Should You Buy a House That Has Been Underpinned?
If you've been searching for a house for some time, you know how exhausting this process can be. Yet it looks like you've finally struck gold, as your latest prospect appears to have everything on your list. With great enthusiasm, you commissioned a surveyor to compile a report, only to find out that this property has been underpinned in the past. Is this a game changer, or can you go ahead with confidence?
Understanding the Issue
You may not be familiar with underpinning, but it's not something that should kill the deal, necessarily. In fact, you could look at it as a positive, as it means that your future home may be stronger than it would otherwise have been. This type of procedure is normally carried out due to subsidence caused by weather conditions or (as is often the case) thirsty tree roots.
Gathering the Detail
To begin with, you should ask the previous owner for full details, so you know what triggered the issue in the first place. If it was indeed caused by tree roots and the tree is still in the area, you need to ask a specialist for their advice. You may have to cut it back considerably so that it doesn't absorb as much moisture from the soil, rather than removing it altogether.
If you're happy with the reasons given for this work, you need to make sure that it was done properly. In other words, was it subsequently passed by local government regulators and performed by an experienced contractor?
If your home has indeed been underpinned by a company like Harman Contracting Pty Ltd, you will have to declare this to your insurance carrier. They may impose additional conditions or may increase the excess on your policy, and if so, you can use this as a bargaining tool when you are negotiating the price.
Eye to the Future
Remember, you may sell this house in the future and will need to persuade the subsequent buyer that they are making a good purchase in light of the work that's been carried out. Consequently, you need to persuade yourself as you're making that decision before you invest right now. So long as the work was done professionally, was fully compliant, and you have all the paperwork to back it up, then this building could be more structurally sound then a neighbouring property.
In the meantime, don't hesitate to bring in an underpinning expert to give you an impartial opinion or to carry out additional work if it is needed.