What’s it worth?

The current system for valuing properties with Japanese knotweed is unfair, inaccurate and it’s causing headaches for homeowners, so we’ve teamed up with our friends at Expert Surveyors to come up with a new tool to tackle the problem.  

Imagine you decide to sell you property. You find a buyer, accept their offer and their mortgage lender commissions a valuation survey. There isn’t Japanese knotweed in your garden, but the surveyor notices some growing near the boundary, on your neighbour’s land. Because the infestation is within 7 metres of your property, they value it at £0 for mortgage purposes. 
What can you do? Well, you can ask your neighbour to kindly tackle the problem, but it isn’t actually illegal to have Japanese knotweed and so they are under no obligation to do so until it actually encroaches onto your property. Through no fault of your own, your home is effectively unmortgageable.
It’s clear to see that the ‘7 metre rule’ doesn’t really work and a more nuanced approach is needed. Of course, the property is not worthless, all that is required is a treatment plan with an insurance backed guarantee and a sensible readjustment of the price. Properties affected by knotweed are typically worth around 10% less than an unaffected property, which reflects the cost of treatment plus the so-called ‘knotweed stigma’ which will deter some buyers, even if the knotweed is removed.
We know there is a better way of tackling this problem, so we’ve developed a new free online tool, JK-VIM, which enables surveyors and homeowners to check how much the value of a property could be reduced if it is affected by knotweed. It also offers revised valuations if a property is treated by herbicide or excavation with the benefit of a ten-year insurance-backed guarantee for the works.
If you’re selling a property affected by a Japanese knotweed, it is a useful tool for deciding the best course of treatment which will help you maximise the property’s value, and if you’re buying an affected property, it will prove handy in price negotiations. For surveyors, it’s the first algorithm that values a property based on the unique facts of the case, such as the size of the infestation and the distance to the nearest boundary. 
Chartered Surveyor Paul Raine, Director of Expert Surveyors Ltd, said: “Lending practices for properties affected by knotweed need urgent review. All that’s required to sell in such cases is a treatment plan and a sensible readjustment of the price. With Japanese knotweed now affecting an estimated 4-5% of homes, JK-VIM is an essential new tool in our armoury.”
To use JK-VIM, please visit: https://environetuk.com/Japanese-knotweed-house-price-calculator

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