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Most estate agents fail to mention the neighbours; PERSONAL FINANCE.

Byline: Graeme Brown graeme.brown@trinitymirror.com

FEWER than half of estate agents actively ask sellers about any issues with their neighbours that could then be shared with potential buyers, new research suggests.

Agents are required to report any negative issues that may affect the buying decision under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations.

But insurer Churchill found just 40 per cent inquired about issues such as noise complaints or anti-social behaviour.

Once an issue did come to light, sellers were required to drop the asking price by an average of PS7,000 in England and Wales and PS6,400 in W Scotland.

The research further revealed that just one in five estate agents asks sellers if they have had issues with their council and 15 per cent of these would pass this information on to the prospective buyer.

Churchill home insurance head Martin Scott said buyers should ask their agent to disclose as much information as they can about the property, seller and neighbours. "If an estate agent has been made aware of a nightmare neighbour or previous council disputes, they are obliged to inform the buyer. With-W holding such information could see them face a fine of up to PS5,000 and/ or two years in prison."

National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) managing director Mark Hayward acknowledged it was down to the estate agent to inform buyers of any problems with neighbours, and suggested using a "reputable agent" to avoid any problems down the line.

He added: "If someone is looking to sell their home and they have had a dispute with a neighbour, they must disclose this as early as they can. It is vitally important that if you are buying or selling your home you use a reputable estate agent to ensure the right code of conduct is adhered to and that you receive the correct information."

" Churchill has suggested the following five tips to help buyers make a more informed decision:Don't be afraid to ask questions. When you meet the estate agent or W seller inquire about issues such as past/ongoing disputes and the neighbourhood.

Do your own due diligence. Ensure you visit the property multiple times and different times of the day to get a full picture of the property and the neighbourhood. Research the local area. Talk to neighbours, look at crime statistics and visit the local shops/ restaurants to understand more about your new potential home.

Floods, pollution and planning. Check out online resources such as the Environment Agency (England and Wales) and the Scottish W Environment Protection Agency for information on flooding and environmental information such as pollution. Get in touch with the local planning authority to find out more information about forthcoming developments in the area Only work with reputable service providers. Check that you can trust your estate agent and solicitors/conveyancers by making sure they are members of a professional organisation or association and have positive online ratings or recommended by friends/family.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 12, 2015
Words:517
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