What Do You Need To Disclose When Selling A House?
There was a time when “Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware” was the rule of the day. During these dark times, it was up to the buyer to ask as many questions as they could about the property they are about to buy. It was also expected that the seller or estate agent would give honest answers to these questions.
You can clearly see how this dynamic might have proven problematic. Thankfully, though, since 2013, the Property Misdescriptions Act was repealed and now advertising and selling of property falls under the fair CPR’s or Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations. This means that sellers and estate agents are now required by law to tell the buyer every bit of information that might affect their decision to buy or even view the house in question.
This information may include:
- Any known reasons why all or any previous sales have not gone according to plan
- Whether or not there is a known power plant or substation nearby
- Whether there have been any tragedies within the property recently. Such as suicides or murders
- Any problems that may have been highlighted in previous surveys carried out on the property
- Whether or not there are any pests within the property and area such as bats or rats
- Any approved, declined or pending applications for additional planning permission
- Whether or not the property in question lies beneath a known flight path
- Whether or not you have neighbours who have been served with an (ASBO) Anti-Social Behaviour Order
- Whether or not the property in question is near a motorway
- Whether or not Japanese Knotweed or any other problem weeds are a problem within the property
- Any known proposals for nearby commercial or private development and/or construction- Any known structural issues that affect the property
- Any given public right of ways that pass through those grounds
- Any known ongoing problems with your neighbours such as boundary disputes
- Whether or not the area is prone to burglaries or if there have been any recently
- Whether or not there are any outstanding debts that are associated with the property in question, such as bank loans and so on
It is absolutely crucial that you provide all this information to the best of your knowledge. In fact, providing misleading information or omitting some critical details may result in criminal charges being levelled against you as the estate agent or seller.
This is one of the main reasons as to why it is important to involve a solicitor who specialises in property dealing whenever transacting in this field. Information that you may deem irrelevant might just be the thing that lands you heavy fines.
Since this covers advertising as well, you should always ensure that the images or floor plans being used to sell the property either online or offline are accurate representations of the property in question. Should they be seen as misleading, you could end up in quite a bit of trouble.
Having said that, if you have a house that isn’t the most appealing, and if you lack the budget to refurb the house, the alternative route in promoting your house can be in the terms you offer.
Given that not everyone can afford 10% to 20% deposit for a home loan, you may provide a flexible payment plan for the deposit where the buyer can pay in monthly increments. In that sense, you may still be able to attract buyers because of the easier payment method.
Investors like Rick Otton, Reena Malra and Simon Zutshi popularised this flexible payment model in the country, and even the government has come up with similar programs, albeit via rent to own schemes.