New homeowners fork out £4k fixing hidden problems

19 May 2014

"Pressured" homebuyers spend an average £4,205 fixing 'hidden' problems with their new property, new research shows.

Almost half of those who have bought since the beginning of 2014 have discovered unexpected damage after moving in, according to insurer LV=.

Nearly a third of them believe the seller deliberately hid the problems during the sale by doing things such as painting over mould, moving furniture during viewings and hiding damage behind pictures.

The most common problems uncovered were: blocked pipes (38%), faulty electrics (25%) and damaged drains (21%).

LV= said the issue of concealed damage has been "exacerbated as the housing market has become more buoyant and buyers feel pressured to make an offer without thoroughly checking a property".

One in five buyers who have moved into a new home this year said they were pressured to make a decision quickly or risk losing the sale. Some 10% said they made an offer straight away, while around two-fifths said they didn't have time to investigate the property thoroughly before making an offer.

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Buyer responsibility

Other poor selling practices highlighted by LV= include the fact that 10% of buyers said the seller took items from the property they were led to believe were included in the sale. And some 6% discovered their new home had been stripped bare - the curtains and blinds, light bulbs, dishwashers, carpets, doorknobs and toilet seats were all gone.

As frustrating as such problems may be, when buying a home it remains the responsibility of the buyer to find out exactly what they're buying and home insurance won't always cover expenses caused by fixing damage.

Selwyn Fernandes, managing Director of LV= home insurance, said: "Home insurance will not cover you for damage that occurred before the sale but it may cover you for problems that happen afterwards, such as water damage resulting from faulty pipework."

So never forget 'caveat emptor' - let the buyer beware.

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