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Sellers' white lies cost homebuyers over £20,000

Abigail Fenton
·2-min read
A bad paint job could cost buyers over £2,000 to fix. Photo: Roselyn Tirado/Unsplash
A bad paint job could cost buyers over £2,000 to fix. Photo: Roselyn Tirado/Unsplash

The common lies Brits tell to sell their homes can end up costing future buyers over £21,000 ($28.000), research suggests.

Although sellers have a legal obligation to disclose all the negative details of their home to make sure buyers can make an informed decision, there are many issues some Brits might choose to lie about, a survey of 2,000 by Boiler Plan found.

Most commonly, nearly half (47%) of Brits admitted they wouldn’t tell a potential buyer about any problems with the neighbours, even though it is a legal obligation to reveal any alterations that involve official bodies — noise complaints, disputes where the police were called, etc.

The cost of this really depends on the specific circumstances, but occasionally it can drive a home-owner to pack up and move.

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More than one in eight (13%) sellers said they wouldn’t declare any crime sprees, such as burglaries, that had occurred in the area. This could be costly for the future home-owner if they were burgled, with residential burglaries costing victims about £3,030.

The same amount said they would probably lie about any “surface damage” to the property, such as a broken fence, which cost about £600 to fix, or bad paintwork, which could cost about £2,100 to re-do.

One in 10 Brits said they would lie about damp, which could set future owners back about £280 per wall that needs damp-proofing, or even thousands if left untreated.

A smaller one in 20 (6%) home-owners said they would conceal issues with the central heating system, which cost an average of £2,600, but often up to £3,500, to replace.

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The same amount said they would not reveal structural damage to the home, with the most common issue, subsidence, costing a whopping £12,500 to fix.

All in all, these problems — which are not even an exhaustive list — could end up costing the future owners a massive £21,110 overall, the research found.

This is why “it should come as no surprise that many buyers could seek compensation for being misinformed about the structural damage of the home”, Boiler Plan said.