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How To Sell a House That’s Been Underpinned?

Property Saviour » Problematic Properties » Structure » How To Sell a House That’s Been Underpinned?

It can be difficult to sell a house that has been underpinned because there are fewer people interested in buying it.

Potential buyers could be deterred for a variety of reasons, such as the associated stigma, increased insurance premiums, and the ability to resell it in the future. As a result, it may take a long time to find a buyer through the open market.

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What is subsidence?

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath a home sinks or collapses. This is especially problematic when the ground beneath the house is sinking unevenly, which can distort the integrity of the building’s foundations.

This is particularly common in London and the South East, due to the high clay content in the soil. Clay expands in wet weather, and shrinks when it’s dry, which can exacerbate the issue of subsidence.

What are the signs of subsidence?

Signs of subsidence can include cracks on the walls and floors sloping at an angle. However, not all cracks in walls, especially in older properties, are indicative of subsidence.

Typical signs of subsidence include:

  • Cracks near a window or door,
  • Cracks wider than 3mm,
  • Cracks that can be seen inside and outside, and cracks that spread diagonally across a wall.
  • Other telltale signs include rippled wallpaper,
  • Difficulty opening and closing doors and windows, cracks between the house and any extensions,
  • A home that looks slanted or off-kilter.

In some cases, subsidence may not show any signs for years and can be more likely if your home is built on clay, surrounded by trees, or has been through a long, hot, and dry summer.

In fact, according to LV=, clay shrinkage and soil erosion are responsible for 90% of subsidence claims, though a survey revealed that 55% of homeowners had no idea what their home was built on. This could lead to an increase in the number of claims as people become more aware.

Additionally, some people make claims without fully understanding what subsidence entails. Signs that are often mistaken for subsidence are bulging floorboards, damp patches, tilting trees outside the home, and a musty smell.

Is it hard to sell a house that's been underpinned
It can be difficult to sell a house that has been underpinned because there are fewer people interested in buying it.

How much does subsidence devalue a property?

Issues with subsidence can decrease the selling price of a property by approximately 20%. On a property worth £300,000, this would mean a decrease of £60,000. The percentage of the decrease depends on the severity of the subsidence.

What is historical subsidence?

It’s not impossible to sell a house that has experienced subsidence, currently or in the past. A surveyor will need to visit the property and assess the structure and foundations to see if the subsidence is active or historic. Our guide provides information about property surveys and surveyors.

The subsidence’s activity level will affect the next steps: if it’s historical, no improvements are necessary. However, if the subsidence is ongoing, remedial work must be done before selling.

If the subsidence is historic, you must disclose the issues to the estate agent. This may make it harder to sell the house and you may have to lower the asking price, particularly if the subsidence is recent.

You’ll need to provide evidence of past claims and specifications of the work done to resolve the problem. The buyer may also ask for a Certificate of Structural Adequacy.

Does underpinning devalue a property?

A property with subsidence that has been underpinned will typically be devalued by about 5%. From my experience, a property that continues to experience subsidence can be devalued by up to 20-25%.

Do you have to declare underpinning when selling a house
A property with subsidence that has been underpinned will typically be devalued by about 5%.

Do you have to declare underpinning when selling a house?

As a seller, you will need to fill in the Seller’s Property Information Form (TA6). This is a legal document that provides prospective buyers with detailed information about your house. You are also required to disclose any underpinning works to the buyer through Form TA6.

Does underpinning reduce value of property?

A property with subsidence could be worth up to 25% less, depending on the severity. This could have a significant impact on the value of the property.

Should underpinning be carried out every 40 years?

Without any new problems, underpinning is likely to last the entire life of the building, as long as it has been installed correctly from the start. This is only possible if it has been properly installed.

How long will underpinning last
Without any new problems, underpinning is likely to last the entire life of the building, as long as it has been installed correctly from the start.

How long will underpinning last?

No structural engineering works are permanent, including underpinning. It is not possible to build foundations that will last forever, as the soil can still potentially sink. Nevertheless, a successful underpinning of a house should last for many generations.

Is it illegal not to declare subsidence?

Failing to tell your insurer about subsidence could mean your home insurance policy would be invalid, and if you keep it hidden from potential buyers, you may be liable for a misrepresentation claim.

