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Property Surveying Blog
September 16, 2019

What Devalues a Property?

Written by Tughan Musa

Buying or selling a house is both exciting and exhausting. One of the first steps you take is getting the property surveyed and valued with an RICS HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey Report.

It is important to know what adds value and what can detract value.

When valuing your home, our surveyors would consider a range of factors, both positive and negative in determining its worth.

Stone cladding, rendering, untidy gardens and flaky paint can all devalue your property,but for this blog, I have put together a list of some of the more serious factors that can devalue the price of a house.


Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant no buyer or seller wants to see. The Environment Agency describes the species as ‘indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant’.

The plant spreads very quickly and can cause structural damage to property and other structures, like boundary walls, drains, paving and other outbuildings. You could also be at risk of prosecution if it spreads to neighbouring properties.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended that the weed be removed from property before it’s put on the market, in order to avoid devaluing your home.

There are lots of trained professionals across the UK who can remove the robust weed effectively and put measures in place to help prevent it from recurring.




Few things strike as much fear into buyers and sellers alike as subsidence.

Subsidence occurs when the ground underneath the property begins to collapse.

Who would buy a property that was at risk of structural collapse? It doesn’t mean a full collapse of the ground, but rather the ground sinking and the property sinking with it.

If the foundations are affected in this way, the property will sink and this will cause cracks to appear in the building itself. It will also mean that the side of your property that is affected will literally start to sink lower into the ground below it, which gives the house a ‘slanted’ look.

Before the property goes on the market the first step is to hire a Surveyor (ideally us) to assess the situation.

Tackling it certainly isn’t a small job, but it’s not the end of the world, worst case will require underpinning of the entire property.  Fortunately most insurance policies offer protection against works needed.


Illegal Alterations

A surprising number of homeowners have work done on their houses without any planning permission. The reasons for this vary but range from ignorance of the law to a deliberate decision not to apply for consent, where it is clear that Building Regulation Approval would not have been granted for the works.

A Local Authority can take enforcement action against the owner of a property (even if that person did not undertake the work themselves), requiring the property owner either to undo the works undertaken or to carry out rectification works in order to ensure that the works comply with Building Regulations.

As part of our service, we check with the local authority that home improvements were done to the property legally. If you find that your own home has had some illegal home improvements in the past, work with your solicitor to find the best way forward.


Flood Risk


Floods can cause lots of damage to properties, so those at risk of flooding tend to be lower in value. This is partly due to the increased cost of insurance and the amount it costs to repair any damage.

Pre Purchase Surveys will check if the property is in a area of high risk, thereby fully informing you pre sale!


Poor Energy Efficiency


Energy efficiency has grown in importance for buyers since Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced over a decade ago and it’s due to become even more important last year when it became illegal to rent a property with a poor energy efficiency rating (worse than E).

Dr Franz Fuerst of the Department of Land Economy in 2013 conducted a study for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which confirmed a link between a home’s energy efficiency and its sale price. This means that in addition to lowering energy bills improvements, such as wall insulation, double glazing or efficient boilers, it can also help to achieve a higher resale value compared to similar properties which are less efficient.

Knowing the facts pre purchase is key to ensuring your money is well invested, family well housed and avoids costly repairs!

Get in touch with our Surveying team now if you’d like to discuss how they can be of assistance to you.