Selling an Underpinned House

Selling an Underpinned House : How to Sell a Property With Subsidence?

So, you discovered your house had subsidence and therefore had it underpinned and are now wondering how this will affect its sale? Underpinning strengthens a house’s foundations, making it safer for occupants. However, when it comes to selling or getting the house insured, the situation complicates matters.


Most insurance people are cautious about insuring an underpinned house. Still, you should be able to get it covered as there’re all sorts of insurance for these types of houses. On the other hand, selling can be quite tricky, especially if you haven’t done this sort of thing before. Here is a look at some major points.


What is underpinning, and why is it important


Underpinning is any work done to support a building from below by laying a solid foundation below the ground level or by switching out weaker materials for stronger ones.


Underpinning works are often done if it’s discovered a house is sitting on a shifty ground, which can move or sink downwards. You’ll be told your house has subsidence and needs underpinning works done on it.


Why does subsidence happen?


Subsidence happens when the ground beneath a building starts to collapse due to changes in water levels. It may not collapse fully, but the ground sinks, taking the building with it. Buildings in certain areas in the UK are more to subsidence compared to others. Risk factors for subsidence include:

  • Soil type: if your building is standing in an area rich in clay soil, it’s at particular risk for subsidence. Clay soil is known to shrink and crack easily in dry conditions. This is mostly found in the South-east UK.
  • Period properties: it’s a fact that older buildings are more vulnerable to subsidence than new buildings because, with time, foundations weaken.
  • Water damage: in the case of leaking pipes, the ground beneath the building can soften up with time.
  • Proximity to trees: trees soak up water from the soil, alright. They can cause the nearby soil to dry up and sink.


How to tell whether your house has subsidence?


Are you worried that your property may be affected by subsidence? Not every property in the UK is vulnerable to it; however, about 3.7m homes are affected, and that casts a wide net, alright. Indeed, about 15% of the property market.


Check out for cracking, especially thick deep diagonal cracks. Not all cracks are indicators of subsidence; however, if diagonal cracks that are broader at the top show up suddenly, especially around windows and or doors, it’s a strong indication.


Check for stuck windows and doors, too. If you suddenly find it hard to open or close windows and doors, it’s probably because the ground beneath the building has shifted. Sure, temperature changes can also cause doors to expand or contract; however, it’s always wise to bring in a building expert to be sure.


Another strong indicator of subsidence is a slanted look when one side of the house is affected by subsidence sinks while the other remains intact.


Selling an underpinned house in the UK.


If you’ve had your house underpinned, it could be challenging to get an offer on it in the future. However, it isn’t easy to generalise. Indeed, it’s possible for buyers to fall in love with an underpinned house. In areas where subsidence happens a lot, most people aren’t bothered much by an underpinned building. Also, keep in mind that underpinning doesn’t necessarily imply subsidence. It can be rewarding to be wary, though.


So, what most buyers will do is order a full structural survey of the property, and this will tell if there’re any enduring issues. Some of the questions most homeowners have about selling a house with subsidence include:


How much does subsidence devalue my property?


With the possibility of subsidence happening again, putting occupants’ lives at risk, and the expected cost of fixing it, again and again, your house is going to lose value. Alright!


Indeed, a house with subsidence can lose up to 20 % of its value. Most buyers will commission a structural survey, examine the root cause, look at the neighbouring properties and follow repairs documentation. Keep in mind that even if the drains have been fixed, it’s no guarantee that the problem won’t come back; underpinning must be the final stage of the process.


Do I have to declare subsidence when selling?


Yes, you have to declare subsidence when selling. It’s good to be open and honest to potential buyers. While it could mean a reduced offer, it keeps you from lawsuits in the future.


If you’ve filed a claim for subsidence before, it’s important that you pass the name of your insurance provider to the buyer. That way, they can keep the cover for when the problem happens again in the future.


How do I get subsidence fixed so I can sell my house?


Subsidence is a homeowner’s nightmare, and as stats show, it’s a problem that’s all too prevalent. Once spotted, you must deal with it quickly because your option becomes very limited if you let it grow.


If you spot subsidence, get in touch with your home insurance provider immediately. They will want a full picture of the situation, no doubt. The sooner you inform them, the quicker it can be fixed, and you get your monetary compensation for your troubles.


The insurance will send their loss adjuster to assess the situation, and then the company will dish out advice on what you can do. Sometimes, they may deny compensation if your cover is not comprehensive enough or the problem is not big enough to warrant the claim. Indeed, the process may take years.


What are my options for selling a house with subsidence quickly?


If your underpinned property cannot attract an offer on the market, leaving it listed for too long will knock down its value. Buyers are going to get wary and suspect the issue is bigger than you are putting it to be. You can always try taking it off the listing and finding buyers off-market. Here are a few off-market options to sell an underpinned house quickly.


An upfront sale

An upfront sale is where you try to find cash buyers for the house. You may use your estate agent or through your own marketing efforts. Not all property buyers depend on mortgages; some use their own cash. Unlike investors who acquire properties to fix and rent or sell, most of these buyers are looking for a home. You will have to come clean about the bat issue, just like in other forms of sale, and depending on demand, you can get a good or fair offer on the property.


An auction sale

Another way to sell an underpinned house off-market and that guarantees a sale is to list it for auction. An auction sale guarantees continuous marketing until offers are made on the house. The winning bid deposits 10% of the amount upfront and promises to complete payment within 28 days.

Auction sale agreements are binding, and depending on the demand, you can get bids higher or lower than your asking price. However, auctions tend to keep away buyers who don’t like competitive bidding. That means you lose out on some potential buyers.


Selling to an investor


The last and best option is to sell the underpinned house to an investor. Investors are direct cash property buyers who acquire properties in all conditions for fixing then rent or sell them.


Selling to an investor is advantageous. They buy properties in conditions they are in, so don’t worry about fixing yours up to look good. Also, unlike cash-strapped buyers who would want to drag out negotiations thinking you’ll get tired and lower the asking price, investors guarantee a quick sale.


Another advantage is that there are no middlemen to deal with. Because this is a one-on-one sale, you won’t have estate agent expenses to pay up. Furthermore, unlike mortgage buyers whose mortgage may be stopped by the lender anytime their credit status changes, there’s no risk of incomplete payments with investors. Investors use their own cash to buy properties and guarantee immediate payment.


Like an upfront sale and selling at auction, investors won’t pay the market value of the house. Still, you are guaranteed a committed offer on it, unlike in an upfront or auction sale.


How can we help you sell an underpinned house?

Are you looking to part with an underpinned house quickly? An offer on it is just a phone call and an appraisal away. Indeed, we are reputable cash property buyers in the UK with years of experience buying houses in all conditions. A subsidence problem shouldn’t strike fear in your heart. We can come, appraise your property to make you a fair offer on it.


Unlike individual buyers in an upfront sale or auction who may want to stifle you on the offer. We offer a straightforward way to get your house appraised. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.

You may also like

Leave a comment

Get a Cash Offer for Your Property in 48 Hours