Transparency - you know it makes sense!!

Until recently, a critical guiding principle of the property market was caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware.” It basically meant it was ultimately the buyers’ responsibility to satisfy themselves about a property they were buying.

Now, it’s all change. With the incorporation into UK law of European consumer legislation, with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs), sellers and agents have a duty of care to the buyer too.

The main issue is disclosure. The CPRs require sellers and/or their agents to volunteer all material information upfront – good and bad.

On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable idea – for buyers, at least. But what about sellers? After all, how will you feel if and when your estate agent is legally obliged to tell potential buyers that in addition to four bedrooms and two reception rooms, your home also has a chronic damp problem and needs a new roof?

We are thankfully in an era of ‘transparency’, so one hopes that both sides in a transaction will see this as a benefit. It’s easier to make good decisions when you have all the information up front, rather than getting ‘surprises’ down the road and having to rethink your purchase.

Sellers should not be put off by the “warts and all” approach – it will generally make the sales process quicker and easier with less or no surprises. Buyers are much less likely to rethink the purchase after survey or after replies to solicitor’s enquiries, when problematic ‘issues’ come to light anyway. A good example is when the agent says there is no onward chain and quick completion when in fact, the owners need to find a place to buy before moving. That’s ‘material information’.

So, agents and sellers, come clean: you know it makes sense.

Paul Bonett F.N.A.E.A. M.A.R.L.A.