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No underpinning done on house

  • 30-07-2019 4:50pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    A month ago my fiancée and I went sale agreed on a house in an area which would have a bit of a reputation for subsidence. We would have been much more wary because of that but the first thing the auctioneer told us was that it had been underpinned.

    After a month of back and forth with the vendor's side being reluctant to provide certificates for the underpinning so we could get it surveyed, we've just been told that they were mistaken and it had never been done. He said he drains had been done (which I believe as there is fresh concrete around them) and he got confused. :rolleyes:

    The intent of the auctioneer aside, we're wondering is it worth going ahead anyway. We love the house which is in a fantastic area, and have probably got too emotionally attached for our own good. The house I think is 1940s era, there are a few cracks around door frames on interior walls (outside is perfect and it definitely hasn't been patched) which our engineer agrees could be normal settling, but he hasn't seen it yet. He thinks it's probably worth getting a report done anyway. He came highly recommended by several people independently, and TBH I don't mind spending €500 if the alternative is going back to square one, reapplying for a mortgage as ours is expiring soon enough, taking time out of work to go view properties, and getting into more bidding wars. We managed to go sale agreed at what I think was a reasonable price for the area, with not a huge amount of work to do to the house on the face of it. Any other house we were bidding on went for crazy money, I think we got lucky there.

    I think the area is insurable as I was able to get an online quote off at least one provider, so it's not like the area is blacklisted.

    What do people think? Am I mad to continue knowing what I know now?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,842 ✭✭✭ T-Maxx


    Built in the 40s - why are you concerned about underpinning at this stage?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    T-Maxx wrote: »
    Built in the 40s - why are you concerned about underpinning at this stage?
    That's a guess tbh, don't have a clue really but it's not on the 25" map in GeoHive so 1913 at the earliest. I've seen a few houses on the same road have foundational works done and anyone I've told the address to asks has it been underpinned, maybe it's me being paranoid? Turners Cross in Cork by the way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 734 ✭✭✭ Dolbhad


    It’s a gamble if you can’t get insurance for subsidence. I would at least see if drains testing will shed any light on if it’s okay at the moment. You have to ask yourself if it’s needs underpinning in the future and you’ve to stump up the cost, can you afford it. Because that’s the gamble


  • Moderators Posts: 12,065 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    We bought in a subsidence area in Cork, though ours was underpinned (built in the 40s too). Googled a lot a few years back to get an idea what underpinning might cost. Came to the conclusion it'd be about 30k. As for the house ye are after, is it good value without underpinning? Did everyone bid based on it being underpinned? You're probably paying over the price if that's the case.

    FYI, we found most insurers just wouldn't quote in subsidence areas, underpinning or not. Ombg got us a quote though, and very competitive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    Dolbhad wrote: »
    It’s a gamble if you can’t get insurance for subsidence. I would at least see if drains testing will shed any light on if it’s okay at the moment. You have to ask yourself if it’s needs underpinning in the future and you’ve to stump up the cost, can you afford it. Because that’s the gamble
    Well there's no fear of ever having to foot the bill myself as I don't think the bank will hand over the cash if we can't get subsidence insurance. But that's a good point I better confirm it is insurable before going ahead. If the drains are new is it likely a test would show up anything?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    We bought in a subsidence area in Cork, though ours was underpinned (built in the 40s too). Googled a lot a few years back to get an idea what underpinning might cost. Came to the conclusion it'd be about 30k. As for the house ye are after, is it good value without underpinning? Did everyone bid based on it being underpinned? You're probably paying over the price if that's the case.

    FYI, we found most insurers just wouldn't quote in subsidence areas, underpinning or not. Ombg got us a quote though, and very competitive.
    Thanks for the reply. We managed to get it for only a few k above asking, which I think was reasonable itself considering what other properties in the area of a similar size, state, and description went for, but definitely the belief it was all sorted made it much easier for us to reach that price as we were wary off the area. My worry is they'll go back to the underbidder if I kick up a fuss, would I be justified in reducing the offer you think? I was seeing similar numbers for the work, 20-30k.

    I wonder would their existing insurance cover it if I threatened to pull out, that's happened a few other places we were looking at.

    Thanks for the tip, I heard MIG are good two so I'll give both of them a call and ask about subsidence cover specifically. I did get a quote from KBC online but none of the go to companies would quote.


