A property with Japanese knotweed on the land can make for a difficult sale. Buyers would much prefer to buy a knotweed-free property because it is one less thing for them to worry about. This is where you as the seller need to make the most out of the situation, in order to make your property attractive to potential buyers. If you can provide the prospective with all the information they need, it will help to ensure that the knotweed issue isn't blown out of proportion. Environet can guide you through the whole process. We have helped hundreds of clients sell their properties. Here is our list of dos and don'ts.
1. Don't stick your head in the sand! Concealment or hoping that nobody will notice the knotweed is no way to go about pushing the sale of your house through. Firstly, RICS chartered surveyors are trained to spot knotweed, and are obliged to report its presence either on your property or within 7m of your boundary. Secondly, you are actually breaking the law. The Law Society's TA6 form has a specific question relating to Japanese knotweed and if answered untruthfully during the conveyancing process a legal claim of misrepresentation could be brought against you by the buyer down the line.
2. Do it the right way the first time. You should look to commission a reputable Japanese knotweed removal firm to remove the knotweed and provide suitable guarantees. Don't fall into the trap of applying home remedies to Japanese knotweed - any DIY attempts will not be supported by banks. These inappropriate treatments can actually induce rhizome dormancy and make any subsequent treatment more difficult and costly. This may make it harder to obtain an insurance backed guarantee, which will be required by any non-cash buyer.
3. Get an expert on board you can trust. You should instruct a Japanese knotweed removal firm to carry out a full site survey, producing a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan. This will assess and report on:
- The full extent of the knotweed including its rhizome system
- The likely source or origin of the knotweed
- The location in relation to knotweed encroachment issues
- Whether building damage has been caused by knotweed
- Site specific conditions that might influence the treatment methodology
- Full quotation detailing the chosen removal method
At Environet, we have Japanese knotweed removal methods suitable for all jobs, so don't panic if it is a small garden with no access for machinery. Once you have received the report, you will have all the information required to make a clear, knowledgeable decision on whether you want to engage a firm to remove the knotweed or reduce the price of your property and leave the buyer to deal with the issue. For a quick sale, this option is only practical for a cash buyer.
4. Choose the right method and secure the right guarantees. When you are selling your property, you need to consider the requirements of any potential purchaser. It is tempting to choose the cheapest option and hope for the best - after all, you will not see the benefit of the money spent as you won't own the property! But we think you'll agree that this is short sighted - after all, you don't want to find yourself unable to sell the property. Firstly you need to ensure that any work you instruct comes with a decent insurance backed guarantee that will be fully transferable to the new owner and accepted by all of the major lenders. Then you need to think about the method of removal. A buyer is likely to be less inclined to make you an offer if they can't use the garden for 3 years because of an ongoing treatment programme; but you may not have the funds to pay to have the knotweed fully excavated. Take the advice of experts in the industry, and don't be afraid to ask questions before you settle on a solution. You can then rest assured that the knotweed problem is resolved and potential buyers and lenders should find no reason to worry about the knotweed, allowing for a smooth sales transaction.