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House hunters need to be more diligent

By Michael Collis, Nov 12 2015 02:24PM

House hunters need to be more diligent when requesting information about prospective properties or could risk losing thousands, says Churchill Home Insurance.

According to a new survey by the insurer, only 40% of estate agents actively ask sellers about issues with their neighbours.

The findings also revealed that only 10% of estate agents rely solely on the purchasers’ solicitor or conveyancer to investigate existing issues with neighbours.

The the most contentious disputes are over communal space, with 56% of the estate agents who identified a problem saying this was the major centre of disagreement between neighbours. This was followed by noise complaints (10%) and boundary issues (8%). Other troubles include anti-social behaviour and complaints about dogs.

Around one in seven (14%) estate agents said the seller had to drop the price of a property because of issues with neighbours. The average price fall was 3.8%, around £7,000 in England and Wales, and £6,400 in Scotland.

Estate agents are legally required to reveal any negative issues about a property if known to them, which may affect the buying decision.

Churchill said it was vital that prospective buyers ask the right questions to ensure they get all of the information they require to “make an informed purchase”.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “Buying a property is one of the most expensive decisions many of us will ever make. As such, we are well within our rights to be informed about issues that may affect our buying decision. Buyers should ask their estate agent to disclose as much as information as they can about the property, seller and neighbours to help the buyer make the right decision.”

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