Home sellers beware: 6 traps to avoid – so choose your conveyancer carefully
“But I’m just selling; the buyer takes the risks with everything, right?” Wrong. If you are selling a house or flat, there are so many things a buyer can challenger you over, even after you have sold, and so you need to make sure you have the best conveyancer on your side, to guide you and shield you from that happening.
Examples of things that can go wrong when selling a property
1. Your conveyancer sends you a Property Information Form to complete, but your conveyancer does not bother to read and check your answers, and simply sends it to your buyers’ lawyers. But you may have said things you did not need to, and so volunteered far more information and thus potential for inaccuracies once the buyer moves in. They could take court action against you for misrepresentation of the truth.
2. Your conveyancer is sent reams of enquiries from your buyers’ lawyers, and simply asks you to answer them. Buyers should never ask questions about the state and condition of the property, or any which seek an option. However, if you answer them and at any point in the future the buyer suffers loss because they relied on what you said, they could again claim misrepresentation.
3. The standard wording of a sale contract requires you to sell your home free of mortgages. You may not have realised that your business overdraft has become a mortgage on your deeds. A conveyancer can therefore get two things wrong:
a. they might obtain a repayment amount but only after exchange, and then you realise you have too much to repay to continue with the sale – yet too late as you will have exchanged. The buyer can claim breach of contract if you pull out.
b. your conveyancer may have missed the second mortgage completely, and released all the proceeds to you, and then the buyer points it out and you are again in breach of contract – having to hand back the business overdraft amount.
4. You must leave the property empty on completion of all rubbish and items you have not agreed with the buyer to leave. If you fail to, the buyer may look to claim from you for the cost of any removals.
5. If you deliberately conceal known physical defects, the buyer may take court action against you for deceit.
6. If a buyer asks you to take out legal indemnity insurance as a solution for some defect with your property, and you (i.e your lawyer) does not correctly comply with any ‘assumptions’ the insurer makes/imposes, yet you have exchanged contracts already, then the buyer may take court action against you for breach of contract.
Things can go wrong, so the choice and quality of your conveyancer is crucial to protect you. Selecting a conveyancer by how low their price is can be a serious mistake, as with life in general, things are usually cheap for a reason.
At Trethowans, we aim to provide you with a conveyancing service that is totally professional, and protects you from all the common pitfalls that come with selling a property. Contact experienced property solicitor, Tom Higham, to find out more on 01722 426985.