Almost 25% of vendors lied or hid different facts about their property in an effort to sell it, according to a new study from Homeserve.

As the average time a property takes to sell increases from 5.5 to 13.5 weeks, and many chains are falling through, the report says some sellers are turning to dirty tricks to make sure they get a deal. Eight percent failed to tell potential buyers about problems with the boiler, or about the age of the boiler, six percent have covered up cracks in the walls while five percent were busy patching up leaking roofs and three percent covered up evidence of rodent infestations.

Sellers in the North of England were found to be most likely to cover up problems with their new property, particularly cracks in the walls and leaking roofs, whereas sellers in the South East were most likely to keep quiet about problem neighbours.

John Florsheim from Homeserve said: ‘Buyers should take note of this worrying research… A worrying number of sellers are resorting to hiding problems rather than paying money to have them rectified.

‘Buyers should thoroughly inspect the property before making an offer – ask sellers to move furniture, lift floor coverings and check that heating, water and electricity is in working order.’

Earlier research by the same company found that the average homebuyer is forced to pay out £1,961 to rectify problems in their new home which they weren’t aware of, and that many homebuyers feel let down by surveys failing to pinpoint potential problems in a house they are considering making an offer on.