Buyers beware: Lies people tell to sell their homes fast

When buying a new home, you want to make sure you have all the details in place before making one of the biggest financial investments of your life. 

Unfortunately, not all sellers are honest and new research has revealed some of the most common lies people tell to sell their homes quickly.

  1. Nuisance neighbours

More than 50% of sellers admitted that they wouldn’t disclose if they had any issues with their neighbours to potential buyers.

Having a problem with your neighbour isn’t the end of the world, yet if there are any official reports of disputes, the seller does have to disclose this to prospective buyers or face potential legal action further down the line.

You should be made aware of any written exchanges, police or local authority involvement or whether the neighbours have any anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs).

  1. Increase in local crime rates

Increasing levels of crime in the area is also something that should be shared, including the likes of burglaries, car thefts and assaults.

Unfortunately, over 10% of those asked admitted that they wouldn’t disclose any surge in local crime numbers.

Thankfully, you can easily check local crimes rates using the official Police crime database, so you don’t have to take their word for it.

  1. Presence of knotweed

Around 15% of those asked admitted that they wouldn’t disclose if knotweed was present on their property and a further 30% said they would not know.

Japanese knotweed is a weed that grows rapidly, suppressing the growth of all other nearby plants, as a result, there is legislation in place to control its growth.

Typically, mortgage lenders will only agree to the release of funds once a property has been confirmed to be free of knotweed.

Sometimes there are disputes on the identity of plants, so it’s always worth having a conveyancer with some experience check the grounds of the property for you.

  1. Structural damage

Maybe most worrying is that around 5% of homeowners admitted that they wouldn’t share details of structural damage. This often means sellers later pursue compensation to cover the cost of major repair works.

Major structural works can exceed several thousand pounds and cause major disruption, sometimes even requiring you to vacate the home until completion.

Luckily, the majority of structural issues are usually noticed during the surveying process, but being aware of historic or current issues can certainly help avoid things being missed.

  1. A broken boiler

A whopping 50% of those asked said that they wouldn’t admit to their boiler being broken or experiencing issues.

According to Heatable.co.uk, the average life of a residential boiler is between 10-15 years, so checking the age of the boiler is a good way to determine how much life the boiler has left.

It’s also worth checking the boiler warranty, as most manufacturers will cover the cost of repairs and replacement parts. Yet, also make sure the boiler’s had its service record maintained as most warranties will be void without annual servicing.

What does the law say?

Since 2013, buying property has fallen under the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations.

Essentially this means that it’s the seller’s sole responsibility to be completely transparent about any details that may impact a buyer’s decision on making the purchase.

If the seller does attempt to conceal key information or omits anything considered important they could face legal action in the future, whether the buyer requested information about the issue or not.

What can this include?

  • Boundaries
  • Changes made to the property (extensions, alterations)
  • Shared areas with neighbours, formal and informal agreements
  • Disputes or complaints
  • Guarantees and warranties affecting the property
  • Environmental matters

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