I have been told to watch out for defects when purchasing a property. What types of defects are there and what are the responsibilities of the Estate Agent in this regard?
There are two types of defects - Patent and Latent. A patent defect is an existing, obviously visible defect for e.g. a hole in a carpet. A latent defect is an existing concealed defect which is not easily visible for e.g. rotting roof beams. In the case of a patent defect the onus is on the purchaser to be aware of the obvious condition of the property whilst viewing. With regards to a latent defect, the seller would be liable to repair the defect if he intentionally withheld information about the problem.
In terms of the Estate Agents Code of Conduct, the Estate Agent is required to: 1) Carry out a visual inspection. 2) Be alert to defects that are reasonably apparent. 3) Disclose such defects to every potential purchaser, unless the defect is so obviously patent that the buyer could see it for himself. All FIRZT Realtors are required to complete, in conjunction with the seller, a Disclosure Document when each property is listed. This assists both the realtor and the seller to identify all patent and latent defects prior to marketing the property and also allows the purchaser to make an informed purchasing decision. I hope that I have answered your question.