What should you do if you find issues with your new property?
Prior to the purchase of a house, it is your responsibility as a buyer to complete due diligence on the property. This includes establishing whether the property is in a condition that suits your needs and that there are no costly hidden defects waiting to be discovered.
If, during a viewing or after a surveyor visit, issues are noted with the property, the first thing you should do is assess the severity. If the problems are minor, such as a leaky gutter or a loose floorboard, you may choose to hire a tradesperson after completion to fix it without incurring significant extra cost. However, if the problems are more serious, such as structural damage or rising damp, you should consider addressing the issues with the seller or, if you are purchasing a newbuild, with the property developer.
We have put together a list of some specific steps you can take if you have found issues with your new property:
- Document the problem. Take photos or videos of the problem.
- Get a professional opinion. If the problem is serious, it is important to get a professional opinion on the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs.
- Contact the seller or the developer. Once you have assessed the problem and gotten a professional opinion, you should contact the seller or the developer and let them know about the issue. In most cases your conveyancer will do this on your behalf.
- Try to negotiate a solution. The seller or the developer may be willing to fix the problem or reduce the price of the property to reflect the cost of repairs.
- Consider walking away from the sale. If you are unable to resolve serious issues with the seller or the developer, you may need to walk away from the property purchase. This is a last resort, but it may be necessary if the problem is serious enough.
The discovery of a problem with a new house is not just stressful but could have a significant detrimental impact on the value of the house. The lack of a home survey means that a buyer is less likely to discover problems that aren’t necessarily visible to the untrained eye and may be costly to address. A few hundred pounds spent now to locate a potential problem could save you thousands (or tens of thousands) in future repair costs.
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