Some time ago I decided to buy an apartment, so I started looking for one. I found one, sold through an agency, that I liked. The description on their website reported (and still reports even now as I'm writing) the size as 90 square meters. They also explained very clearly that, unlike most apartments, this one doesn't come with a cellar, so I wasn't buying one. Fine. I made an offer to buy it, which the owner accepted, so we put it in writing.
I needed to show the apartment's documents to my bank to ask for a mortgage, so I asked the agency to send them to me. One of them stated that the size was 90 square meters, but after some days they told me that it was actually wrong, and they explained the situation in more detail: the apartment does actually have a cellar, but the official documents kept at the land registry ("catasto", in Italian) contain a mistake, that is, one of the sheets indicates a certain cellar, while another one indicates a different one. The apartment can't legally be sold until the issue is rectified, but the agency told the current owners that doing it could easily take several months, and since they didn't want to wait that long, they decided to exclude the cellar from the sale. This is why the document had to be updated, and after some time they sent me the new one, without the cellar as expected, but the size had now become 88 square meters. Clearly it was due to the cellar no longer being counted.
I'm totally confused about what I should do now about this unexpected change. It's true that I knew that I wasn't buying the cellar, and it's true that I'm buying the apartment that I saw; but on the other hand, when I made my offer I thought I was buying 90 square meters, not 88. Given the price per square meter, these 2 square meters are worth more than 7000€. To complicate matters: the contract does have a section that describes the apartment, and there's a cell for the size, but we didn't fill it. Now I don't remember how it went, but I think they said something like "We can skip some parts to save time". Or whatever... I don't remember. Anyway I absolutely didn't imagine that the size could change or be wrong, so I said nothing about that.
So, the apartment is actually smaller than they initially said, but the contract doesn't report that. My naivety aside, what can I do now?
- Pulling back from the deal? I still want the apartment, so I wouldn't be happy with this. Moreover, when I made my offer I had to leave an advance payment of 5000€, and I'm not sure I would get them back: considering that the contract doesn't indicate the size I don't think I can say they breached it (but I'm not a lawyer).
- Negotiating? Sure, but I'm at a loss as how to handle it. If I asked for a discount, I have no idea how much I could ask for. I don't think asking for those 7000€ makes much sense, because they told me the cellar will be sold, separately (and, for some reason, through another agency) for 3.000€. And in any case, who should offer this discount? The mistake wasn't made by the owners, so I doubt they'd accept to reduce the price. Especially because I know for a fact that there were many people interested in this apartment, and they could easily sell it to someone else. The agency, then? It certainly seems correct, since at the end of the day it was their mistake. But I can't imagine they would accept so easily; I actually expect that they'd try to say that the apartment is exactly what I saw (which is true) and downplay the issue to some kind of technicality. By the way, their fee is already low compared to others (agencies ask for somewhere between 2% and 4% of the total price, and this one asks for 2%), so the margin for a discount is probably limited. But if I can't get a discount, then what?
Assuming they will try not to offer a discount, and considering that (as I'm sure you've understood by now...) I'm very bad at these things, is there anything that I can do to get some compensation? And how much could I ask for? Or, is there anything other than money that I can ask? Some legal aspect that could help me negotiating? (like: is the contract valid if it doesn't report the size?)