What is the average cost of underpinning a house?

Typical costs for traditional underpinning methods are around £1,500 per square metre for mass concrete and £2,600 per square metre for piling.

Beam and base piling averages around £2,000 per square metre. For a more modern alternative, resin injection typically costs around £1,200 per square metre.

How much does underpinning a house cost?
The cost of underpinning will depend on the job, as well as the type of underpinning required.

How much does underpinning a house cost?

The cost of underpinning will depend on the job, as well as the type of underpinning required. Piling is the most expensive option and is usually used for deep foundations.

Mass concrete fill and beam and base are more common methods. Surveyors can help you determine the best type for your property.

The cost of underpinning work will vary depending on the property and the extent of subsidence. Quotes will take into account the size of the job, the duration, access to the property, and any damage to the structure or aesthetic.

The cost per square metre for each underpinning method is outlined below:

Underpinning Type

Average Cost per m2

Mass concrete

£1,500

Beam and base

£2,000

Piling

£2,600

Factors like the location, size, and type of property, as well as whether it is built on a slope or flat surface, all play a role in determining the cost of underpinning.

Be mindful that there may be extra costs such as having a structural engineer inspect the property regularly or submitting paperwork for planning permission.

On average, here are the additional charges for these tasks:

Job Description

Cost

Structural engineer (per hour)

£70

Party wall agreement (per neighbour)

£700

Building control application fee

£200

Planning permission

£330

Is subsidence covered by house insurance?

Rectifying subsidence can be costly, especially if underpinning is needed. Insuring against subsidence is complicated, yet most home insurance policies usually cover it – provided your property has never experienced subsidence before.

Depending on the coverage, your insurer should cover the cost of repairs, replacement of items, and alternative accommodation. In most cases, underpinning isn’t included in the policy, but your provider should be able to help if the worst should happen.

If your home has unusual features or is at risk of riverbank or coastal erosion, you may need specialist insurance that also covers damage outside of the home.

If you renew your home insurance with the same company after making a subsidence claim, you could see increased premiums. They may also only offer a policy that doesn’t cover any future subsidence work.

How to sell a house with subsidence?

You can still sell a house with subsidence, but you’ll likely have to accept a lower asking price. This way, the buyer can take on the repairs needed to fix the subsidence issue.

Cash buyers are usually the only ones willing to buy these properties, as mortgage lenders won’t touch them since they can’t be insured in their current state.

Selling an underpinned property

When it comes to selling a property that has been underpinned, you must declare this to the estate agent and any potential buyers. Should you fail to do so, the buyer would be protected by The Misrepresentation Act 1967, which could result in legal complications.

In order to ensure transparency, it is helpful to provide your insurer’s name so that the new occupants can continue under the same cover should another subsidence claim need to be made in the future.

The upside for potential buyers is that the house now has stronger foundations than those without subsidence issues. However, as a seller, you can expect to lose an estimated 20-25% of the property’s value.

What-impact-does-underpinning-have-on-a-mortgage
Your property survey should confirm that underpinning has been done to an excellent standard, and your home has no ongoing structural issues and is not at risk of any subsidence.

What impact does underpinning have on a mortgage?

Underpinning typically does not affect the process of obtaining a mortgage. Your estate agent can assure any potential buyers with this information.

Your property survey should confirm that underpinning has been done to an excellent standard, and your home has no ongoing structural issues and is not at risk of any subsidence.

Houses with current subsidence problems may be refused a mortgage. It is therefore important to take care of any structural issues before you put your house on the market.

Another factor which may affect the ability to get a mortgage is insurance. If a property is unable to secure house insurance, a lender will not be able to give a mortgage.

This is because a mortgage is only possible if the property can be insured. However, this should not be a problem if the property is sound and no issues are found in the survey.

If you’re unsure of the type of mortgage that is right for you, our beginner’s guide to mortgages can help.

Does subsidence affect house price?

Subsidence can have a huge effect on house prices – as much as 20-25%, in some cases. But if the subsidence happened in the past and was fixed, it won’t have as big an impact on the value of your property as new subsidence that hasn’t been dealt with.

Sell to us!

Here at Property Saviour, we will buy any property in any condition.  Here’s why sellers sell to us:

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