House sales – No exchange or refund!

Buyer Beware

These days we are good at enforcing our consumer rights. We know how to make returns and demand refunds when an item we have bought is not up to scratch.

When you buy a washing machine for example, you know that you don’t need to bring your washing down and test it before you buy it because if it doesn’t work you simply return it!

These consumer protections do not apply when you buy a house. The contract you will enter into states that you are deemed to purchase with full notice of the actual condition of the property.  The phrase to remember is “buyer beware”.

This means that before entering into a binding contract you must make your own investigations as to the condition of the property (or better still, employ the appropriate experts to do so).

Before a contract is signed, the vendor will be asked to declare whether they are aware of any problems with the property or any system in the property that would only be ascertainable after a period of continuous observation i.e. a problem or defect that you would only be able to discover after owning the property yourself for a period of time. Maybe the tap in the en-suite only works after 9pm at night or the heating doesn’t work every 3rd Tuesday if the wind comes from the south…!!!) The important thing to remember is that a Vendor does NOT have to declare anything which a buyer could discover for themselves through inspection of the property or the title documents provided to your solicitor. If you choose not to have a full structural survey then you will have no come back on the vendor if you fail to discover any problems that a survey would have revealed.

Remember, you can’t just take it back if it is broken! That’s why it’s so vitally important to get the best advice you can about both the physical structure and the legal title of the property you hope to make your new home.

MTB Solicitors have a very experienced conveyancing team which prides itself on taking the time to deal with each and every conveyancing transaction methodically and with great care and attention. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property or would like some advice on what types of surveys are recommended, please contact our experienced conveyancing team on 028 90 329801 or