It is not impossible to sell a house which has ongoing subsidence but it will impact the asking price. This is due to the investment that any buyer will need to make in order to fix the subsidence issue. You may need to look to alternate buyers, such as cash buying services, because regular buyers may not be able to secure a mortgage for a property with ongoing subsidence.
In the past year, subsidence claims have increased by nearly 50% as a result of heat-related cracks and an increased volume of building surveys being carried out in the UK. Subsidence can not only impact the property sale, but also the cost of insuring the property, with some claims in excess of £500,000.
What Is Subsidence?
Subsidence is what happens if the ground below your house caves in or sinks. This can cause the foundations of your property to become misaligned and, in the long run, could cause structural damage to the building.
What Are the Signs of Subsidence?
There are certain red flags you should look out for in your property that could indicate subsidence.
For example, cracks appearing on the walls. This could be just usual wear and tear but if it is subsidence the cracks will usually be:
- Close to a door or window
- Wider than 3mm
- Visible inside and outside of the wall
- Spread diagonally across a wall
Other signs of subsidence include:
- Cracks between a property and an extension
- A slanted or wonky appearance to the property
- Doors and windows sticking upon opening and closing
- Rippling of wallpaper
It is possible for your home to have subsidence issues with no tell-tale signs. Sometimes, certain external conditions could make subsidence more likely, such as if the house is built on clay, in an area that is dense with trees or if there has been a particularly hot and dry summer.
Can You Sell a Home with Historical Subsidence?
If your home currently has subsidence or has experienced subsidence historically, it is still possible to sell the property. Firstly, you will need to arrange for a surveyor to come to the home and assess the home’s structure and foundations; through this, the surveyor can tell you whether the subsidence is historical or ongoing.
If there is historical subsidence, it means that it is unlikely that the foundations of the building will move further and you do not need to carry out any improvements. However, if the subsidence is ongoing, work will need to be carried out in order to resolve any issues before selling.
When selling properties with historical substance, you will need to disclose any previous issues to the estate agent. It is then their responsibility to share this information with any prospective buyers – this may slow the home selling process down substantially and could impact your asking price, especially if the subsidence was recent.
With historic subsidence, you will also need to provide evidence of any past insurance claims and any documentation of work that has been carried out to resolve this. Buyers may also request a Certificate of Structural Adequacy.
How Much Does Subsidence Devalue a Property?
If your property has subsidence issues, it can affect the property price by up to as much as 20%. This is a substantial impact and means that for a property with a value of £400,000, this would be a decrease of £80,000. The exact percentage will depend on the severity of a subsidence and operate on a sliding scale.
You can fix subsidence issues with underpinning which is a type of construction carried out to increase the depth of the building’s foundations. Underpinning involves excavating the soil beneath the building’s existing foundation and replacing it with concrete, or another type of foundation material, in phases.
If you have had to underpin your property due to subsidence issues, this could devalue the property by around 20-25% and could also affect your prospects of selling the property. It can often be more difficult to sell properties that have been underpinned as many will not want to take on the risk of subsidence reappearing in the future.