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Buying house with subsidence via probate
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bootsyjam · 05/08/2022 20:42

Have found our dream home and the subject header says it all:(
Had a full survey and chatted to the surveyor today after receiving his report and it wasn't pretty. As most will know you're not going to get a yes or no answer from a surveyor but after some gentle cajoling he said that in so many words that it's subsidence for sure. After more research on what he flagged then it's not really arguable at this point.

To find out what type, how severe, what to do to stop it will entail hiring a Structural Engineer and will cost 3-5k+ as it won't be a simple walk around.

Does the fact that the property is being sold via probate mean anything at all in what happens? Do we have to shoulder the burden of discovery ourselves and it's just tough luck?

As if buying a place with subsidence wasn't bad enough already!


Any advice will be gratefully received:)

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CaptainBeakyandhisband · 05/08/2022 20:46

I would run a mile. The issue is that any problem like that won’t be covered by your insurance as it’s a known issue, but should be covered by the current owners insurance.

the best option is likely for them to take care of subsidence and then sell, but if you really really want it you’re going to need to try and get some idea of what it’s going to cost to fix and see what contribution they will make. But at the same time, they’ve owned the house (or at least their relative has) and have not noticed/remedied structural issues. What else have they neglected?

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godmum56 · 05/08/2022 20:51

nope, buying a house sold via probate is no different at all for the buyer. Whoever the seller is, the setup is the same and your choices are the same. The seller can sell the house "as is", you can walk away, the seller can get the house fixed, you can pay mega bucks to get the survey done, you can put in an offer based on what you know and are prepared to pay, or anything else that would normally happen. If the house is being sold by the executor, they have a duty to get the best price they can for the beneficiaries.

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HappyAsASandboy · 05/08/2022 21:35

I bought one of these and I don't regret it!

Firstly, if your surveyor flagged subsidence, then any one else's surveyor will notice it too. That means the house is likely unmortgageable at present as no bank will lend on a house with subsidence.

Secondly, it is likely covered on the owners house insurance (and incidentally, their current insurance company has to allow you to insure with them at a similar price to the current insurance if you do buy it ...).

In our case, the vendors (Executor) got the house fixed via their insurance company. For our house, this took 4 years from death of the owner through to us moving in, though we were not the first interested buyer and so were only involved in the last 9 months of subsidence treatment and then we moved in. I don't know whether it would have been possible for us to buy it during the treatment; I would imagine it would have been ok as long as the insurance company could satisfy the mortgage company that they would sort the issues.

If you love the house, subsidence doesn't have to mean the end of the dream. However, it could take some time, be more complicated, and if you want to move soon then might involve you living through intrusive remedial treatments. Speak to the vendor, their insurance company, your solicitor and mortgage company and see what they all say. I would definitely expect a substantial reduction in price, to reflect the hassle and any ongoing issues.

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bootsyjam · 07/08/2022 11:51

Thanks very much for your responses. They have all been a great help in organising our thoughts on how we should proceed.
We will have to pull out and go to the agents to let them know and to hand it over to the executors to get the home insurance involved. It's not worth doing the investigations ourselves and doing the job for them which puts us further out of pocket with no discernible return.
Have a great weekend!

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TizerorFizz · 07/08/2022 16:00

If the house is priced with the faults in mind it’s worth doing but in most cases, you need to be a builder! You won’t have insurance or a mortgage. The owner should get it fixed on their insurance. It’s expensive to get accurate surveys and advice on remedial works because consultants are usually involved. They don’t come cheap and have years of training after a degree.

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Lioupin · 07/08/2022 16:15

We almost brought one like this earlier in the year. It’s not in South Wales is it?!

For us, the vendor wasn’t prepared to sort it. They apparently didn’t know it had subsidence, I don’t think they believed our surveyor to be honest.

They filled in the internal cracks and put some strategically placed furniture and it’s SSTC again. I presume they’re hoping the next surveyor won’t pick it up.

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TizerorFizz · 07/08/2022 21:52

Subsidence will be very visible on the exterior of a property. Inside cracks alone probably is not subsidence. Exterior cracks and misaligned windows etc is evidence it’s probably subsidence. Internal cracks are probably settlement cracks which are relatively minor.

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LittleGreenBeetle · 07/08/2022 23:06

Any advice will be gratefully received:)

Don't buy it!

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bootsyjam · 10/08/2022 17:16

Hi Lioupin, no it's not in South Wales:)

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catwomando · 10/08/2022 17:29

We bought a place that had subsidence.

The vendor had to get his insurance to own the claim and then agree to transfer the claim over to us, and to keep it insured indefinitely.

He paid the policy excess.

It wasn't probate though but I'm assuming executors would have to do the same.

Worth asking your surveyor what he/she thinks the cause is and the likely extent of remedial works would be.

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TizerorFizz · 10/08/2022 18:43

The reason surveyors dodge questions about subsidence is that they don’t know. They are not experts in it. That’s why they neatly always want a structural engineer involved as they carry insurance for such diagnostics and specifying remedial work.

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