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Does Underpinning Devalue Property?

Crack in a wall

Underpinning a property is not common. However, there are circumstances where it is vital to protect the integrity of a home. Without it, the house may subside and eventually become uninhabitable. If you are looking to sell your house fast and are unsure of how subsidence and underpinning could affect the sale, then read below.

Does Underpinning Devalue a House?

Underpinning is required when your house needs structural work to strengthen its foundations. It will normally be carried out when the soil supporting the foundation has changed, be it due to expansion or contraction, damaged plumbing that has been left unrepaired, or subsidence.

Sometimes underpinning can be needed if the initial plan of the build was faulty and didn’t consider the full nature of the ground that the property was to be built on. Regardless of when underpinning takes place, it is often assumed that finding a solution to an issue should be seen as a positive for a property. However, the impact of underpinning can be a grey area when it comes to valuations.

Depending on the extent of the subsidence, the type of underpinning required will be one of five variations:

  • Mass concrete underpinning – This is the most common method. With this form of underpinning, the existing foundations are made deeper, and the area is filled with concrete.
  • Piling – With piling, piles will be forced into the ground and placed upon more stable soil than what the foundations currently sit on.
  • Jet grouting – The existing soil is strengthened by mixing the current weakened soil with grout to create a stronger base. A similar practice called resin injector may also be carried out, where a resin mixture creates a chemical reaction that expands and strengthens the ground and structure.
  • Beam and base – The existing footing of the building is replaced and, in some cases, supported by a concrete beam. This allows the weight to be more evenly dispersed.
  • Cantilever needle beam – Not as commonly used as the other methods, this particular way of underpinning is carried out from outside the property and is mainly suitable to those living in an area with lots of outside space.

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How do I Know if My House Needs Underpinning?

Several key indicators may lead you to needing to get your house underpinned and these can vary depending on whereabouts you live. If you notice any of these then you may need to look into getting your house underpinned. When selling your house, you must disclose whether your house has been underpinned under the Misrepresentation Act 1967. Failure to do so could result in being prosecuted.

Look out for the following and work quickly to get them fixed so you can sell your house fast:

  • Substantial cracks in the wall – If you discover cracks both internally and externally that are thicker than 2mm, then you may need to have your house underpinned. Not all cracks can be attributed to subsidence though so it may be best to check for other warning signs as well. If the cracks tend to run diagonally, you may have a case of subsidence.
  • Rippled wallpaper – With subsidence causing the walls to move, you may notice that your once smooth wallpaper now has ripples or tears.
  • Sticking windows and doors – If you notice that the doors and windows of your house don’t open or close as flush as they once did, this could be a sign of subsidence, as the frames warp due to the wall movement.
  • Water leaks – Water leaking onto soil will almost definitely increase the risk of subsidence as the soil becomes saturated and, as a result, weaker.

Along with the above, there are a few other things to be aware of that may not be as evident from inside the house or directly outside it. Whether your house was built on clay soil, is near large trees, is in a town with a mining history or has old foundations, you may find that underpinning is eventually necessary.

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How Much Does It Cost to Underpin a House?

If you have noticed that your house does need underpinning the first thing is to act fast but carefully. With the variety of ways a house can be underpinned, make sure you get expert professional advice on what to do. The work itself can cost between £6000 and £21,000 but this can fluctuate quite rapidly depending on the size of house you have, and the type of underpinning required. You will also have to be aware of the time it takes to complete the job. A look at the cost of underpinning from myjobquote.co.uk showed that an average underpinning can take between 3-6 weeks to complete.

 Job description Duration Mass concrete Mini piling Resin injector
 Underpinning a single wall in a 2-bed terrace (4m) 3 weeks £6,000 £10,400 £4,800
 Underpinning a single wall in a 3-bed semi (5m x 4m) 4 weeks £13,500 £23,400 £10,800
 Underpinning a single wall in a 4-bed detached house (8m x 6m) 6 weeks £21,000 £36,400 £16,800

Home Insurance for Underpinned Properties

Most home insurance companies offer cover against subsidence but only when the property has never suffered with it in the past. With regards to underpinning, only specialist insurance companies will offer cover. It is recommended you speak to your current provider to see what they can do for you if your house has been underpinned or you are buying an underpinned property. If your home is at risk due to the type of ground it is built on, or the nature of the surrounding area, you may need specialist insurance.

How Much Does Subsidence Devalue a Property?

Selling an underpinned house isn’t a problem and it can actually work in your favour if you want to sell your house fast. With the foundations being significantly strengthened, the house may in fact be in better condition than other houses in the same area. Underpinning does come with some negatives though, as you can expect an approximate loss of around 25% on the value of the property. As mentioned earlier though, you will have to declare that underpinning has taken place at the property. You can find our more about declaring subsidence today. If you are selling and didn’t know about the underpinning but it eventually comes to light, you will have to prove that you were unaware such works had been carried out. Whilst you may claim you did not know, the amount of documentation attached to a property will show that at one time or another, you would have been informed.

Selling an Underpinned House

At Gaffsy we will get you an offer on your house even if it has been underpinned. You can contact us today and get a cash offer with no obligation with a purchase completed fast.

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