Home sellers admit to hiding problems during the viewings

In a survey of 1,144 UK homeowners who have previously sold a home, property purchasing company, House Buyer Bureau, has found that around one in ten (13%) home sellers have avoided showing a particular room to potential buyers during the viewing process, while 19% admitted to steering them away from a particular view such as a mobile phone mast.

The survey had an initial screening question that asked if the person had hosted viewings themselves. Only those who answered ‘yes’ were allowed to proceed with the questioning.

So some were private sellers and some may well have been with estate agencies but handling the viewings themselves – which could have some potentially  interesting repercussions for those agents under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations…

The top reason for neglecting to fully preview their property was due to using the space for storage at the time of viewing.

Other reasons to make the top five for keeping a part of their property off the viewing menu were: the need for renovation; the fact it hadn’t been cleaned; because the interior design was outdated or unappealing; and, most mysteriously, because it was ‘housing an embarrassing secret’.

With outside space, sellers were far less secretive, with just 2% stating that they had purposely avoided showing a potential buyer an outdoor area when viewing.

However, almost a fifth (19%) of those surveyed said that they had purposely avoided showing potential buyers a view from their property that they didn’t like, such as a mobile telephone mast.

8% came clean about attempting to hide a negative issue associated with the property itself, the most common cover up being water damage or mould, followed by cracks in the wall which could indicate subsidence, nasty smells from pets or smokers, windows or doors that didn’t properly close, and pest problems.

Managing Director of House Buyer Bureau, Chris Hodgkinson, commented:

“We’re probably all guilty of sweeping something under the rug in order to improve the appeal of our property during the selling process, but it seems as many as one in 10 would purposely steer a buyer clear of an entire room to avoid revealing what lies behind the door.

“If you do find that your home has been blighted by mould, subsidence or pest problems, you’re far better off to spend the money required to remedy it, or to be upfront with potential buyers and negotiate on asking price.

“Selling a home is stressful enough as it is without having such weights on your conscience and the reality is that the buyer will inevitably find out, pull out of the sale and you’ll be out of pocket and back to square one.”


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