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How to Sell a Problem Property?

Property Saviour » Problematic Properties » How to Sell a Problem Property?

Selling a problem property can feel like an uphill battle, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether your property has structural issues, problematic tenants, or other challenges, there are ways to turn your burden into a benefit.

At Property Saviour, we understand the unique difficulties of selling a problem property, and we’re here to guide you through the process with ease and confidence.

A property problem can be incredibly stressful to sell. Property ownership is a dream for many people.

However, there are times when ownership can turn into a major headache or even a nightmare.

In these circumstances, homeowners want to sell their property quickly:

Table of Contents

What is a Problem Property?

A problem property can take many forms. It might have structural faults, damp, mould, or even the dreaded Japanese knotweed. Perhaps it has a short lease, environmental issues, or tenants who refuse to leave. Understanding what makes a property problematic is the first step in finding the right solution.

For instance, we recently helped a seller with a property suffering from severe subsidence. Despite the daunting nature of the issue, we were able to offer a fair price and complete the sale quickly.

How to Sell a Problem Property?

When selling a problem property, it’s essential to be aware of your legal obligations. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, sellers must disclose any material information that could affect a buyer’s decision. Failing to do so can lead to legal repercussions.

For example, if your property has a history of flooding, this must be disclosed to potential buyers.

Pre-Sale Preparation Tips

Preparing a problem property for sale can be tricky. Should you fix the issues or sell as-is? Minor repairs and decluttering can make a significant difference.

For instance, a fresh coat of paint and tidying up the garden can improve first impressions without breaking the bank. However, for more severe issues, it might be best to sell as-is and let the buyer handle the repairs.

Financial Considerations and Valuation

Understanding how property issues affect valuation is crucial. Problems like structural issues or short leases can significantly reduce the market value.

It’s important to get a realistic valuation to set your expectations. At Property Saviour, we provide transparent and fair valuations, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.

Can I sell a property with subsidence?

Yes, you can. While it may reduce the market value, companies like Property Saviour specialise in buying such properties.

How does Japanese knotweed affect my sale?

Japanese knotweed can be a serious issue, but it doesn’t make your property unsellable. We have experience dealing with such properties and can offer a fair price.

Trees growing near your house

Living in a house on a picturesque street lined with trees can be delightful. However, it becomes problematic when trees are too close to—or even encroaching upon—your property.

Tree roots near the foundation and walls can compromise the structural integrity of a home, potentially making it difficult to sell.

According to RICS’s guidance on trees, the damage typically results not from roots exerting direct physical pressure—unless the tree is extremely close to the building.

Excessive root growth can undermine your house’s foundation and might even clog or damage gutters.

Consider also the driveways, garden paths, and other concrete surfaces that could be affected by tree roots. Such issues are easily noticed by prospective buyers and will require repairs.

Be cautious of trees or clusters of trees that are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), issued by local councils in England to protect certain trees or woodlands. Homeowners can receive TPOs.

These orders prevent:

  • Cutting down
  • Topping
  • Lopping
  • Uprooting
  • Wilful damage
  • Wilful destruction


of trees without the explicit written consent of the local planning authority.  You can read more about TPO.

Risk of floods near a house

Many people are drawn to the idea of living near a river, lake, or ocean. However, recent years have shown that such locations come with the risk of flooding.

For example, if your house is close to a major river, you might find it difficult to secure home insurance. Prospective buyers often consider proximity to water when deciding whether to purchase a property or not.

In northern England, the damage caused by recent floods has made many potential buyers hesitant about purchasing homes near water, making these properties more challenging to sell.

To help residents assess their risk, the government issues flood warnings, and the Environment Agency’s website provides information on areas typically affected by floods.


Problem tenants

Even with thoroughly vetting tenants before they move in, landlords can face challenges with difficult and even anti-social tenants. 

Taking quick and firm action may be necessary if your tenants start behaving badly, such as damaging property.

Do not hesitate to communicate directly with the tenants and explain why their behaviour is unacceptable. You can also refer to clauses in their tenancy agreement to support your concerns. If the situation worsens, the tenant’s eviction will be required.

The Money Advice Service, established by the government, provides free and impartial advice on finding the right solicitor for property matters.

Sitting tenants

Regulated tenants can live in a property until they pass away.

