? Should I talk to a lawyer in preparation for court? This is ridiculous.
 
Hi good people of somersoft, very stressed at the moment. Wishing some advice on how do I proceed from there.

I recently bought a place, and subject to building and pest inspection for major defects of structural nature - the agent put there for us. The expiry date on that is 13/01/2015.

Anyway, we had this building inspection, and it mentioned along the lines of: there high amount of movement in the walls. It is unclear if this have stabilized or continuing. "Major structural defect undetermined". Recommending a structural engineer. And this followed by photos of various cracks on the external wall etc. (we are really amateurs at this, so we did not see the problems at inspection since we dont know what to look for.)

Anyway, I rang back the building inspector. But they would not give an indication that there is or there is not a major defect. But, I managed to get out of them that given all the movements/evidence, there is a 'good possibility' that there is a major defect.

So, armed with this, I rang the agent, and my conveyancer and forwarded my intention to terminate contract based on building and pest clause. All is well, and the agent was talking about which account do I want my initial deposit to (only paid 1000 for now).

But then, about 1 hour before the vendor conveyancer went on break, she wrote to my conveyancer, saying that the building inspection report did not show any major structural defect, and therefore, the contract is now unconditional!

I do not know what to do! Has anyone encounter similar issues before? Should I talk to a lawyer in preparation for court? This is ridiculous.

i had a similar issue with a place in qld! buyers agent recommend getting a structal engineer to do a report to see if we could use this to negotiate more off the price and also piece of mind weather it was worth it to proceed! report was $420 and came back fine apparently the piers would of settled 30 -40 years ago when it was built so their was nothing to worry about! did you not put a fianc? clause into the contract.
 
I recently bought a place, and subject to building and pest inspection for major defects of structural nature - the agent put there for us. The expiry date on that is 13/01/2015.


But then, about 1 hour before the vendor conveyancer went on break, she wrote to my conveyancer, saying that the building inspection report did not show any major structural defect, and therefore, the contract is now unconditional!
.

I'm no solicitor but in my opinion if the contract states the expiry for the P&B as 13/01/2015 then the contract is still conditional until that date unless you specify beforehand that all is good. I believe you still have time to investigate the issue further using a structural engineer before that date.

I would check with your solicitor tomorrow.
 
But then, about 1 hour before the vendor conveyancer went on break, she wrote to my conveyancer, saying that the building inspection report did not show any major structural defect, and therefore, the contract is now unconditional!

.


If I read this correctly you are saying that the VENDORS conveyancer wrote (presumably in an email) that the contract is unconditional. As long as YOUR conveyancer did not agree in writing I can't see how it would be deemed unconditional. What did your conveyancer say? PS why did the vendors conveyancer even have a copy of the inspection???

Sadly this is why I always advise paying a little more for a solicitor rather than a conveyancer. Its for the times things don't go according to the script.
 
If I read this correctly you are saying that the VENDORS conveyancer wrote (presumably in an email) that the contract is unconditional. As long as YOUR conveyancer did not agree in writing I can't see how it would be deemed unconditional. What did your conveyancer say? PS why did the vendors conveyancer even have a copy of the inspection???

Sadly this is why I always advise paying a little more for a solicitor rather than a conveyancer. Its for the times things don't go according to the script.

This is my first time with conditional offers / for sale, all of my previous properties are by auction - unconditional. After I ponder over the inspection report, I decided to terminate the contract, because what I interpret as major defects of structural nature. I contacted the REA, and there was no issue. As long as my conveyancer send an email to vendor's conveyancer. And when they received the confirmation email from vendor's conveyancer, they will refund my initial deposit. And from the words of REA, the vendors is happy either way.

The vendor conveyancer then requested a copy of the report from my conveyancer, who forwarded the copy.

And then, today, on 23/12/2014, she emailed my conveyancer, stating that there is no major structural defect on the report, and therefore the contract is now unconditional. And when I tried to email them back, I just got a bounced back email stating that they are closed from 23/12/2014 to 05/01/2015.

I am absolutely shattered. I really acted in good faith.

I am weighing up my options. One I can go to the solicitor, and get him to draft up a legally worded letter, so call her bluff. - approx $300. Or, I organize a structural engineer for final confirmation - approx $770

Dont know what to do.
 
Don't stress about it, It's Christmas.

And when I tried to email them back, I just got a bounced back email stating that they are closed from 23/12/2014 to 05/01/2015.

Are you talking about your conveyancer that is closed now or theirs?
I would suggest to not deal direct with their conveyancer but maintain dealings through your conveyancer/solicitor.

If they are both closed for holidays, don't let it ruin your Christmas, there's not a lot that you can do while they're closed. IMO you still have time to get it sorted as soon as they re-open.

If you had a structural engineers report that came back ok are you still happy with the property? as you may be stuck with it. If it comes back as a major issue, you should still be within your rights to terminate the contract.

The cost of the report could save you thousands more in the long run. The vendor may even be open to renegotiating the price either way.
 
Don't Panic,
There are many ways to get out of this, you didn't answer the question about finance clause. do you have a finance clause in your contract?, which state are you buying in?

e.g. in Qld, the contract is subject to build/Pest and Finance, so if you can get your broker / bank to send you a letter that the finance was not approve, then you are out of it. and no legal liability on you at all.

I would say speak to your solicitor tomorrow and there will be a way.

Also regarding the auto reply email. majority of solicitors offices have someone in the office, this message is just an auto reply, but someone is there. as so many sales and purchases happens during Christmas time.

All the best.

Thanks
Ram
 
re

re

Are you talking about your conveyancer that is closed now or theirs?
I would suggest to not deal direct with their conveyancer but maintain dealings through your conveyancer/solicitor.

