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Can't answer buyers questions(17 Posts)
We are selling my mother-in-laws house, she has relocated. She has also apparently binned most of the paperwork relating to the house. She also has problems with her memory in that unless she thinks something is important she does not remember it.
The buyers solicitor is asking questions we cannot answer because of the lack of paperwork and her memory or lack of it.
So she does not know which boundaries are her responsibility for example and there's no indication on the deeds.
What should we do? We also don't live near the property otherwise I would knock on a few doors and ask the neighbours!
We bought a house from someone with dementia. The adult dc were doing the selling. Nobody had a clue about anything, not even the electricity supplier. We bought it at a sensible price and slowly sorted it all out.
You might need to adjust the price to reflect the uncertainty.
I don't think it's that unusual. When we bought a place that the vendor hadn't seen in some time, the questionnaire was full of responses like "unknown - buyer to make own inquiries".
I would be upfront and not try to guess.
Unless there are plenty of similar properties for sale, I doubt it'll make too much of a difference but the solicitor may charge more.
Just say "not known".
You can't be the first person to sell a house you know nothing about.
The boundaries should be on deeds but if not it’s essentially shared or a free for all.
If you don’t know, you don’t know. I had questions from my buyer’s solicitor that I didn’t know the answer to and I had lived there for 12 years! Things like insurance certificates for windows that were installed years before we moved in and how old was the admittedly ancient boiler, again installed before we moved in. None of it mattered in the end.
Often people don’t know whose responsible for boundaries/fencing - if ‘ugly’ side is facing you that’s a clue but not failsafe.
What else? Any planning or building regs will be available from the council. You will get bills from the energy suppliers.
What else? Where water meter is? Stopcock? Age of boiler? Those aren’t essential and can be figured out. Just say don’t know.
If the title register and plan don't show who owns/is responsible for which boundary, the presumption is that they are shared. What that doesn't help you with is who owns any boundary structures - so a fence along a boundary may have been paid for jointly by the neighbours either side or by only one of them. If you don't know, just say so.
We had lots of this when we sold my parents house after my mum died. We had some questions (like when was the kerb dropped) but not others. And some we answered “as long as we can remember”. We sold the house last year, my parents bought it when I was 3 and I was 50 last birthday
To echo everyone else, it's perfectly standard to write 'Not known' or 'Buyer to make their own enquiries' on a property form/in response to any questions. But I would make sure the buyer knows the circumstances, i.e. your MIL has dementia and you are not familiar with the house yourself, so they don't think you are being difficult and/or cagey.
Buyers' solicitors seem to ask a shedload of detailed questions these days. If you know the answer then give it. If you don't (or are uncertain) then say so.
It's then up to the buyer if they want to proceed or not. It's their problem, not yours. Don't stress, but do be truthful. "I don't know" is a perfectly valid answer.
I think origamiwarrior's advice is great - it stops the buyers from thinking you are being obstructive.
If you don't know you don't know! Better to answer with a 'don't know' than be untruthful.
Our vendors have given us a misleading answer (actually a lie) about a subsidence claim. It's relatively minor (cost to us of about £10k) but we have taken legal advice and would have pursued them for 'fraudulent misrepresentation' if the financial consequences had been more significant
(more than £25k).
Thanks all. Mil does not have dementia she's just in her own little bubble!
I've replied to our solicitor to ask her to tell the other side the circumstances and said sorry we don't know for some questions.
the boundaries will be noted somewhere- request online from the local land registry, costs like £6
In 90% (or more) of cases, the boundary won't be shown on the title plan.
Presume you've been sent the "Property Information Form"? It's got quite a few boxes with "not known" on them so it's fine to tick those. If there isn't one for an answer you don't know, just write "not known" there too.
@Snowsquonk, I wasn't suggesting your MIL had dementia Our vendor who did was the ultimate in "Don't knows" and we still proceeded.
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