Beware property pitfalls which could scupper a house sale

Be prepared to take action to stop the sale of your property from collapsing. Photograph: Toby Williams
Be prepared to take action to stop the sale of your property from collapsing. Photograph: Toby Williams
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Buying and selling a home can be a stressful process at the best of times. But some drawbacks with a property could make potential buyers completely lose interest and sabotage a sale altogether.

Being as prepared as possible always helps, so it’s important to be aware of the aspects of your home which may make it difficult to sell. If they’re tackled effectively and at the right time, this could boost your chances of finding a buyer.

The National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark has revealed the most common issues that can scupper the sale of a property.

Nuisance neighbours

Whether it’s a dispute over boundaries, shared access to driveways or anti-social noise, falling out with your neighbour is not only stressful but can affect the sale of a property. To avoid the risk of comeback later down the line, honesty is the best policy if you’ve had a dispute with a neighbour.

Structural problems

If your home has any serious structural defects which aren’t necessarily visible on first inspection, this can put serious doubt in the minds of buyers - and their mortgage provider may refuse to lend against the property. If you’re aware of a major structural problem with your property, try and fix it before putting it on the market. If you are not in the financial position to repair the issue, get an appropriate contractor to give you an estimate for repair. You should disclose everything to the buyer and provide the documents on how to remedy the issue. You’ll help to put buyers’ minds at ease.

Planning permission

If you’ve had any work carried out while you have been living in the property, such as extensions or conversions, make sure you obtained appropriate planning permission and building regulations, and have access to these documents. If you haven’t got the right documents, you may find that you must pay retrospectively before agreeing a sale.

Being on a flight path

If your property falls within an airport’s flight path, noise can cause issues, but the impact this has on a home depends on how busy the airport is - and even the type of aircraft used. Prospective buyers may be going into the purchase with their eyes and ears open, so be honest with them on how much you can hear and the times of day you’re disrupted.

Parking disputes

Issues can arise with street parking if a neighbour leaves their car in the space closest to your property. If you’re thinking about selling your home and have a parking issue with a neighbour, try to have a friendly word before any viewings – often simple courtesy will resolve the problem. If you share a driveway with your neighbour and there’s a dispute, check your house deeds to find out where the boundaries lie.

School catchment areas

Parents always want to ensure their children get into the right school, so the closeness of your home to popular local schools is a big consideration for families. Those keen to move are usually prepared to pay a higher premium for a property in their chosen school catchment area. However, school catchment areas can change, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this so you can be transparent with buyers.