Sellers hiding thousands of pounds of damage from prospective homebuyers

Pressure to buy homes without checking properly for damage means many movers are now facing hefty repair bills after moving in

Almost half of people who bought their home since the beginning of the year have discovered unexpected damage after moving in, according to LV= home insurance.

Nearly a third of those who bought in 2014 believe the seller deliberately concealed problems with the property during the sale. Disguising tactics used by sellers included painting over mould (43 per cent), moving furniture to cover problems during viewings (26 per cent) and hiding damage behind pictures (nine per cent)

New homeowners spent £4,205 on average fixing ‘hidden’ problems with their property. The most common issues include plumbing problems, such as blocked pipes (38 per cent), faulty electrics (25 per cent) and damaged drains (21 per cent).

Of those who bought a property this year, one in five admitted that they were pressured to make a decision virtually immediately or they would risk losing the sale. One in ten of those who bought a property since the start of the year made an offer on first viewing - 40 per cent two said that they did not have time to check the property thoroughly before making an offer.

Ten per cent of buyers added that their seller took items from their new property which they thought were part of the sale, and a further six per cent said that their new home had been completely stripped bare. More than a third of sellers had taken all the light bulbs when they moved, seven per cent had taken the doorknobs, and six per cent the lavatory seats.

"Buying a home is a huge investment and yet many buyers now feel pressured to rush into a sale without checking a property thoroughly," said Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= home insurance. "Serious faults are difficult to identify and can be very costly to put right. It is worth getting the professionals in to survey the condition of a property before exchanging contracts to make sure you are fully aware of any issues with the property.

"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."

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