It is difficult to sell a vandalised property due to its limited appeal. We understand that you may be too embarrassed to invite an estate agent around to take photos and upload these photos online for the world to see.
Vandalised homes are unmortgageable as they are deemed ‘unsafe’ to live in.
In this guide, we will explore the definition of vandalism, how vandalism can negatively impact the sale of your home, whether you should refurbish a vandalised property before selling it and finally, how to sell a vandalised home as it is.
Table of Contents
What is a vandalised house?
Vandalism is a criminal offence that includes reckless and intentional damage caused by the perpetrator. To successfully prosecute, you will need to catch the culprit and demonstrate a clear intent to damage or deface the property, and the damage must have happened without the owner’s consent.
For residential properties, acts of vandalism can include:
· Breaking windows or doors
· Spray painting graffiti inside or outside
· Causing harm to the building’s structure, such as stealing lead or demolishing walls
· Smashing or removing roof titles.
Frustratingly, if they are caught in the act, Police are not likely to prosecute as they will deem ‘trespassing’ as a civil matter. Youngsters under the age of 18 are unlikely to be prosecuted for criminal damage as our Crown Prosecution Service has limited resources.
In the best-case scenario, they will get a verbal warning. You will be told that you can bring about a private prosecution, and this can easily cost you tens of thousands of pounds – with little chance of being able to recover any damages or bring about a successful prosecution.
In many cases, vandals target empty properties and use them as their regular social gathering spots. It is not just squatters who vandalise. Young juveniles skipping school or college can be a real menace with seemingly no accountability to the Law or society.
In an empty property, they can carry out as much damage as they wish, turn the place into a skating park because there’s nobody living there to challenge them. Unless the owner has expensive security with remote alarms that trigger a response from security guards, it would be impossible to stop vandalism.
That’s not to say that vandals won’t target occupied furnished properties, even if you have nipped out for a shopping trip. The damage caused can easily run into tens of thousands of pounds and can deter the sale of your property.
How vandalism will negatively affect the sale of your property?
As a seller, it is your duty to answer all questions truthfully and honestly relating to the sale of your property that could affect a buyer’s decision to purchase your home. If you withhold material information, it can mean that a buyer can sue for damages later. Therefore, you will have to disclose if vandals have targeted your property.
There is the risk that the property could be vandalised again, particularly during or after the refurbishment, and this makes it very difficult to insure. It is best to report vandalism. This will be recorded as a crime in the area and the Police may decide to assign additional officers to patrol the area regularly in future.
If vandals have committed arson at the property and floorboards are charred from fire damage, this can put off any normal buyers from buying the house.
At Property Saviour, we will buy any vandalised property, making you a fair cash offer and agree a completion date with you.
Should you refurbish a vandalised house before selling it?
You do not need to refurbish the property as you can sell the house in ‘as is’ condition, and we’ve bought plenty of properties that have been fire-damaged or had squatters moved in, so this is not an issue for us.
Let’s explore the possibility of refurbishing the property. It is tempting for an owner to start ripping out the plasterboard with graffiti on it, take out fire-damaged floorboards and take down the ceilings. A property stripped down to bare-brick walls can look much worse than it is.
If this is your first refurbishment project, then there’s a high risk that your costs will exceed your anticipated budget.
If you are in the building trade or have friends and family in the building sector, then the odds are in your favour. But be warned, with a labour shortage, you are unlikely to get mates rates. This refurbishment is likely to test your relationship with your best friend or family members.
Unless you are hands-on, it is also likely to take twice as long as you planned.
If you have time on your hands, money, experience, and contacts, then you can take on this project. Builders can be notoriously difficult to manage as they normally take on multiple refurbishments so that they don’t run out of work.
With a substantial rise in the cost of materials and limited supply issues, this can easily delay your refurbishment project. You will need to become great at sourcing materials at good prices.
If your builder supplies materials, he/she won’t care about the cost, and you could pay a lot more.
If your builder is on a fixed price, always agree a milestone-based payment plan schedule, write down what jobs your builder will do and how often they will get paid, then both of you sign it, give a copy to the builder and keep a copy for your records. Builders love to get paid on a Friday – even if they have turned up two days a week or not finished off the agreed work.
A builder can walk out of a refurbishment project and take on other projects if there are delays with payments. If materials are late, this can also frustrate your builder.
Your negotiation skills, patience and bank balance will be tested.
It is always worth putting together around 20% of the refurbishment budget for unexpected jobs. Your budget must include plenty of skips for removing rubbish. You are likely to require several skips, and this will cost you thousands of pounds.
Selling a vandalised home as it is
Vandalised properties are unmortgageable and therefore can only be sold to a genuine cash house buyer such as Property Saviour.
You can sell your vandalised house in an auction if you put in a very low guide price and be prepared to accept 10% above this price, called the reserve price. So, let’s say your guide price is £100,000 then you must be prepared to sell your property for £110,000.
Auctions are risky and not for the faint-hearted with an upfront cost, a give-away price and up to 3 months wait before the sale completes and that’s IF the property sells – there are no guarantees!
There are so-called ‘Modern Method of Auction‘ whereby sellers are told that there are no fees, and it is free to sell their vandalised home. However, what you do not know is that a successful buyer will be charged a ‘buyer’s premium’ that can be as much as £9,600.
Your buyer will certainly take the buyer’s premium into consideration when bidding. Therefore, you will be £9,500 worse off as a result.
This buyer’s premium is split as a commission between the auctioneer and the introducing estate agent (if there is one; otherwise, the auctioneer takes the entire sum). If the buyer has remorse or a change of heart, he/she can simply walk away from the deal, and you won’t see a penny of that £9,600. In fact, you might be told to ‘go again’ if your property doesn’t sell in an auction.
When you auction your house, its full address will be published online, and this record stays online forever. Another stigma with auctions is that as it is a public sale, anyone can view your vandalised property, including the perpetrators. Your home can become the talk of the town. This can be a very painful experience to relive those memories, particularly if your property was once a cherished home with happy memories.
A private discreet sale could be ideal if you do not wish to go ahead with an auction. With no for-sale boards and no estate agents or auctioneers involved, you will be selling directly to a buyer.
Property Saviour is a genuine cash house-buying company with a superb track record of working with homeowners. You can read our five-star reviews.
We will make you a fair cash offer, and once you accept, we will aim to complete the sale within a couple of weeks, covering up to £1,500 of your legal costs. There are no estate agent fees to pay. The price we agree on is the price that we will pay with no deductions.
Because we will buy any house, you do not need to worry about the condition of your vandalised home. If you are looking to make a fresh start, make an enquiry now.