Am I about to make the worst £180k purchase in my life? - HotUKDeals
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Am I about to make the worst £180k purchase in my life?

lukas0704 Avatar
2y, 1m agoPosted 2 years, 1 month ago
After some serious advice from you guys. Had my third offer accepted on my first property in Milton Keynes a couple of weeks ago. I have also received from the estate agent the certificate of structural adequacy issued by some company instructed by Aviva house insurance back in 2012, which talks about 'clay shrinkage subsidence' with mitigation action including removal of vegetation. Now, of course I am going to instruct a structural engineer to have a look at the property before properly signing it all off. And I read a little bit about issues with house insurance and lack of competition due to having to use specialist brokers and companies. Is there any additional paperwork I should be requesting through my solicitor? How much is the new insurance likely to cost? I know that there is some sort of agreement that previous company should cover me when buying the property, but at what cost? Really unsure what to do and have no one to ask as parents don't really have any clue how it all works? Appreciate your help.
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lukas0704 Avatar
2y, 1m agoPosted 2 years, 1 month ago
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#1
Try to get an Insurance quote online, where I live some Insurers won't quote me probably due to subsidence in my area in the past.
#2
You are doing the right thing being ultra careful . You could also try for a few dummy insurance quotes , if the postcode is dodgy they wont quote on line they'll ask you to phone . Like car insurance quotes ,you don't have to own the house to ask for a quote . But you don't want to buy a place you cant insure . Also I'd imagine the Mortgage provider wont lend you the money if the survey is dodgy .

Edited By: rogparki on Dec 14, 2014 19:53
#3
Thanks for the help so far. I rang Aviva, but they won't help without vendors policy number. It's not the issue with the area, prices come up ok through comparison sites (around £110). The struggle is when I declare subsidence - only around 4 companies are happy to insure from around £150 mark (which isn't too bad). I put in the claim cost to be £7k, although I have no idea what was the cost. Do you think now, 2 years since the issue, it should be ok? Shall I be asking for some additional paperwork from EA?
#4
Get your solicitor to get as much paperwork on how the subsidence was dealt with any guarantees & receipts. I would also ask the vendors to provide copies of their current insurance policy. I would expect the vendors would be waiting to supply this knowing the houses history.

Regarding is 2 years sufficient time to assume its ok, assume NOTHING. You are correct getting a full structural survey completed, make sure the surveyor knows all about the work carried out as this may have a bearing on how he interprets things looking at the house.

Out of interest, was the vendor open about the subsidence or did your solicitor find it out in the legal pack?
#5
You should be able to get insurance but they might specify a high excess (poss as much as £5k) specifically for subsidence. At the end of the day if the price is right then it doesn't mean you shouldn't proceed. Houses that have had subsidence and then been underpinned are a generally safe bet. Technical jargon can often look more frightening than it actually is - it might just be some shrubs need pulling out at a later date but your surveyor should be able to advise.

I would have thought a "certificate of structural adequacy" is a good sign but am unsure if this would be transferable to you in the same way that guarantees for e.g double glazing often aren't. This is what you need to discuss with your solicitor as that's their job to find this out.
#6
lukas0704
Thanks for the help so far. I rang Aviva, but they won't help without vendors policy number. It's not the issue with the area, prices come up ok through comparison sites (around £110). The struggle is when I declare subsidence - only around 4 companies are happy to insure from around £150 mark (which isn't too bad). I put in the claim cost to be £7k, although I have no idea what was the cost. Do you think now, 2 years since the issue, it should be ok? Shall I be asking for some additional paperwork from EA?

£150 is a good price and don't forget contents insurance too though which will be another £70 or £80 but well worth it. If you get both with the same insurer you will save money. Worth trying for quidco or TCB also
#7
The survey will tell you everything you need to know. No problem. Probably some roots needing removed. 8)
#8
So the Estate Agent gave me the certificate of structural adequacy during the first viewing and said about vegetation, so very honest. They also said that one buyer pulled out as their lost their job in the process (but now thinking about it maybe they just didn't want to risk it but EA of course won't admit to this). I wish I looked into it more, I didn't really understand what subsidence was until recently and as I said my mum is pretty clueless... It doesn't say it was underpinned - just that house repairs were carried out and vegetation was taken care of... And yes, tallpete33, it does state that the certificate of structural adequacy is not transferable. But I am guessing my structural engineer will be able to provide similar?
#9
lukas0704
So the Estate Agent gave me the certificate of structural adequacy during the first viewing and said about vegetation, so very honest. They also said that one buyer pulled out as their lost their job in the process (but now thinking about it maybe they just didn't want to risk it but EA of course won't admit to this). I wish I looked into it more, I didn't really understand what subsidence was until recently and as I said my mum is pretty clueless... It doesn't say it was underpinned - just that house repairs were carried out and vegetation was taken care of... And yes, tallpete33, it does state that the certificate of structural adequacy is not transferable. But I am guessing my structural engineer will be able to provide similar?

I know it isn't underpinned, but worst case scenario if it does have to be done at a later date then the problem (if there is one) will be solved once and for all. Yes your guy should be able to provide the certificate but his work will cost a few bob, no doubt more than the insurance so factor that into your costs. House buying is a bit of a headache but it's worth it in the long run :)
#10
Well its a good sign that they were honest from the start. If your surveyor says for example - theres £5k of work still to do, you are well within your rights to reduce your offer by £5k, or ask the vendors to do the work before you exchange. Don't be scared to hold your ground, but be prepared to present evidence of why you are dropping the price etc.

Regarding the Insurance costs, ask the estate agent to get the repair costs tomorrow. Then i'm assuming they will have a Mortgage / insurance broker in branch or have links to. Ask them for an insurance quote as they will have all of the details to hand.
#11
The question you might want to ask the insurance is that should it need underpinned in the future, will they pay for it? Given that it has history of subsidence. If the answer is no, or if there is any doubt whatsoever, stay clear.
#12
If it is on clay and you have floods or extra dry weather the house will move again.

I would say walk away from it.
#13
We bought our house being previously underpinned. Just carried on with existing insurer at a reasonable rate. Well that was great until the insurer went under. As such we ended up with no insurance even our mortgage provider refused. Eventually we have ended up with the Halifax, seems a reasonable price but what can I compare it to? Looking at it now if I was to buy an underpinned property I would want to pay 5 to 10% less than the equivalent property without being underpinned.

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