These tenants, known as sitting tenants, have signed regulated tenancies and possess stronger rights than usual AST or Assured Short Tenancy agreements. 

These tenancies typically began 30 years ago, and regulated tenants can only be evicted under specific circumstances. 

As a result, a property with sitting tenants may be valued differently because obtaining vacant possession for re-sale can be more challenging. Landlords must apply for a possession order from a court to evict such tenants. 

The court will assess the reasonableness of the “discretionary grounds” presented for eviction, including rent arrears, breaching tenancy terms, or engaging in anti-social behaviour.

Evicting sitting tenants is not a straightforward process and can sometimes take time. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to take the time to understand how sitting tenancies work.

Occasionally, we get enquiries from sellers with haunted properties, and we are more than happy to buy them.

how to sell a problem property
Even with thoroughly vetting tenants before they move in, landlords can face challenges with difficult and even anti-social tenants. 

Illegal extensions and boundary disputes

An extension built without seeking planning permission from the local council is considered illegal. Consequently, mortgage lenders may refuse to finance the purchase of such properties.

Lack of proper checks and necessary paperwork during the planning process can result in extensions that are excessively long or constructed unsafely.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed, a plant with white flowers, can be a serious nightmare for property owners.   It can grow as much as 10 cm per day, causing considerable damage to building structures and substructures. 

Common damage includes cracks in the tarmac, paving, foundations, and wall structures, reducing the property’s value.

If your property has Japanese Knotweed, it will be down-valued by a surveyor, possibly making it unmortgageable.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published a paper on Japanese Knotweed and its treatment. Treatment over an extensive period of 3 to 5 years is recommended to eradicate the plant.

Did You Know?

It is perfectly safe to touch, and you can eat it. Japanese knotweed has a lemony rhubarb-like taste and is used in various sweet and savoury recipes. These include purees, jams, sauces, fruit compotes, soups, wines, ice cream, and even gin!

Can you sell a derelict property?
We’ll buy your empty house if you wish to sell.

Derelict buildings

Buyers will struggle to find lenders willing to finance the purchase of derelict buildings because these properties are unlikely to be suitable for human habitation. A single structural defect is often enough to deter potential buyers and mortgage lenders.

We’ll buy your empty house if you wish to sell.

Poor drainage or waterproofing

Visible cracks in the ceiling and walls are usually a result of inadequate drainage or waterproofing. If left unaddressed, these issues can lead to damp, woodworms, or even flooding, which can compromise the integrity of the building’s foundations.

Mortgage lenders might hesitate to finance the purchase of a property with such issues for up to five years. Depending on the extent of the structural damage, lenders may avoid a property known for these problems for even longer.


Subsidence claims have been rising recently, with some insurance firms recording a 480% increase from the previous year.

Initially, it was due to the substandard construction of the buildings. However, the extremely hot and dry weather experienced in the UK through the summer was a contributing factor.

Not only can subsidence be costly to remedy, but it can also cause insurance premiums to skyrocket and adversely affect the saleability of a property.

Research showed that claims of a larger magnitude cost homeowners an approximate average of £30,000, some even reaching a whopping £500,000. The last time such a jump in claims was recorded was in 2018, when 23,000 claims were made, adding up to £145 million, again caused by an intense summer heatwave.

Properties affected by subsidence are also challenging to sell. Most cases of subsidence occur due to soil sinking or swelling around the property.

The primary cause of subsidence is often excessive extraction of groundwater, but it can also occur if the property is built on an old underground mine or landfill.

Signs of subsidence include uneven floors and visible cracks on the ceiling and walls, which may have become damp due to excess moisture. Subsidence can cause structural defects that distort the building and make it difficult to close doors.

How to sell fire damaged property
A property with fire damage will also be difficult to sell by traditional means.

Fire damage

A property with fire damage will also be difficult to sell by traditional means. Not only the structure of the building is compromised by the fire itself, but the gallons of water the Fire Brigade used to put it out can destroy the walls and flooring.

Structural Issues with a problem property

Identifying and fixing structural faults in your property early on is key to avoiding costly expenses. Serious problems can include windows that do not shut properly, cracks in the walls, and walls separating from the house, which may indicate subsidence issues.

