Sold as Seen

Sold as Seen: What to Know About Possible Hidden Issues in UK Properties

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When you find a home you love at a price you can afford, it’s tempting to put in an offer right away, especially in competitive markets. However, buying a property “sold as seen” means accepting the home in its current condition, with no requests for the seller to make repairs or fix issues before closing. While this route can help your offer stand out, it does come with risks. Here’s what to know about potential hidden problems when buying a property as-is.

Scope Out Flaws During Viewings

Carefully inspect each room of the home during viewings to identify any visible defects or signs of damage. Look for cracks in walls and ceilings, peeling paint or wallpaper, stains, worn carpets, leaks, mould, and other red flags. Also, check the condition of fixtures like taps, toilets, baths, kitchen appliances, and more. Pay attention to any musty odours that could indicate moisture issues. Examine the roof, gutters, and exterior for problems too. Spotting flaws upfront helps you understand what you’re accepting by buying as-is.

Consider Getting a Survey

While not required if you’re a cash buyer, having a survey done can protect you from unseen and potentially costly problems down the line. A homebuyer’s survey provides a detailed inspection of the property’s condition. The surveyor looks at things you may miss, like electrical wiring, plumbing, drains, foundations, and structural integrity. They’ll also determine if dampness or rot is present. Though you’ll still buy the home as-is, a survey offers useful information so you know what defects exist and how much they’ll cost to fix.

Watch Out for Pests

Buying a property as-is means you also accept any potential pest infestations inside. Carefully check for signs of rodents, ants, bed bugs, and other pests during viewings. Look for droppings, nests, egg cases, and live or dead bugs. Pay attention to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, behind appliances, around skirting boards, and in cracks and crevices. If the property is vacant, ask the agent if pests have been an issue. Be prepared to hire a Bristol pest controller like Advance Pest Control Bristol to tackle an infestation if present.

Consider Hidden Plumbing and Electrical Issues

While dated plumbing and electrical systems may still be functional, they could be prone to problems that aren’t immediately evident. Galvanised steel pipes have likely built up interior rust and corrosion over decades of use. This can reduce water flow and lead to leaks. Knob and tube wiring found in older homes presents fire and shock risks. Asbestos was also commonly used as insulation around pipes and wiring before being banned. Be prepared to replace old systems if issues emerge.

Check Home Improvements

Many sellers make renovations and upgrades before listing their home. However, not all complete these projects legally with proper planning permission. If unpermitted work is discovered, you may have to make costly changes. Before buying, request paperwork from the seller showing any major electrical, plumbing, or structural projects were signed off.

Buying a home ‘sold as seen’ can help make your offer more attractive to sellers. However, do your due diligence to uncover any lurking problems that you’ll be taking on if you purchase the property in its current state.

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