Do you have to declare underpinning?
As with many property problems, it’s always tempting to just hide the issue and not mention it. After all, underpinning is buried deep in the ground, so no one will ever know, right? Wrong! Like most potential problems, from noisy neighbours to subsidence, you’re obliged to fess up on the TA6 Property Information form that’s part of the conveyancing process. If you don’t admit to having underpinning work done, and it gets that sinking feeling again in the future, you could be sued by the buyers.
If you have had good quality underpinning work done, it’s better to be completely upfront about it. You should provide potential buyers with all the paperwork you got when the work was done, including the Certificate of Structural Adequacy and Formal Completion Certificate. You should also keep copies of any subsequent monitoring reports from your structural engineer. The more evidence you can provide to prove the work has been successful, the less of an issue it will be for your buyers.
Can you get a mortgage on an underpinned house?
If the work has been done professionally, to the set standard, then there’s no reason that your buyers won’t be able to get a mortgage on a house with past underpinning. Once again, the older the installation, the less of a problem it will be. If the underpinning work has only been completed recently, then the mortgage lender may insist on extensive and expensive surveys before they make their offer, if indeed they make an offer at all. This can put buyers off, and if they do proceed, your buyers will expect a lower price to compensate them for the extra costs of securing a mortgage.
Can you insure an underpinned house?
It is possible to get buildings insurance on a house with past underpinning, though similarly, the more recent the work, the higher the premiums will be. There’s plenty of business out there and so insurers have no incentive to take on unnecessary risks. Some insurance companies will refuse cover and you may need a specialist broker to find an affordable policy.
If you do get insurance, you’ll find that the subsidence excess will be substantially higher than it is for a property that’s not been underpinned. You may even find that future subsidence is excluded from the cover. Again, your buyers will expect this extra expense and hassle to be reflected in the price.
Most work on your home will benefit you when you come to sell. Replace your windows, refit the bathroom or install a new kitchen, and it’ll add to the value and make it easier to find a buyer fast. Unfortunately, while underpinning makes your home more structurally stable and secure, it has the opposite effect, reducing the value and making a buyer harder to find.
Sadly, all the proof and paperwork in the world can’t overcome the stigma when it comes to selling a house with past underpinning, especially if you need to sell fast. That’s why subsidence and underpinning are two of the most common reasons that people choose to sell to a cash buyer. Instead of waiting months to find a buyer, and getting beaten down on price at every turn, only for them to get cold feet at the eleventh hour, you get a guaranteed cash offer and a quick sale, with none of the stress and problems of selling a house with past underpinning on the open market.