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Selling a house with previous subsidence claim - help please

(20 Posts)
YevgenyOnegin Wed 02-Nov-16 21:02:24

Our house (built in 1912) had a subsidence claim on the insurance 25 years ago. Cracking to front elevation due to a tree. Tree was removed, brickwork repaired and certificate of structural adequacy issued. When we purchased 12 years ago our survey showed no further movement, mortgage company happy to give us mortgage and we continued insurance with existing company.

So we come to sell, we're upfront at viewings about this, had an offer, gave all relevant documentation to their surveyor, survey came back fine, our insurance will continue to insure house, buyer pulls out just as we are about to exchange.

Is there anything else we should have done? House goes back on market next week and I want to make sure we're honest about this issue. What would you expect from a seller if there had been an issue?

I realise a lot of people run a mile from subsidence but a lot don't, plus we're in an area prone to movement as old houses built on clay soil. It's not an uncommon issue.

Any thoughts or advice most appreciated.

wooooofudge Wed 02-Nov-16 21:13:43

Either they are very risk averse - and the incidence of subsidence due to the claysoil may be more of a worry to them than the past three related damage - or they are saying that is the reason rather than anything else.

Is it definitely subsidence that they have stated is their reason for pulling out?

YevgenyOnegin Wed 02-Nov-16 22:25:20

They've said subsidence. But want to put them behind me and move on.

I suppose I'm after opinons on how best we sell the house. My thoughts are that its best to be upfront at viewings that there was an issue and how it's really not an issue in terms of mortgages and insurance are fine. Do you think this is best way forward? Or we wait until we get an offer and survey and declare then?

We found out during searches and nearly pulled out but did some research and realised that house would be fine.

wooooofudge Thu 03-Nov-16 07:08:29

I think your approach was a good one. You got an offer and they knew about it. It would very much depend on the buyer.

YevgenyOnegin Thu 03-Nov-16 07:47:47

Thanks it seems obvious now you put it like that! We'll continue to disclose at first viewings.

Coughingchildren5 Thu 03-Nov-16 09:59:01

I don't think this is the best way to sell the house.

As the subsidence happened such a long time ago, not even under your ownership, this is not something you should feel you must declare From the outset. Even insurance companies won't be interested in Work done so long ago.

You have already discovered that knowing from the outset won't stop someone pulling out.

I think you should leave these historic issues for their own advisers to discover and investigate.

Perhaps you should get the estate agent to conduct first viewings? I really think you are making too big a deal out of it.

Inthepalemoonlight Thu 03-Nov-16 15:31:30

It wouldn't put me off buying your house as the tree is no longer there.

estateagentfromhell Thu 03-Nov-16 15:54:26

Under the new Consumer Protection Regulations, you're under a legal obligation to disclose all 'Material Facts' pertaining to the property at the earliest opportunity.

Leaving it to 'their own advisers' to discover is unlawful now, and I would very strongly advise against it.

wooooofudge Thu 03-Nov-16 16:31:21

I think what you do is not say to another buyer that the last lot pulled out due to subsidence and simply tell them issues caused by tree roots were remedied at the time, the tree is no longer there, etc.

You'll piss buyers off if subsidence comes to light in their searches, they speak to the EA and the EA says anything about the last buyers pulling out due to subsidence. Better to be upfront and work out a strategy with the agents.

YevgenyOnegin Thu 03-Nov-16 17:42:35

Thank you. Going to show the house first ,mention subsidence at the end, got certificate of structural adequacy if they want to see it, and advise our insurance will continue cover or a broker can. Highlight we want to be upfront and honest as we want buying experience to be positive. Which we do. And to come back to estate agent if they have any further questions. Fingers crossed!

yearofthehorse Thu 03-Nov-16 17:46:05

Unfortunately, however long ago the work was done, you have to declare it and insurance companies have to know about it. We are in a similar position and hoping that our buyer doesn't panic.

