News: Delving beneath the estate agents data sheet

A new house preview service promises to tell you facts about a potential house purchase that the estate agent might not want to mention.

Although estate agents are bound by the Property Misdescriptions Act they are paid to sell houses. So it is not surprising that they play up the good aspects of a property and fail to mention the downside, says home-finding company, County Homesearch International.

Jonathan Haward, managing director of County Homesearch International, said: "This service is for time-challenged people who see a property they like the look of in a magazine or the web but are unable to get to see it quickly."

"We will immediately arrange a viewing by one of our 22-branch network of experts across the county and provide an independent ‘reality check’ on the property."

For £350 the firm claims to provide a dispassionate appraisal of the property to help a buyer understand what he or she may be buying. These will include both the positives and negatives of a property.

Mr Haward Adds: "We don’t try to hinder sales but by pointing out a property’s strength and faults we help house buyers make an informed decision."

What you are told

What you are not told

The house has a lovely view

Yes but what is that blot on the landscape (Is it a market garden with miles of poly-tunnel?)

The house is rurally situated

True, but it is close to a smelly chicken farm which is bad news when the prevailing westerly wind blows from the east

The house is close to a top school

Yes, but it’s directly on the rat run and the tranquillity experienced on Saturdays turns to a nose to tail rumble of traffic twice a day

The house overlooks the river and benefits from fishing rights

Local knowledge dictates that the river floods frequently

The house overlooks the sea

True, but the windows need weekly cleaning because of the salt spray

The house is close to transport links

But you can hear the train hooting

The house is described as being bijou

It is very pokey and dark

The house has four bedrooms

It does but two are tiny singles

The garden is a notable feature

It is a fine garden but we estimate that the lawns will take three hours to mow each week

The house is centrally heated

Yes it is but there is no mains gas so the house is heated by expensive heating oil or LPG

The house was modernised in the seventies

True, but the décor is fading and the bathroom suits are in lilac


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