A new study by CIA Landlord has surveyed over 2000 UK homeowners who have sold homes to reveal the most common things people lie about when selling their home

Despite the pandemic, homes are selling an average of 31% faster than in 2019, and with additional safety measures making it more difficult to adequately view properties, there’s potential for homeowners to get away with hiding problems in their house.

A new study conducted by CIA Landlord surveyed 2000 UK homeowners to reveal the most common things people lie about when selling their home. From rats and mould to noisy neighbours and leaks, our study reveals the top hidden problems Brits need to look out for when buying a home.

1 Out of 6 of Home Sellers in the UK Lie About Existing Problems When Selling a Home

It can be difficult to know what to look out for when viewing properties, especially if homeowners are not being honest about the state of the house. According to our survey of 2000 homeowners, a staggering 16% of homeowners lie about problems when selling a home. This percentage significantly increased for younger sellers, where 40% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 have lied about problems when selling a property.

Landlord Loyalty by Age Group 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
Percentage of homeowners who have lied 64% 40% 27% 15% 9%
Percentage of homeowners who haven’t lied 36% 60% 73% 85% 91%

With the rise of virtual viewings,  it makes it even more difficult for buyers to pinpoint these problems and purchase properties that they will need to fix further down the line.

Noisy Neighbours, Mould and Leaks Are the Most Common Things British Home sellers Lie About When Selling Their Property

In terms of what problems sellers are hiding, noisy neighbours are the most common issue with more than 21% concealing it when selling a property. This can be further amplified during the pandemic with more people spending time at home and noisy surroundings being more of a hindrance, especially for those working from home.

Mould and leaks are the next most common complication homeowners withhold, with 19% of sellers camouflaging mould and 16% lying about existing leaks in the property. Termites, on the other hand, are the least common issue sellers lie about with only 4% concealing them from future buyers.

These are the 10 most common problems UK homeowners lie about when selling a property:

Rank Problem Percentage who have lied about it in their house
1 Noisy neighbours 21.6%
2 Mould 19.1%
3 Leaks 16.3%
4 Hidden stains 14.4%
5 Damp 13.8%
6 Noisy surroundings 12.9%
7 Poor water pressure 11.3%
8 Draft 11.0%
9 Cracks in the walls 11.0%
10 Broken appliances 10.3%

Brits Pay on Average £5,673 in Repair Costs That Home sellers Fail to Disclose

While some unknown problems when buying a home can be easily fixed, others can cost new owners an extortionate amount in repair costs.

Our study revealed whilst a third (32.6%) of home sellers who have lied about the condition of their home only admit it will cost new buyers £0 to £1000, overall on average it costs new homeowners a hefty £5,673 in hidden repair costs when buying a home from a sneaky home seller.

Repair costs Percentage of home sellers who have hidden these repair costs from buyers
0 – £1,000 32.6%
£1,001 – £5000 19.1%
£5,001 – £10,000 21.0%
£10,001 – £20,000 12.2%
£20,001+ 4.7%

75% of Home Sellers Reveal They Made a Profit of 27% When Selling a Home With Existing Problems

Alongside homeowners concealing existing problems in the home, the survey highlights that on average, 75% of sellers make a profit on homes they sell where there have been unreported problems.

To avoid purchasing a home with underlying problems, it is recommended to do your research on a house before making any final decisions. Consult with a property survey to inspect the house and get a better picture of the condition it’s in and any work that may be required if you choose to go ahead with the purchase.

The percentage of homeowners who made a profit on a house sold with existing problems:

Percentage profit Percentage of homeowners
1% – 10% 10.4%
11% – 20% 23.2%
21% – 30% 23.7%
31% – 40% 18.7%
41% – 50% 9.5%
51%+ 8.3%

London Home sellers Most Likely To Lie About Existing House Problems When Selling a Home

Our survey revealed that 1 out of 5 landlords in our capital city have hidden or lied about issues in a home when selling it to a new owner. The findings also revealed that over a quarter (27%) of London home sellers have also made a profit on a home requiring a staggering average of £20,000 in repair costs!

Following in second with 8.20% of landlords likely to conceal the truth, are Manchester landlords. Third in line are those selling a house in Birmingham, where 5% of landlords aren’t upfront about issues.

Rank City Percentage who have lied about it in their house The top 3 most common issues hidden from homebuyers
1 London 19.95% 1. Mould 2. Noisy Neighbours 3. Leaks
2 Manchester 8.20% 1. Mould 2. Water Damage 3.Damp
3 Birmingham 5.00% 1. Noisy Surroundings 2. Mould 3. Poor Water Pressure
4 Sheffield 4.25% 1. Noisy Neighbours 2. Draft 3. Leaks
5 Leeds 4.15% 1. Noisy Neighbours 2. Broken Shower Heating 3. Broken or Poor Drainage
6 Newcastle 4.10% 1. Mould 2. Ants 3. Hidden Stains
7 Leicester 4.05% 1. Mould 2. Noisy Surroundings 3. Poor Water Pressure
8 Glasgow 3.75% 1. Noisy Neighbours 2. Damp 3. Mould
9 Bristol 3.70% 1. Thin Walls 2. Damp 3. Noisy Surroundings
10 Liverpool 3.65% 1. Leaks 2. Damp 3. Hidden Stains

Aberystwyth, Wales Home Sellers Are Least Likely to Lie About Problems When Selling a Home

If you’re looking to buy a home with no issues and would like the current homeowner to be upfront about it, house hunting in Aberystwyth would be your safest bet as only 0.35% of sellers here are likely to lie about problems.

The second best place for honest landlords would be Worcester, where only 0.70% of home sellers said they would hide issues on their property. Not far behind are Gloucester homeowners, here only 0.95% of landlords have admitted to being deceitful when trying to sell a home.

Rank City Percentage who have lied about it in their house
1 Aberystwyth 0.35%
2 Worcester 0.70%
3 Gloucester 0.95%
4 Wrexham 1.15%
5 Swansea 1.30%
6 Portsmouth 1.60%
7 Coventry 1.75%
8 Oxford 1.80%
9 Belfast 1.90%
10 Chelmsford 1.90%

Survey Results

A survey was conducted in association with One Poll in November 2020 among 2000 UK respondents who have sold homes they owned in the past. Full data is available upon request.

Notes to Editors:

If you’re interested in covering our study, we only ask to please refer back to this study with a link to this post.

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