Avoiding a House of Horrors

You’ve taken on board Kirsty and Phil’s tips on ‘Location, Location, Location’, you’ve found your dream home, pulled all your hard earned cash together, been through the conveyancing process and finally moved in and unpacked, only to find that hiding behind those beautiful pictures in the sale’s brochure is the house of horrors!

Whether it be the boiler packing in the morning after the first frost or discovering a hole in the roof after the first torrential downpour, here’s my advice for avoiding problems after completion.

‘Let the Buyer Beware’ (or caveat emptor for the Latin lovers amongst us) is a principal in Contract law that the Buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and sustainability of goods before making a purchase. You’re unlikely to buy a car without checking it’s roadworthy or a raincoat without checking it’s waterproof and given that a house purchase is likely to be your biggest purchase and the one you’ve worked hardest to achieve, this is an important concept to consider.

The easiest way of ensuring you know what you’re buying is to obtain an independent Survey. This will reveal any physical defects which already exist or potential defects in the Property and its contents which might affect either the price you are willing to pay for the property or worst, continuing with the purchase entirely!

There’s a good chance you’re buying the Property with the aid of a Mortgage and be expecting the Lender to undertake a Survey of the Property. Any Survey undertaken is firstly for the benefit of your Lender only and secondly, it is likely to be more of a Valuation to ensure sufficient security for the Mortgage and as such, it won’t necessarily reveal any defects or potential defects which might affect your enjoyment of the Property (or your wallet) after completion.

 In summary, obtain a survey and do so before exchange of Contracts – it’s too late afterwards. Once you exchange, you’re contractually bound to purchase the Property in its current state and condition…working boiler or not!

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