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Buyer Beware

Published on 18 November 2017 | Modified on 6 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
Conveyancing Solicitors

When buying a property the risk of ensuring that it is a good investment generally lies with you, not your seller. This is known as the principle of ‘Caveat Emptor’ or Buyer Beware.

The risks can vary from simply having a property full of unwanted furniture, or a boiler that does not work, to something more serious.   In a worst case scenario you could end up with a property that you are unable to sell in the future.

How can I reduce the risks when buying a home?

Your lawyer will mitigate the risks by carrying out a full investigation of the property’s legal title.  They will let you know what rights and restrictions the property is subject to.  However, they are unlikely to have visited the property.  So make sure you do the following:

  • speak with your solicitor so that know exactly what you intend to use the property for
  • check the plan of the property carefully against the actual property. Let your solicitor know if there are any differences between the two
  • have a good look around the property to make sure there is no evidence of anyone other than the seller using it. If there is, let your solicitor know.

You would also always be advised to have a survey carried out on the property.  If you have any particular concerns, make sure you have flagged these up with the surveyor in advance.  The surveyor will be able to give a detailed report on its condition.  You can then be prepared for any repairs which might be required.  You could also negotiate for the seller to deal with any problems before completion.

What else should I check before buying a property?

It is also wise for you to have separate reports carried out on the central heating system, boiler and electrics.  There is nothing worse than moving into your dream home to find that the boiler does not work.  If you know in advance, you can often negotiate contributions or a discount with the seller if maintenance is required.

Once contracts are exchanged, you are committed to buying the property in whatever condition it is in.  It can therefore be helpful to arrange one final viewing just before authorising your solicitor to exchange contracts.  If you have any concerns about the state of the property, this is the time to raise them.

For more tips on what to check buying buying your new home, go to, or call one of Poole Alcock’s friendly conveyancers on 01270 625478.  We’ll be happy to talk you through the process.

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