Can You Sell a House with Subsidence?

Research suggests that around 3.7 million homes in the UK have been affected by or are at the risk of subsidence. If you are wanting to sell your property, subsidence can create a real conundrum. If you’re unsure of where you stand with subsidence and selling your home, read our guide below.

What causes subsidence?

Subsidence can be an expensive occurrence for homeowners. Subsidence occurs when the ground underneath a property cave in or shrinks. This can cause cracks to appear in the walls of a home and jeopardises the property’s structural integrity.

What does subsidence look like?

Making yourself aware of the trademark signs of subsidence is important for homeowners. Whilst all buildings expand and contract over time, seeking an expert opinion if you notice any of the following is important:

  • Is your wallpaper rippling?
  • Are there cracks appearing between your home and an extension?
  • Are your doors and windows sticking?
  • Are there cracks in your property around doors and windows?
  • Are cracks appearing diagonally or thicker at the top?
  • Is your property appearing slanted or wonky?

Subsidence can lie dormant for years. Factors such as unusually hot dry summers or plants absorbing water out of the ground can provoke subsidence. Furthermore, properties built on clay are at a higher risk of suffering from subsidence than others.

Can subsidence be fixed?

Most cases of subsidence can be remedied. You will need to contact your building’s insurance company and seek their advice – buildings insurance typically covers subsidence claims. Your insurance company will usually plan for a surveyor to come and diagnose your property. They will be able to determine if the issue with your property is subsidence and what work can be undertaken to make your home safe again.

Insurance companies

Cases of subsidence are some of the most technically challenging when it comes to insurance claims. Insurers often take much longer to settle subsidence claims which can be extremely stressful, especially if you are wishing to sell your property and subsidence is getting in the way.

Even if subsidence has caused the property damage in question, often insurance companies will want to monitor the pattern and rate of movement of your property to determine the best course of action and the root cause of the subsidence. This will allow for surveyors and builders to put the most appropriate plan of action together.

Rejected claim

Subsidence can be a grey area with some insurance companies. Sometimes insurers turn down subsidence claims, suggesting damage was caused by settlement movement. However, settlement movement typically refers to the compression of soil under the weight of a recently-constructed building. Therefore, only new builds and extensions could reasonably fall into this bracket.

Unless your insurance documents state otherwise, any damage to your home caused by downward motion is classed as subsidence. However, there are cases where settlement movement is expressly detailed in property insurance documents.

I don’t have insurance

Most mortgage providers make it mandatory to have house insurance. However, there is no legal obligation. If you are in a situation where your house has been affected by subsidence you will have to pay for the repair work yourself – this can cost from £5,000 to £50,000 dependant on the extent of the subsidence and the damage it has caused.

My house has subsidence history

If you are looking to sell a property with historical subsidence claims expect most buyers to be put off. Alternatively, be prepared to accept a lower value. Even if the issue has been fixed many potential buyers do not feel comfortable putting their money into a house that has had issues.

Understandably, most insurers will not risk becoming involved with a property with previous subsidence claims or reports. Prospective buyers are often put off purchasing homes with such a history as obtaining insurance can be a headache as there are not many companies and quotes can be expensive.

Can I sell my house with subsidence?

If a surveyor visits your home and assess the damage to your property, they will make one of two claims:

  • The subsidence is historic. This means any continued movement is unlikely and there is no need to carry out any work other than to improve the look of any damage.
  • The subsidence is ongoing. This means you need to have work carried out to remedy the subsidence problem. Otherwise, you could be trying to sell an unmortgageable property.

In the circumstance of ongoing subsidence, you will need to accept a lower house price value if you want to sell and do not want to have any repairs completed. This will allow the buyer to have the cash to carry out the work.

Guaranteed property sale

If your property is suffering from subsidence, you can achieve a sale through WeBuyAnyHome. We could have your property sold quickly within seven days. If you want to sell your house that has subsidence get a cash offer from us today or call free on 0800 020 9600.

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