Selling your house in Somerset? Don’t get spooked by the paperwork!

October 25, 2019
When selling a house in Somerset there are certain things you must disclose. Ghosts are not among them

October is traditionally the month of all things spooky – and great fun it is too… but what if you’re trying to sell your house and you are genuinely bothered by ‘things that go bump in the night’ and ghostly goings-on? Are you obliged to flag up little Casper to your potential buyers, or do you just hope you can just move out and leave your home’s new owners to get to discover (or hopefully NOT discover) their phantom flatmates when the sale is signed and sealed?

When selling a house in Somerset there are certain things you must disclose. Ghosts are not among them
When selling a house in Somerset there are certain things you must disclose. Ghosts are not among them

When selling your home – even if you are trying to sell ‘Somerset’s Most Haunted’, you as the seller have a responsibility to offer as clear a picture as possible to the prospective buyer, and whilst you may be reluctant to flag up reasons your buyer may not want to go through with the purchase, failure to do so can have severe consequences.

In the past, the principle of ‘caveat emptor’ – or ‘buyer beware’ was employed, meaning that it was the buyer’s responsibility to find out about any issues with the property. But since 2013, legislation has changed so that if you don’t disclose something that could legitimately affect your buyer’s decision, you could be prosecuted.
When selling, you will be asked to fill out a Property Information Form (TA6) which will give you the opportunity to record any issues with the house, and it really is best to be as honest as possible. If you’re not sure whether to include something or not, then ask your estate agent or solicitor for advice, but typically you should mention things such as:

  • If a new major road is planned for the area
  • If there are pests or Japanese Knotweed problems with your property
  • If a violent death took place in the property
  • If there are high levels of crime in the area
  • If your neighbours have an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)
  • Any structural issues with the property
  • Any planning permission, whether it was granted, is pending or was denied

And in the USA there is an expectation to disclose if you believe your property to be haunted or if you’ve conducted an exorcism, BUT luckily, in Britain, this isn’t an absolute requirement. It still is better to be upfront and honest wherever possible, but if you really feel strongly that the only haunted house you want to mention is the one at the end of the Grand Pier you should be ok!
Do bear in mind though that the facts you DO disclose may not always put the buyer off. Whilst you may despair of the noise from the neighbouring pub at all hours, another owner might be attracted to the lively social scene. In many cases, the information you offer won’t affect your sale at all, but giving a full picture can often help a buyer feel confident in moving ahead with the purchase.

You may also be interested in:

Buying a House? What are solicitor searches?
I’m Selling My House, Do I Need An EPC?

Disclaimer: All advice on this site is given ‘as is’ House Fox Estate Agents are not responsible for any losses you may make subsequent to following the advice on this website, we advise you to always do your own research in full before you act.