Struggling To Sell An Underpinned House (Subsidence)?

Lockdown #2 update: You can still buy a home, sell your home and move home during the lockdown in England starting on Tuesday 5 January 2021 (unlike the first lockdown in March 2020). But you must follow Covid safety guidance.

Selling Underpinned House

Ordinarily, I’d say using a “We buy any house” company to quickly sell a house for fast cash shouldn’t be in the same vicinity as Plan A, but in the case of selling a property with subsidence, whether it’s already been underpinned, or currently sinking to hell and in dire need of stablisation, looking into the services provided by companies that specifically buy properties for cash, even when they’re on their last leg, might be your only best bet (yup, it pains me to say it, but it’s true!).

The presumption is that you’re already aware of the fact that selling a property with subsidence, or a history of it, is going to impact the sale price. And, to add insult to injury, you’ll also have to contend with limited interest from prospective buyers, which means your imperfect property could sit on the market forever and a day (which may also translate into further financial loss). Not ideal.

The obvious problem with selling a property to a professional “We buy any house” company is that they’re going to low-ball you with a cash offer that’s considerably below market value, but the stone-cold reality is, it’s a quick and easy solution, so it’s a bullet you might be prepared to swallow if it results in someone taking your property off your hands ASAP…

So, the purpose of this blog is to provide further information on using a property cash buying service to sell your underpinned and/or wonky home, to ultimately help you decide whether it’s an option worth contemplating and potentially pursuing.

To ensure we’re on the same page, I must stress that my intention is NOT to encourage or push you down this path, my only intention is to educate. I know that this won’t be the most desirable option for everyone, but it might just be the golden ticket for some!

Quick intro to property cash buying services (a.k.a “We buy any house” companies)

I’m guessing you already know the general gist of how these companies work; they’ve become extremely popular over the years, and they’ve been a saving grace for thousands of sellers in need of a quick cash sale.

In short, they’re companies that will buy your property for cash at a reduced rate and at rapid pace. Generally speaking, you can expect to get a cash offer anywhere between 75% – 85% of the market value. How quickly, you ask? Many will provide a cash offer within 24 hours, and complete the sale in as little as 7 days!

If you want a more in-depth guide of how it all works, you can read my full guide on property cash buying companies.

List of the highest rated property cash buying services

If you want to get a no obligation cash offer, you needn’t worry about scouring the internet for options. I’ve curated a list of reputable and highly rated property buying companies over here.

Be warned, this sector is unregulated, which means consumers aren’t protected when selling a property to one of these companies, so it’s critical to do your due diligence. I recommend using only services with good reviews and members of redress schemes (like the companies I have added in my list).

What you should expect when selling a house with subsidence to a professional “We buy any house” company

To help provide you with a real insight of how it all works, I called in a favour from my helpful contact at MyHomebuyers – they’re one of several highly rated and reputable companies within the industry.

To clarify, I’m not advising anyone to use their service over another, I just happen to have a good working relationship with the folk behind the company, so I felt most comfortable asking them for further details on the process. I don’t have a preferred supplier, although, MyHomebuyers are among the top of my pile, so I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from strolling down that path.

Essentially, I asked them a few questions I felt most pertinent. Please bear in mind, MyHomebuyers can only speak on their own behalf, but you can gage how the other companies in the sector may also operate by their responses…

Q1. Objectively, how difficult can it be to sell a property with subsidence on the open market with a traditional agent compared to using a service like yours?

It can be extremely difficult to sell a house with subsidence on the open market through a traditional estate agent.

Firstly, the property will be deemed as non-mortgageable so the estate agent is only limited to selling to cash buyers. Selling a property to “cash buyers only” significantly reduces your market and also the value of the property.

From our experience even if a buyer is a cash buyer they might not necessarily be a professional buyer and could potentially underestimate the job at hand. It is not uncommon for a cash buyer to have come into money from maybe an inheritance and want to get into the property, they see what looks to be a good deal, make an offer and then after getting quotes from builders or a survey they back out because they have bitten more than they can chew.

Estate agents will also have access to property developers which is a viable option. With property developers, they look to make similar margins to ourselves but are not necessarily geared like ourselves, this is from both a speed and funding point of view. Often local developers only will only have the capacity to buy one property at a time and if they were to make an offer they might be relying on the sale of another property which could form a chain. We have the funding to buy an unlimited number of properties and we can deliver on speed, offering a lot more certainty and peace of mind.

Q2. How long would it take for the sale to complete and for the money to be in my bank account? What’s the process?

In terms of timeframes we still complete on a property with subsidence in a matter of weeks. Depending on the circumstances around the vendor, they might already have a structural report so we are aware of the cost of repair or we may need to instruct a structural engineer to access the issue. Either way, this can be done within a few weeks from the initial call through to completion. The process is the same as any normal acquisition, we just need to assess the issue with the property.

Q3. Do services like yours buy any property with subsidence or are there some properties that you won’t even touch?

A lot of our competitors will not buy properties with subsidence as they will deem it too high risk. We have a lot of experience with buying properties with structural issues so will always look to make a no-obligation cash offer.

Q4. We know that “property cash buying” companies already buy properties at BMV (anywhere between 75% – 85%), but how much lower is the offer for a property with subsidence?

As a company, we always look to pay around 80% of the current value. There are times where we will consider up to 85% but this really is on a case by case basis. As long as we can pay around 80% of what something is currently valued at then we will buy. This can be 80% of the value of a newly refurbished house to 80% of the value of a property that has subsidence and needs to be fully refurbished.

Q5. Do you buy many properties with subsidence?

Yes, over the years we have bought many properties with subsidence and offered property owners a very quick and simple solution as a way out of what can be a nightmare situation. We are always happy to buy property with structural issues.

Q6. Any final [unbiased] thoughts/advice for anyone trying to shift a property plagued with subsidence?

It would always be advisable to speak with a structural engineer in the first instance. Before you tackle any problem, you need to understand what you are dealing with. A structural engineer will be able to identify the cause of the movement and how to remedy the situation. Once you have this information you will be in a position to get quotes from builders and from there you will be in a position to make a decision to either make the relevant repairs, or sell it as it is. If you choose to sell it as it is, at least you will have a greater understanding of the work and cost involved when negotiating an onward sale.

Hope you found that useful.

So, once again, if you want an non-obligatory cash offer from MyHomebuyers or another highly-rated company, you can do so from here. I personally recommend getting a few quotes!

If you have any further questions about selling a property with subsidence or using a professional house buying company, feel free to drop a comment…

Last but not least, good luck (… selling your wonky home)!

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