Subsidence: Not Always The Horror It's Cracked Up To Be

Signs of suspected subsidence

While leafing through a property magazine, I came across an article about residential surveys. I was very interested to read what Graham Ellis, from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, had to say about subsidence:

"Structural Movement isn't something to be afraid of. There isn't a building that's ever been built that hasn't moved in some way or another, it's just a question of looking at where it is - it's new movement you need to be wary of."

Such statements should get greater prominence as most buyers who we come across who have a survey that mentions the word "subsidence" in the report run a mile.

In our experience some surveys and valuation reports tend to be worded in such a way that terrifies any buyer into thinking the house is falling down (such as Home Buyers Reports), when in most cases there has actually been no structural movement in years. When a surveyor sees any cracks in a building they have a duty to mention them and when the cracks are around windows or other "likely" positions they will say further investigation is needed as there is possible subsidence.

It is important to get any suspected subsidence checked out and usually a requirement by lenders as a condition of the mortgage (if there is suspected subsidence a buyer won't be able to get buildings insurance, and without that their bank won't lend). Arranging for a professional to carry out some investigative digging to check the cause of any cracks, deduce whether it's new or old movement, and produce a report of the findings is quite straightforward and relatively inexpensive.

Providing the movement isn't new and there is a professional report to back that up, that should satisfy the bank's criteria for lending, assuming no other major issues.

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Published on 06 October 2015

Source Trinity Sales Wakefield

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