Six signs you have a “problem property”

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2024


New research highlights six key indicators of a “problem property” with varying severity, what impact they can have on the value of a home and what this equates to in the current market.

Unmodernised Property: -£12.239

While it may be the least severe sign you have a “problem property”, an unmodernised home can still see you take an asking price hit when entering the market. Unmodernised homes typically need new bathrooms or kitchens, or a high degree of decoration, but in the worst cases, they may have no power or running water.

An unmodernised home is thought to devalue a home to the tune of -4.3%, which equates to £12,239 in the current market.

Flood risk homes: -£38,718

Whether it’s water damage as the result of previous flooding, or the risk of future flooding due to being located on a flood plain, a flood-risk home is thought to sell for -13.6% less. That’s a hefty hit of £38,718 on the current average house price.

Powerlines, phone towers and wind turbines: -£39,857

While vital when it comes to powering our homes, smartphones and pretty much everything else in our property, many buyers will try and avoid living close to an unsightly powerline, phone tower or wind turbine.

So much so that the close proximity of such eyesores is estimated to devalue a home to the tune of 14% or £39,857.

Short lease: -£42,704

Not all signs of a “problem property” are visible during the viewing process. A short lease can be a real deterrent to potential buyers due to the time and cost involved in renewing it.

It’s always best to renew your lease before it reaches 80 years or below and allowing your home to become a shore lease property can knock an average of 15% of the value - a hit of £42,704 in the current market.

However professional valuation advice from a chartered surveyor is fundamental as the figures can vary significantly depending on the unexpired term, property value, ground rent and any usual features such as development potential.

Japanese Knotweed: -£42,704

Like a short lease, it’s thought that the dreaded Japanese Knotweed can devalue a home by as much as 15%. While it’s not the only invasive species in the UK, it’s certainly the one likely to cause the biggest nightmare for home sellers and can be expensive to eradicate.

Subsidence: -£56,938

Structural issues of any kind can prove extremely problematic when it comes to selling your home. Cracks in the foundation or other issues can immediately deter buyers, or if it doesn’t, see them offer around -5.3% less for your home.

However, subsidence is by far the worst of the lot and indicates major structural issues that are sure to send potential buyers running for the hills. If they don’t, then selling a home with subsidence is likely to see you do so at a discount of -20%. That’s a huge £56,938 on the current average UK house price.

CEO of Open Property Group, who conducted the research, Jason Harris-Cohen, commented: “No one wants to be lumbered with a “problem property”, particularly in the current market where buyer demand levels have dropped and potential buyers can afford to be far pickier.

"There are a whole host of reasons you might find it hard to sell your home, but while some will ultimately depend on buyer preference, we’ve highlighted the big six that are sure to see you struggle.

"Of course, the alternative is that you take a sizable hit on your asking price to secure a buyer, but it’s always advisable to get your home fit for the market as the majority of buyers won’t want to take the risk.”

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