Selling a House with Damp Issues
Serious damp issues can sometimes result in a prospective buyers mortgage being rejected. If you’re selling a house or flat requiring extensive work to fix a damp problem, it might be more cost effective to sell to a cash buyer at auction.
Owners of properties with damp problems often find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to negotiating with prospective buyers, who might make a damp problem out to be more serious than it actually is, just to discount their offer. There are ways of dealing with these situations to ensure you receive the best sale price for your property.
More serious types of damp, like rising damp, lateral damp or penetrating damp will require the services of a professional. The severity of the damp problem will determine the cost of treatment.
With very few exceptions a property being purchased with a mortgage will require a survey. When the survey identifies damp issues the mortgage lender will more often than not require further investigation from a specialist surveyor. Some lenders will take into account the cost of work outlined in the surveyors report and offer a mortgage subject to a retention. A retention is where a mortgage lender withholds a proportion of a mortgage until the buyer has completed certain works on the property. As long as the buyer doesn’t reduce their offer, this is a good outcome for the seller.
There can be cases where damp issues are so serious that mortgage companies won’t lend, full stop. In these cases, the seller will either need to carry out the work themselves or sell to a cash buyer. For a sale to a cash buyer there will be a discount, sellers should expect a 10% to 20% discount on market value, plus a discount for the cost of work.
As an example of the costs involved in treating rising damp, the work might typically involve the installation of a chemical injected into holes in the masonry to repel water, or a new damp membrane can be fitted to act as a physical barrier to repel moisture. The area will need to be redecorated with a new salt-retardant plaster and a new skirting board. In the case of damp proofing a property, as a general guideline the cost is likely to be between £70-100 per linear metre for the damp proofing, and cost of plastering and reinstating skirting boards and electricity sockets will be extra. For a typical three-bedroom house the average cost of damp proofing is between £3,000 to £4,000.
The damp proofing treatment itself can usually be completed within 1-3 days. It’s the drying time that can be lengthy, it might take up to one month per inch of wall thickness to dry. The use of a dehumidifier will speed up the process.
For damp problems that are serious enough for mortgage lending to be refused, to achieve a fair price the best alternative is an auction sale. Auction offers a transparent sale, where prospective buyers don’t have the chance to drag out the sale and chip away at the price after the survey. At auction the bidding can only go one way. Up! So after competitive bidding sellers can be sure they’re achieve the best sale price, without any risk of bullying from opportunistic buyers!
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