  • Moderators Posts: 12,065 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    TheChizler wrote: »
    Well there's no fear of ever having to foot the bill myself as I don't think the bank will hand over the cash if we can't get subsidence insurance. But that's a good point I better confirm it is insurable before going ahead. If the drains are new is it likely a test would show up anything?

    Don't think the bank dig too much into the insurance cover, so you likely wouldn't need subsidence cover. That said, turner's cross... I'd definitely want it underpinned. I've seen old houses in that area with clearly visible subsidence. Same story for ballinlough, and most of South city Cork


  • Moderators Posts: 12,065 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    TheChizler wrote: »
    Thanks for the reply. We managed to get it for only a few k above asking, which I think was reasonable itself considering what other properties in the area of a similar size, state, and description went for, but definitely the belief it was all sorted made it much easier for us to reach that price as we were wary off the area. My worry is they'll go back to the underbidder if I kick up a fuss, would I be justified in reducing the offer you think? I was seeing similar numbers for the work, 20-30k.

    I wonder would their existing insurance cover it if I threatened to pull out, that's happened a few other places we were looking at.

    Thanks for the tip, I heard MIG are good two so I'll give both of them a call and ask about subsidence cover specifically.

    Easy for me to say go back and offer much less, but you're emotionally involved. Need to use your head and not your heart at the mo.

    Underpinning is best done asap. The mess it will create isn't something you want after you've moved in with furniture etc.

    We, like you, were waiting for the underpinning cert, and it was taking a while to be found. We told our solicitor the deal was off of there's no underpinning cert. Lucky for us it was found.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,617 ✭✭✭ chicorytip


    Nothing to worry about I would say. If there is significant subsidence you will always have major jagged cracks running from ground to attic level as well as doors and windows not opening and closing properly. These are the two classic symptoms which must be present otherwise it's just natural settlement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 356 ✭✭ theboringfox


    I bought in Ballinlough. House was not underpinned but was declared upfront. Most awkward thing is insurance. Make sure you can get it. We paid to have drain replaced and underpinning done. Got it costed before we closed. If drains have been replaced it may well be no underpinning is needed. Easiest test if they allow it is the ground test. They can check if underpinning needed. If drains were replaced it means they were cracked and you had water running underground. Need to see if ground is still solid around house. It may be. You can have houses nearby each other and one will need underpinning and others will not.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    Easy for me to say go back and offer much less, but you're emotionally involved. Need to use your head and not your heart at the mo.

    Underpinning is best done asap. The mess it will create isn't something you want after you've moved in with furniture etc.

    We, like you, were waiting for the underpinning cert, and it was taking a while to be found. We told our solicitor the deal was off of there's no underpinning cert. Lucky for us it was found.
    I wish the cert existed so I could still play that card!

    I'm feeling a bit better about it now, rang around and nobody will provide subsidence insurance in Cork at all unless you can prove underpinning has been done, so we're going to have this problem on any other house we find basically.

    We'll do the survey and see what the condition is. The pipes have been replaced so the most likely cause of subsidence is hopefully eliminate for a good few years. That said was there a problem that made them do that work in the first place?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    chicorytip wrote: »
    Nothing to worry about I would say. If there is significant subsidence you will always have major jagged cracks running from ground to attic level as well as doors and windows not opening and closing properly. These are the two classic symptoms which must be present otherwise it's just natural settlement.
    All cracks were minor so fingers crossed. That said I'll have our expert give his opinion...


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    I bought in Ballinlough. House was not underpinned but was declared upfront. Most awkward thing is insurance. Make sure you can get it. We paid to have drain replaced and underpinning done. Got it costed before we closed. If drains have been replaced it may well be no underpinning is needed. Easiest test if they allow it is the ground test. They can check if underpinning needed. If drains were replaced it means they were cracked and you had water running underground. Need to see if ground is still solid around house. It may be. You can have houses nearby each other and one will need underpinning and others will not.
    Ouch, at least you knew what you were getting into from the off. Even if they knocked 30k off the sale price we couldn't afford to do those kind of works up front unfortunately, budget will only cover an interior renovation plus modest contingency, maybe a few years down the line.

    Can they do any of those thorough tests without digging? There's plenty of tarmac and concrete around the house so I doubt they'll let us do any ground tests.

    Auctioneer insisted they checked all the foundations when they did the drains but I'm not prepared to go ahead without proof.