Hermano Thu 03-Nov-16 18:03:40

We're in a similar position and ended up abandoning our sale plans after 2 buyers pulled out. If at all possible I'd advise you to sell then buy later. We lost onward purchases due to buyers pulling out. Ended up remortgaging up to our eyeballs and keeping the flat. Hoping to sell in a couple of years to claim extra SD back. If all else fails I'll sell to webuyanyhouse company and take a huge loss. Outs wasn't even subsidence! Structural movement likely caused by the 2nd world war which was REPAIRED IN THE 50s! Still risk averse fuckers buyers pulled out.

Good luck with yours.

YevgenyOnegin Thu 03-Nov-16 18:19:57

Hermano, do you mind me asking when your buyers found out? Was it during the conveyancing?

Hermano Thu 03-Nov-16 19:25:30

We weren't aware of it ourselves, it wasn't picked up in our survey so we didn't put anything in the info pack.

Our first buyers survey flagged there was evidence of historic repair. Then then asked us for details. We naively just replied that we didn't know anything and it didn't get flagged in our survey, sent them extracts from ours. The pulled out.

Second lot we didn't think to mention it again ( we didn't really take it on board from first lot and didn't think it was anything), their surveentitled it as evidence of movement as was really damning and kinda scaremongering. Said buyers should do structural survey to see if they needed to repair the historic movement and check it had stopped. So surveyor completely neglected to spot it had been bloody repaired!

We then paid for a full structural survey which confirmed it was mended middle of last century but buyers were spooked and pulled out. They were nervous about insurance. I now know our insurer would cover them, in fact our insurer stated they wouldn't even change the premium as it was so old, but I think they'd called around the high street and met blank refusals. I got the same when I called round the high St to get quotes for landlord insurance instead.

YevgenyOnegin Thu 03-Nov-16 20:11:40

Thanks Hermano. So sorry this has happened to you. If you can sell it in a few years of specialist insurers who will insure too. Good luck with your future plans.

southwest1 Fri 04-Nov-16 12:45:48

I sold my house in January and my subsidence work had only finished in the October. It was the first thing I told my buyers but they weren't worried. To be fair half of the houses in my street had had previous subsidence as they are built on London clay, so if you are looking to buy in that area you would be daft to be put off by it. The work had a 20 year guarantee too, so really it was safer buying now than it was when I purchased it.

Hermano Fri 04-Nov-16 13:55:12

Mine was in SE London and also on clay I think. Maybe I just got unlucky.

I think I will be really upfront next time, we have the engineer report and if that doesn't reassure people upfront it certainly won't further down the line!

gazzahove Wed 09-Nov-16 22:05:22

I've been trying to sell my Property in Worcester and like many other here the subsidence was caused by vegetation in the front garden. I bought the property knowing of the issue but took the view that with the appropriate certificate of structural adequacy and the insurance being no higher than normal thought it wouldn't be a problem when I came to sell.
I paid for my own full structural survey before marketing the property and any work recommended had the work done in advance.
As it is, I have now had four offers withdrawn and each time due to the buyers surveyors saying it was a high risk property.
I'm now at my wits end and feeling like I've bought a White Elephant.
Any suggestions gratefully received.

RubberTeeth Thu 10-Nov-16 23:26:58

I'm very sorry you are going through this. We recently sold a property of similar vintage that we had underpinned.

Among the various paperwork we supplied to our buyer was an ASUC insurance warranty issued by the contractor that did the work. ASUC is the Association of Specialist Underpinning Contractors. I don't know if the warranty is actually worth anything, but it gave comfort.

Perhaps the very age of the prior remedial work is a concern. In my view, it takes an experienced buyer to take on a property with a history of subsidence.

Ours was a buy to letter who got an excellent deal for our property - structurally in better shape than all its neighbours!

While not a knight a shining armor, I'd be hoping such a buyer turns up for you.

MyNameIsCleo Fri 11-Nov-16 18:33:40

All so frustrating!

Nothing to add, other than that as long as the certificates and guarantees were there and there wasn't an insurance problem it wouldn't bother me.

Silly self perpetuating thing, if no one was bothered, or thought anyone else was bothered it would be fine!

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