Regardless of the way you choose to source the properties, searching the place head-to-toe is essential when bidding on a property, particularly if it’s a repossession. ‘Caveat Emptor’, is a Latin term that translates to ‘Let the buyer beware’. Despite the original meaning dating back centuries, the English translation is still relevant when it comes to property conveyancing. ‘Let the buyer beware’ indicates that the seller is not obliged to locate any issues of the property, whether it’s physical flaw’s or general limitations that may impair it’s current or future market price. This term used in property conveyancing is especially present when buying repossessions. Firstly, the seller will know far less about the property as they have not vacated it. Secondly, the nature of repossessions means that the bank has a legal obligation to get the highest amount of money possible for the property, so if they have to sell ugly to achieve this, they will.    

Recommendations for property buyers

Buyer beware. Inspecting property
Buyer Beware acts as a warning to potential buyers – it’s down to them to find the defects of the property, not the seller.

It’s recommended to hire a chartered surveyor to inspect the property. Following this, they may then suggest additional checks or ask the seller questions regarding the property, which the seller is then obliged to answer. Assuming these checks run smoothly, it is then up to the bidder to either conduct any further searches on the property or decide they are happy with how it appears. It’s important to remember that the seller will probably know very little about the property, they will never purposely cover up deficits (it’s illegal to do so), but the chances are they will probably be simply unaware of them. Search the place extensively, giving extra attention to the piping (such as under the sink), the insulation, the surrounding area’s foliage, loose wires and so on.

Property surveying. Caveat emptor
The term Buyer Beware means the seller may not inform you of damage to the piping. In a regular viewing this will not be clearly evident, so ensure this is an area you inspect.

Property experts often suggest you do not judge a room by its paint job, as a poorly constructed room can be given an artificial quality through a neat nick of paint. Conversely, a repossessed property could look dated, drab and cheap, yet if the foundations it’s built on are solid and long-lasting it can often be where the best value lies, and a good explanation to why repossessions can be such a fantastic investment. Yet without providing the attention required to locate these positives when viewing the property, you will be unable to differentiate between a great investment and a money hole in the first place.   


Next page: 3.2 Things to look out for