  • Moderators Posts: 12,065 ✭✭✭✭ Black_Knight


    TheChizler wrote: »
    Ouch, at least you knew what you were getting into from the off. Even if they knocked 30k off the sale price we couldn't afford to do those kind of works up front unfortunately, budget will only cover an interior renovation plus modest contingency, maybe a few years down the line.

    Can they do any of those thorough tests without digging? There's plenty of tarmac and concrete around the house so I doubt they'll let us do any ground tests.

    Auctioneer insisted they checked all the foundations when they did the drains but I'm not prepared to go ahead without proof.

    Never trust an auctioneer. That should be apparent enough now


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,678 ✭✭✭ confusticated


    Don't think the bank dig too much into the insurance cover, so you likely wouldn't need subsidence cover. That said, turner's cross... I'd definitely want it underpinned. I've seen old houses in that area with clearly visible subsidence. Same story for ballinlough, and most of South city Cork

    If you only have approval with KBC, it might be worth looking at other banks. McCarthy's got us a quote which covered subsidence with a massive excess until it was underpinned, which wouldn't have been much help financially but it ticked the box for the bank, that might do for you.
    It turned out that ours was underpinned so we then had massive hassle getting a quote to cover underpinning since it had already been done, but KBC wouldn't let us draw down the mortgage without insurance covering subsidence. Bit ridiculous since their in-house insurance wouldn't cover us for subsidence as deemed it unnecessary, but their mortgage department wouldn't budge. Other banks didn't seem to be as awkward from what I heard. Best of luck.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    If you only have approval with KBC, it might be worth looking at other banks. McCarthy's got us a quote which covered subsidence with a massive excess until it was underpinned, which wouldn't have been much help financially but it ticked the box for the bank, that might do for you.
    It turned out that ours was underpinned so we then had massive hassle getting a quote to cover underpinning since it had already been done, but KBC wouldn't let us draw down the mortgage without insurance covering subsidence. Bit ridiculous since their in-house insurance wouldn't cover us for subsidence as deemed it unnecessary, but their mortgage department wouldn't budge. Other banks didn't seem to be as awkward from what I heard. Best of luck.
    Cheers!
    I've heard KBC can be awkward about it all right, our broker breathed an audible sigh of relief when we initially told him it was underpinned, better break the news gently! We also had AIP with Ulster, which expired yesterday, but should have no problem apart from a bit of printing with renewing it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,465 ✭✭✭ theteal


    We went sale agreed on house not 200m from where we live now - 80's build, underpinned within first few years iirc. Underpinning was only revealed after price agreed. Being clueless FTBs we didn't think much of it, EA even said something along the lines of "it's better that it's done, it'll never pop up to surprise you again".

    We continued, searches and surveys all done and then received contract. About this time, I started looking into insurance and it quickly started to become clear that this underpinning wasn't as insignificant as I had been led to believe. I noted it was a question on every online form I completed. Some companies didn't mind as it was done over 25 years ago but some wouldn't quote. I had a chat with our solicitor and he shared my concern - even though they had some indemnity in the contract. Anyway we (solicitor and I) agreed that we'd request that they have a full structural survey done before we'd sign the contract. The response came back a few hours later, the sellers were "reluctant to pay for a full structural survey". My response was quite brief i.e. "In that case I'm reluctant to buy the house so" and we pulled out.

    If they weren't going to pay a few quid for survey, they really weren't going to be happy when I lowered my bid (again, underpinning only declared after sale agreed). The wife kept harping on about, "but we have insurance, here's the details" - some specialist insurance firm. They were trying to make 100k profit in the two years they owned and then flog it off on us - Brexit slowdown already in full effect. Funk that.

    Anyway, we got a semi with an additional bedroom for £7k more a few weeks later. It was a bitter pill to swallow wasting about £2k having to pull out but I'm so glad as our current house is soooo much better.

    We were in town only the other week and MrsTeal was wondering why some strange woman was shooting daggers at her. It was only when we got back to the car that she realised/remembered who she was. Feck them, trying to pawn their misguided purchase onto us for a massive profit.



