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Over the last few years subsidence claims have increased massively. Although you might assume that the increase is down to poor construction of the building, many claims in the UK were linked to an increase in building surveys related to house sales and an increse in heatwaves. Substance can be an expensive problem to resolve and can cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. Subsidence can affect the saleability of your property.

If your house has been affected by subsidence this article I will help you to understand whether or not you can sell.

What is subsidence?

Subsidence is caused by the ground underneath your house sinking or caving in. This is most problematic when the ground underneath the house is sinking at different rates as this can cause foundational issues. Properties can become misaligned which threatens the structural integrity of the building. Subsidence can be very dangerous if it goes unchecked.

What are the warning signs of subsidence?

There are a few things you can watch out for if you’re concerned that your property could be suffering from subsidence. Although cracks in the wall (especially in older properties) is not necessarily a sign of subsidence, you should keep an eye on cracks that:

  1. A wider than 3 mm
  2. Are visible inside and out
  3. Spread diagonally
  4. Appear close to doors or windows

Other signs to watch out for include:

  • Doors and windows sticking when they open and close
  • Rippling in wallpaper
  • The home appearing slanted or wonkey
  • Cracks appearing between the property and extension

Subsidence can lay dormant for years, so it could be that your house is suffering and you don’t even know. Your home is at an increased risk if it is built on clay, surrounded by trees or if you have experienced a prolonged, hot, dry summer.

Many people assume that signs like bulging floorboards, damp patches appearing, musty odor or large tilting trees outside the house can be signs of subsidence issues. None of these signs of subsidence issues.

What causes subsidence?

Around 90% of subsidence claims are caused by clay shrinkage or soil erosion. However, a huge 55% of homeowners are not even aware that their house is built on.

Can I sell my house with subsidence?

You can sell a house with ongoing subsidence. However you should be prepared to take a serious drop in your asking price. This drop in asking price will allow buyers to undertake the work that is needed to rectify any subsidence issues. It is also worth noting that many mortgage lenders will be unlikely to lend for properties with ongoing subsidence issues. For this reason you may need to look for cash buyers.

What is historical subsidence?

It is possible to sell a home that is currently experiencing subsidence or that has experienced subsidence in the past. You will need to get a surveyor to visit your home and address the structure and foundation. The surveyor will be able to tell you if your substance problems are historical or ongoing. Historical subsidence means that any continued movement is unlikely and no improvements need to be made. Ongoing subsidence means that work needs to be carried out to resolve the subsidence before selling.

If you are selling a home with historical subsidence you should disclose these issues to estate agent. They will be able to make prospective buyers aware. Be prepared that it may take longer to sell your home, as subsidence can be off-putting for many buyers, even if it’s historical.

If your substance is historical, you will need to provide evidence of past insurance claims and specifications of the work done to show how problems were resolved at the time.

How much does subsidence devalue a property?

Issues with subsidence can drastically affect the selling price of properties. Selling prices of properties with subsidence issues are usually decreased by around 20%. This means that on a £300,000 property you would likely see a decrease of £60,000 due to subsidence. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this percentage is on a sliding scale depending on the nature of the substance.