If a property is ‘sold as seen’ this means that the enquiries can only extend to the legal title or legal ownership. With a purchase from an owner occupier, there is an opportunity to ask questions about the property and to be able to rely on the answers to those questions being correct. But sometimes that simply isn’t possible.
In the past this has usually been where a house is being sold through probate, where the previous owner has died. Even with probate sales, there may be a family member dealing with the property sale who would be able to provide some background information.
An increasing number of property transactions no longer involve an owner occupier or family member. There has been an increase in standalone sales (not in a chain) where the property is owned for a short time and then resold. Many of these transactions follow a purchase where there may not have been a disclosure of historic information.
For property that is being ‘sold as seen’, the seller will be unable to answer any additional enquiries relating to the property. The buyer therefore should check that they are satisfied with the property by making separate checks about the types of factor the seller would typically be expected to provide. This could include aspects such as checking that utility connections are present, and that the boiler is adequate right through to full surveys.
It is also sensible to inspect the property again shortly before exchange of contracts to check that nothing has been removed or damaged.
It is important to note that a property being sold as seen does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the house, it simply means that the onus is on the buyer to check for themselves.