News from - Chas Everitt International Property Group

What to do about hidden defects

Defects in the structure of a home that become apparent only after a sales agreement has been concluded can scupper the whole transaction. They can also lead to much legal wrangling, litigation and naturally, additional costs.

But, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, there are ways to overcome such problems, which will save the buyer the effort of starting his house hunting afresh, and the seller the bother of fixing the defect and marketing the property all over again.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says the best solution in such a situation is for buyer and seller to sit down together and discuss the matter - with their agents and lawyers, if necessary - and try to reach an equitable compromise.

“One possibility is for the seller to drop his asking price in order to release the necessary funds to the buyer, who can then undertake to fix the defect. An alternative is for the seller to undertake to pay for any repair work.

“However, it is wise to seek independent professional advice on the extent of the problem, the repairs necessary and an estimation of the cost involved.”

This is especially important, says Everitt, if the buyer decides to agree to a lower purchase price as compensation for the cost of repairs. “The scope of the problem may well be bigger than initially thought and any buyer who agrees to go ahead with the transaction at a reduced price must make sure that the saving will cover the cost of all necessary repairs.”

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