While these problems can be repaired, it is often a complex and expensive process that requires the skills of a professional builder and a structural engineer. Selling the property quickly will be a less stressful option.

how to sell a problem property
Pre-fabricated, steel-framed, timber-framed, and concrete-frame houses. There are doubts about these materials' long-term strength and durability.

Questionable building materials

While bricks and mortar are the most reliable construction materials, alternative materials have been used for years. These include pre-fabricated, steel-framed, timber-framed, and concrete-frame houses.

There are doubts about these materials’ long-term strength and durability. Properties built with these materials may be more difficult to sell, as mortgage lenders view them as potential problem properties.

Anti-social Neighbours

The issue of anti-social neighbours is becoming increasingly common in the UK.  Noise, damage, and threatening behaviour can quickly turn a once-pleasant area into an undesirable part of town.

Buyers prefer to live in quieter areas. If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour, it may be worth reporting the problem to your local council.

It is highly unlikely that your local council will buy your home as most are practically bankrupt due to mismanagement of funds.

Even if you have a boundary dispute, we’ll buy your home.

What to do if your property has damp?
Rising and penetrating damp are major concerns for sellers in older properties.

Damp in your problem property

Rising and penetrating damp are major concerns for sellers in older properties. Rising damp is common in homes without a damp course or a neglected house perhaps awaiting probate.

Penetrating damp can be caused by leaky roofs, missing pointing and blocked gutters. Both types of damp can lead to severe dry rot and a substantial repair bill.

Can you tackle these issues?

We understand dealing with structural issues, subsidence, damp, fire damage, illegal extensions, and boundary disputes can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming experience for any property owner. These types of problems not only pose significant safety risks but also make your property incredibly difficult to sell on the open market.

Potential buyers and lenders are likely to steer well clear of a property with such extensive issues, as the required repairs and remedial works often come with a hefty price tag running into tens of thousands of pounds. The palaver of obtaining quotes, seeking planning permission, conducting safety checks, and coordinating with cowboy builders can also be a daunting and time-consuming endeavour.

If you find yourself in a situation where you lack the necessary funds to address these problems, it can feel like you’re trapped with an unsellable home and a significant portion of your capital tied up in an asset that’s rapidly depreciating in value. However, we want to assure you that there is a solution that can alleviate this burden and provide you with a fresh start.

Selling Options and Methods

There are several ways to sell a problem property, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a comparison table to help you decide the best route for your situation:

Estate AgentsWide market exposure, professional marketingTime-consuming, potential for price reductions, fees involved
AuctionsQuick sale, and competitive bidding can drive up the priceUncertainty of final price, auction fees, property must be sold as-is
Property SaviourFast sale, no fees, certainty of offerPotentially lower offer price compared to the open market

The Property Saviour Approach

At Property Saviour, we specialise in helping homeowners like yourself navigate even the most challenging property situations. Our team of experts understands the complexities involved and is committed to providing a compassionate and efficient service.

As cash buyers, we will purchase your property quickly without the need for lengthy conveyancing delays or tantrums of a mortgage lender. This means avoiding the stress and uncertainty of selling a problematic property on the open market.

e pride ourselves on our transparency and commitment to ethical business practices. Unlike some dodgy property-buying companies, we will never lower the agreed-upon price before exchanging contracts, ensuring you receive the full value you were initially promised.

To further ease the burden, we are pleased to offer a contribution of at least £1,500 towards your legal fees, alleviating some of the financial palaver associated with the sale. Our goal is to provide you with a hassle-free solution that allows you to move forward with your life, free from the weight of a problematic property.

We understand every situation is unique, and we are here to listen to your specific needs and concerns, tailoring our approach to best serve you.
If you’re ready to explore a path forward, we invite you to contact our team. We’ll be happy to discuss your circumstances in detail and provide you with a fair and transparent assessment of your options.

Sell with certainty & speed

auction hammer

Property Saviour Price Promise

  • The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
  • Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
  • These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
  • We are cash buyers.  There are no surveys.
  • We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.

We'll Pay £1,500 Towards Your Legal Fees

  • No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
  • You are welcome to use your own solicitor. 
  • If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
  • We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale. 

Sell With Certainty & Speed

  • Our approach is transparent and ethical, which is why sellers trust us.
  • 100% Discretion guaranteed. 
  • If you have another buyer, you can put us in a contracts race to see who completes first.
  • Complete in 10 days or at a timescale that works for you.  You are in control.
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