Ahead of selling your property, you may look to invest some time into making your home more attractive to prospective buyers. However, not everything can be hidden by a lick of paint, and however tempting it may be to not disclose a serious issue such as subsidence or an ongoing dispute with a neighbour this may result in you being prosecuted further down the line. Therefore, honesty is always going to be the best policy in this scenario.
While some issues may be obvious others may leave you unsure as to whether you should highlight them as a known problem. Here at Enact conveyancing, we’ve compiled our guide on ‘known issues’ and how they can affect a property transaction.
What should you disclose?
Firstly, understanding what an issue is to raise in the first place is, is essential to avoid any surprises that could affect your sale further down the line.
The sorts of known issues that need to be disclosed are:
- If the property has ever been flooded and the cause of the flooding
- Any disputes relating to the property including its boundaries and borders.
- Any proposals you know about for developing property nearby
- Any building works that have been undertaken at the property and the appropriate certificates confirming they were completed to the correct standard
- Any unusual or non-standard terms applied to your insurance along with any recent claims
- Any presence of Japanese knotweed
If in doubt as to what is relevant to disclose or not speak with your conveyancing solicitor and they will be able to advise. Failing to disclose a known issue is a criminal offence so being upfront could avoid delays further down the line.
How to disclose a known issue?
Aside from highlighting any known issues to the estate agent, when a seller appoints a conveyancer to manage their property transaction, they will be required to fill out a TA6 Property Information Form.
The property information form requires the seller to provide as much information to the buyer and will form part of the pre-contract pack provided to the buyer’s solicitor. The TA6 form requires a seller to disclose information relating to matters such as disputes, alterations to the property, planning consents, property insurance, flooding, parking and energy efficiency, etc.
The form is straightforward to complete but should you be unsure of anything it’s best to discuss it with your conveyancer.
How could a known issue affect the sale of a property?
By being upfront and giving as much information about any issues it is then down to the buyer to decide what they do with that information. As mentioned before, not all problems are going to put a buyer off.
If your known issue is going to potentially make the sale of the property difficult it’s worth having any relevant paperwork to hand, should you need it. Depending on what the issue is, for example, if you’ve had Japanese Knotweed removed, you would need to detail what guarantee or warranty can be passed on to the buyer and their lender.
Furthermore, it’s important to be realistic about managing your expectations when selling a property that has problems such as structural issues or neighbours that have been particularly difficult. While this could mean the sale of your property takes longer and/or you may have to offer a lower asking price to reflect the issue, on the upside approaching the sale this way, rather than hiding certain information, will mean you’ll avoid the legal implications had you misled the buyer.
Here at Enact, we provide the highest quality residential property conveyancing services in the fastest, most efficient, and most innovative way. If you’re looking to move now or soon get a free instant conveyancing quote here.