If they are both closed for holidays, don't let it ruin your Christmas, there's not a lot that you can do while they're closed. IMO you still have time to get it sorted as soon as they re-open.

If you had a structural engineers report that came back ok are you still happy with the property? as you may be stuck with it. If it comes back as a major issue, you should still be within your rights to terminate the contract.

The cost of the report could save you thousands more in the long run. The vendor may even be open to renegotiating the price either way.

I was referring to vendor's conveyancer. But my own also closes for Christmas as well. I guess, the next rational action would be to find a structural engineer. But, when they said that the contract is now unconditional, it really got me worried.

Don't Panic,
There are many ways to get out of this, you didn't answer the question about finance clause. do you have a finance clause in your contract?, which state are you buying in?

e.g. in Qld, the contract is subject to build/Pest and Finance, so if you can get your broker / bank to send you a letter that the finance was not approve, then you are out of it. and no legal liability on you at all.

I would say speak to your solicitor tomorrow and there will be a way.

Also regarding the auto reply email. majority of solicitors offices have someone in the office, this message is just an auto reply, but someone is there. as so many sales and purchases happens during Christmas time.

All the best.

Thanks for the kind words. I did not put a finance clause there, because, I am supposed to buy this with my savings. But, in the hind site, perhaps I should of getting it.

I am going to a solicitor tomorrow, to get some advice. Its going to be costly.

I agree with others that there is probably not much that I can do now, since its the festival period. Yes, and I am definitely not going to let this ruin my holiday.

If you had a structural engineers report that came back ok are you still happy with the property? as you may be stuck with it. If it comes back as a major issue, you should still be within your rights to terminate the contract.

I am not too greedy. As long as the place can stand for another 10 to 15 years, I will be considering redeveloping then. So if there is no structural defect, then I guess I would buy it abit with a sour taste .
 
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I don't think you can in a heated market, seems to be sign contract first, ask questions later. How do you manage to get the B&P done beforehand Y-man?

1. Don't buy in a heated market - too hard to get a good deal
2. Have always just said to the agent at the open "Looks interesting - I want to organise a B&P". The B&P people will call the agent to organise a time/pick up keys etc.
3.After the B&P, agent will ring up (because you have just spent a few hundred bucks, so they know you're serious) and you start your spiel why the B&P shows you should offer $x less than the asking......

The Y-man
 
1. Don't buy in a heated market - too hard to get a good deal
2. Have always just said to the agent at the open "Looks interesting - I want to organise a B&P". The B&P people will call the agent to organise a time/pick up keys etc.
3.After the B&P, agent will ring up (because you have just spent a few hundred bucks, so they know you're serious) and you start your spiel why the B&P shows you should offer $x less than the asking......

The Y-man

Cheers mate :)
 
Dont know what to do.

Carefully read the contract you entered into, particulary any clause relating to the building inspection. Carefully consider the wording/ Doesn't it actually say 'structural defects'?

Then read the building and pest inspection.

It may have been a mistake to give a copy of this report to the otherside.

Even if you are locked in because of this clause you may still be able to terminate on other grounds.
 
But I am not convinced that there is serious structural damage?? movement is mentioned.... so what, this happens in every house, the report needs to provide specific information, its just not clear from what you have posted.

.We had a building/structural inspection on a home that was 100 years old and the builder/inspector advised what the cause of structural damage, it was water damage and therefore the footings moved/rolled out, he also provided a scope of works....in terms of $ to correct the issue, this is what you need so you can determine whether to proceed with the deal.
Not everyone pulls the pin, if the seller compensates/rectifies the issues in question then there is no longer an issue.. .right

Had an investor friend, same scenario, he wanted to pull the pin, however the sellers rectified the structural damage it was around $8000 and then the deal was done and dusted, he had to proceed with the sale.

I guess my point is the report is pretty vague, tells me zip really. From your comments below -

Anyway, we had this building inspection, and it mentioned along the lines of:

there high amount of movement in the walls. It is unclear if this have stabilized or continuing. "Major structural defect undetermined".

So moving forward look at your contract, as long as you advised prior to expiry date as specified on your contract and it covers structural defects then I expect you would be covered regardless.
 
The other thing for future contracts is determining your 'subject to' yourself. So you could have put 'Subject to satisfactory building and pest' etc and not be hedged in by conditions that weren't set by you.

Anyway. For now it depends on what the contract does say exactly and I would have it assessed by a lawyer who normally handles settlements. Then hold tight until the 5th and see what happens.
 
Carefully read the contract you entered into, particulary any clause relating to the building inspection. Carefully consider the wording/ Doesn't it actually say 'structural defects'?

Then read the building and pest inspection.

It may have been a mistake to give a copy of this report to the otherside.

Even if you are locked in because of this clause you may still be able to terminate on other grounds.

True regarding the mistake, and good advice provided.

Best of luck with this!
 
get legal advice from a lawyer. It will depend on the wording.

Agree here.
What does the actual clause say - re subject to building and pest inspection?

If is says - Subject to building and pest inspection, satisfactory to buyer, wouldn't that be your right to rescind?
Who cares what anybody else says if they already agreed to this?
They just want your money.
 
Sorry to drag out an old thread, but I feel I owe it to all the helpful commentators above.

The end of the story is that I was able to get out of the contract, but that took weeks of negotiation, $3000 and large amount of lawyer fees. A very costly mistake.

I was sure, that the property is okay, until the building inspector went through it. I guess that tells the amount of engineering skill I have. Overall, I am humbled by it. And it was a clause put in by the real estate agent, because I thought I was definitely going to purchase it. I think I know better now.

I think in the future, I am definitely going to use my lawyer provided clause (rather than been complacent), and that I promised to myself, NEVER EVER put in a contract before a holiday period!

Thank you for all the supports.
 
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