Traditionally a house is the biggest purchase anyone will make in their life. However, despite this, people are normally so excited to move that they overlook things which are actually very important, and this can lead to issues later down the line.
Here are some tips to take into account when buying a house:
Go and view the property. Whilst this may sound obvious, it has certainly been made more difficult at the moment due to Covid-19. However you should always ensure that you have viewed a property in person before agreeing to purchase it. This will provide you with an opportunity to see things which might not be shown on photographs and to also give you a true feel for the property.
Instruct a surveyor to look over the property before you exchange contracts. Whilst everything might look ok to the untrained eye, a surveyor may be able to spot issues with the house that you were not aware of, which could result in costly repair works being required further down the line. If any issues are picked up which you are not happy with this will give you the opportunity to either drop out of the purchase or negotiate a lower purchase price to take the issues into account.
Drive around the area at different times of the day if possible. Although you are purchasing the property and not the area, location is extremely important. This will give you a feel for any issues with the area or anti-social behaviour that may occur near the property.
Always ask your solicitor if you are unsure about something. If there is something in the documents that your solicitor provides that you don’t understand then ask them for clarification. They are there to assist you and help the purchase of the property go as smoothly as possible. If you need anything explaining then always ask.
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions about the property and its history. Ask whether there have been any issues previously either with the property or with their neighbours. If you do not ask the question and issues arise later then you will have no recourse to the seller because the key principle when buying a property is ‘caveat emptor’, which means, ‘buyer beware’.
Keep a detailed record of anything said by the seller of the property so that if any issues come up post purchase you can refer to the notes if necessary.
Always ensure that your solicitor carries out searches for the property. Whilst the solicitor will carry out certain searches as standard, you may be offered the option for them to carry out additional searches for an extra fee. If you can afford to pay for these searches then you should. It is always best to have as much information about the property as possible before signing a contract.
Check the contract and all documents provided thoroughly for any issues or mistakes. Make sure that you bring these to the attention of your solicitor as soon as possible so that these can be rectified so that there are no delays in the transaction. It is particularly important to check the plans of the property you are purchasing to ensure it corresponds with the land you think you which comes with the property. Any discrepancies should be carefully checked before you decide to proceed.
Consider the long-term financial implications of purchasing the property. Can you afford it? What would happen if you lost your job? Will you be able to meet the repayments? These are the types of questions you should ask yourself before committing to such a big purchase. You should always seek financial advice and consider your personal circumstances carefully before proceeding.
If you do experience issues with the property post completion, seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are often time limits for bringing claims and the sooner you try to resolve an issue the better. If you delay in getting advice this may affect the outcome of the dispute.
If you have recently purchased a property that has resulted in a dispute or think you may have a claim for property misrepresentation and wish to discuss it with us, call our specialist team on 0161 696 6178 or complete our online enquiry form.
By Alysia Leigh, dispute resolution team