    Anyway OP, get your survey done and sit down and have a good think about it. Don't try to get emotionally attached and most importantly DO NOT STOP LOOKING AT OTHER HOUSES


  • Registered Users Posts: 356 ✭✭ theboringfox


    TheChizler wrote: »
    Ouch, at least you knew what you were getting into from the off. Even if they knocked 30k off the sale price we couldn't afford to do those kind of works up front unfortunately, budget will only cover an interior renovation plus modest contingency, maybe a few years down the line.

    Can they do any of those thorough tests without digging? There's plenty of tarmac and concrete around the house so I doubt they'll let us do any ground tests.

    Auctioneer insisted they checked all the foundations when they did the drains but I'm not prepared to go ahead without proof.

    To be honest it is three years later now and I still am not convinced I made right call. Underpinning and drains replacement for me was 15k.

    Just remember no underpinning may be needed. To be honest vendor should be able to prove it. We had our works certified by separate engineer firm. If they did not do it that way then I would be concerned.

    PS best survey I paid for was on electrics. Had been Modernised and rewired but survey showed it was all done badly and needed a few k to fix. Effectively need to be rewired. Took a few k off price for that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    Just to follow up we had the survey done and it's all looking pretty positive. House is even older than than we thought, 1933, but our engineer reckons it's in very good condition. Any cracks are characteristic of standard settlement or the join between the house and extension. No major surprises. Drains are all plastic and no sign of any soil inconsistencies so I'm breathing a massive sigh of relief. Only challenge now is getting insurance, but we've heard the bank are prepared to underwrite without specifying cover level so no problem there!

    The only issue is if sorting happens in future and we might have to cough up then, but reading comments in this thread that seems to be a fact of life in Cork... As long as it's not in the immediate term that hopefully won't be a problem.

    Thanks for all the responses!


  • Registered Users Posts: 734 ✭✭✭ Dolbhad


    TheChizler wrote: »
    Just to follow up we had the survey done and it's all looking pretty positive. House is even older than than we thought, 1933, but our engineer reckons it's in very good condition. Any cracks are characteristic of standard settlement or the join between the house and extension. No major surprises. Drains are all plastic and no sign of any soil inconsistencies so I'm breathing a massive sigh of relief. Only challenge now is getting insurance, but we've heard the bank are prepared to underwrite without specifying cover level so no problem there!

    The only issue is if sorting happens in future and we might have to cough up then, but reading comments in this thread that seems to be a fact of life in Cork... As long as it's not in the immediate term that hopefully won't be a problem.

    Thanks for all the responses!

    I think all the bank requires is standard house insurance, I don’t think it has to cover subsidence to draw down the mortgage. But as you said, it would mean without cover, you’ve to cough up in future. Or you may get cover but it could cost a lot of money. I’d family in Ballincollig who’s house was in an estate with history of subsidence so had to pay 1k a year house insurance but the subsidence was covered. So that could be an option if it’s never been underpinned before.

    Great news drains testing turned out well. Seems to be a big issue in Cork at the moment. We are looking at second hand houses and our solicitor and said, if your engineer says it needs drains testing, get it checked out cause it’s the only instant really that a price reduction happens if problems arise with the drains.

    But seems to be a fact of life in some areas of Cork.

    Best of luck!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 640 ✭✭✭ Jay Dee


    Hi,

    Looking at a house in Friars Walk area.
    Needs underpinning, just curious as to what to expect a quote to be ?

    Thanks

    Jay


  • Registered Users Posts: 1 mgtkelly


    Hi Chizler,

    I hope ye are well settled in the house now and no further issues. I am bidding on a Turners Cross house at the moment. Can I ask you to please share the name of your surveyor? It would be good to get a recommendation and get someone pragmatic and used to the area/type of house.

    Many thanks,

    M



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    Well settled now, no surprises yet, trying to get some work done to it which is difficult in the current building supply shortage.


    I sent you a private message there.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,633 ✭✭✭ Danger781


    We're going through the same problem. Buying outskirts of Cork City. Bank (KBC) are insisting on Subsidence cover. We're having serious trouble getting quotes as there is no certificate of completion available for the subsidence. It was issued to deceased home owner and current vendor can't locate it.


    What bank did you go with in the end? I see mentions of KBC above but they have insisted on cover in my case. Not backing down.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    It was Ulster Bank but if I recall correctly we got cover with MIG



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,002 ✭✭✭ TheChizler


    Just got our renewal letter and subsidence is explicitly excluded, so not entirely sure what the story would be with the bank there...



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