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Selling house that had 'subsidence'

Tom_Bradbury
Tom_Bradbury Posts: 49
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Anybody any experience of selling a house with subsidence and what happened around offers?  I've read subsidence can knock up to 20% off the value (hopefully worse case scenario), so it would be helpful to hear was happened in real life situations. 

My house was stated to be subsidence by the insurers, but it was only very minor and was very simply resolved by putting strengthening rods in an outside wall along the brick course in four places.  There was no underpinning done, and the thing that caused the very slight movement (we're talking literally millimetres where the very corner of the integral garage dropped causing bricks to open up against the mortar) was a leylandii hedge that was sucking up water from the ground.  The developer planted the hedge before we moved in and it was kept in check. Due to the risk of further soil contraction following removal of the hedge we dug up the tarmac drive in front of the garage, and replaced it with porous concrete sets so rain water now percolates in to the ground.  Not had any issues since and that was about 4 years ago. The house itself is a 'modern development' built around 1996.

Somebody suggested that we don't budge on price when selling (other than what might be acceptable reduced offer) but if its an issue I simply agree to pay for an insurance premium for any future claims.

I've also wondered if I should pay for a full structural survey in advance of selling to prove there isn't any issues as a way of alleviating any concerns.  I know any purchaser would have to get their own survey done but it would help with my own concerns that the house is not unsellable.   I know it's probably not that bad, but it's my house.  

Comments

  • mark_cycling00
    mark_cycling00 Posts: 501
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    I'd say be upfront and honest with serious buyers. Show any documentation/evidence you have. Don't reduce the price. Let buyers spend time looking at the repair etc. 

    Buyer's surveyors will conclude the same (give them all the documents too).

    Did your insurance premium stay the same? Was the repair arranged and then checked by the insurer? 

    You don't have a subsidence problem that may return and therefore require a 20% reduction. Your house is not slowly sliding down a hillside on a bed of Fuller's earth. 

    If a potential buyer seems worried then don't be afraid to tell them that maybe this isn't the right house for them. 
    The last thing you want is someone offering then bailing, your house keeps going back on the market and then all future buyers start worrying that it's worse than it really is.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,396
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    but if its an issue I simply agree to pay for an insurance premium for any future claims.

    Not sure how that would work? Surely if it affects the buildings insurance premium, that's going to be by an amount which will vary each year? You can't really calculate a lump sum to compensate a buyer.
  • The first house my partner and I bought was at the top of a hill, I was growing convinced it was subsiding, the soil at the back of the garden was getting big cracks in it and seemingly moving down hill, I was finding big cracks in the walls of the house and a stair shaped crack in front wall spanning down from the kitchen window but my partner was sure I was being paranoid. When we sold the house it never got picked up on any surveys and a guy bought it for 90k to use as a rental property.

    Last year we stumbled upon the Zoopla history for that house and saw that a few years on, the guy has sold the house on for just £4Ok and I could see from the pics that the wall under the kitchen had repaired. I can assume that it meant i was right about the subsidence but yet it wasn't even picked up when we sold it.

    Maybe if yours was just minor and has been fully repaired then you may not even need to mention it or simply just mention that it's successfully been nipped in the bud and won't be a future issue.
  • horsewithnoname
    horsewithnoname Posts: 264
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    I bought my first home, no mention of subsidence in the survey or at any part of the buying process. When I sold it, my solicitor asked about the underpinning. She seemed surprised that I knew nothing about it, but it didn’t affect the sale - and god knows the purchaser was a right nit picker! So if it’s now a non issue, maybe it is just a non issue?
  • Tom_Bradbury
    Tom_Bradbury Posts: 49
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    I'd say be upfront and honest with serious buyers. Show any documentation/evidence you have. Don't reduce the price. Let buyers spend time looking at the repair etc. 

    Buyer's surveyors will conclude the same (give them all the documents too).

    Did your insurance premium stay the same? Was the repair arranged and then checked by the insurer? 

    You don't have a subsidence problem that may return and therefore require a 20% reduction. Your house is not slowly sliding down a hillside on a bed of Fuller's earth. 

    If a potential buyer seems worried then don't be afraid to tell them that maybe this isn't the right house for them. 
    The last thing you want is someone offering then bailing, your house keeps going back on the market and then all future buyers start worrying that it's worse than it really is.
    Thanks for that - the insurance premiums went up during the period of the claim, but immediately returned to what they were before the problem was notified to them when the claim was settled.  The actual claim or overall cost of the repairs was also tiny and the majority of it was covered by the excess. If I'd had the foresight I probably would have not bothered involving insurance and simply got a builder in to fix it myself, but you don't know what you don't know, and hindsight is a wonderful thing. 
  • mark_cycling00
    mark_cycling00 Posts: 501
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    I bought a house that "has subsidence". You do feel nervous and a potential idiot for doing so because of all the baggage that comes with the term. It was a thin crack caused by tree roots.

    My surveyor said that the damage had been exaggerated by everyone involved in the insurance claim and lots of pointless but costly arborial work had been carried out after the problem tree had been felled.

    A sale had fallen through previously and the seller then knocked £50k off the price. With us they were much more open about the issue and provided lots of paperwork. This allowed me to confirm that I'd get home insurance with only £1000 excess for subsidence. (Rather than £10,000 or not being covered at all)

    As a buyer you need to accept that this is a much more quantifiable and manageable risk than potentially horrible neighbours or potential flooding, or a big estate being built across the road etc.
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,225
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    user1977 said:

    but if its an issue I simply agree to pay for an insurance premium for any future claims.

    Not sure how that would work? Surely if it affects the buildings insurance premium, that's going to be by an amount which will vary each year? You can't really calculate a lump sum to compensate a buyer.
    I agree, this idea is a non starter. As other have said the OP should be upfront and have all the documentation ready. The buyers surveyor comments will be the critical point.
  • ManuelG
    ManuelG Posts: 634
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    I bought my previous house and it had had underpinning a few years earlier. They declared it on the advert, my surveyor took a look and said it was more secure than the houses opposite... getting a mortgage was more of a challenge.

    Fast forward a few years to me selling and the only issues were the need for the original certificate of works, and their surveyor gave a cursory glance that the house was v straight.

    Passage of time helps, obviously, but if declared in the advert it's up to potential buyers to reassure themselves. If I was keen but concerned I'd want my own report rather than the seller's anyway.
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