Home Reports and Japanese Knotweed

Before putting your property on the market most sellers in Scotland will need to commission a Home Report

The survey will very occasionally refer to the need for further investigation into the presence of Japanese Knotweed. The bad news is that the knotweed might not even be in your own garden. It may just be growing nearby.

Unfortunately Japanese knotweed is very invasive and can cause structural damage to properties so surveyors may add the comment to highlight their concern. As buyers tend to take such comments in a home report seriously it can put potential buyers off from making an offer or it may cause them to put in a considerably lower bid for your property.

Hastings can refer you to experts that you can rely on for their opinion and recommendations.

It’s why we say that it’s never too early to call us and it’s part of the service that we provide that goes beyond the ‘box standard’.

As a seller, if this situation arises you need to clarify if there actually is a problem or not. If there is you will want to take action to deal with the invasion and there are experts in Japanese Knotweed who can do this for you. If there is not a problem you will want to get a clean report and have such adverse comments excluded from the Home Report.

Calling in the experts at the start can avoid wasting resources on surveys and marketing.

If you think there may be a problem on your property or nearby it is best to take advice on what can be done to eradicate the pest and help avoid a lost sale. There is no point ignoring the problem and putting a house on the market as the survey or Home Report will almost certainly flag up the issue which in turn could chase potential buyers away and blight the sale. Right Move have this to say; “Issues arise because the Home buyer’s survey tends to be carried out right at the end of the sale process, so any delay seems amplified.” If you think there may be a problem let us know at the start of the selling process and we can advise which steps to take to resolve the problem.

About Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed has been described as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”.  If it is present at the property or in the surrounding land it can have a drastic effect on sales so buyers and sellers in a knotweed affected area should take professional advice and consider their options. The presence of knotweed on a property does not need to be a deal breaker but you do need to be prepared and identify whether knotweed is present on the property or on adjoining property or land.

WHY CAN JAPANESE KNOTWEED BE A PROBLEM?

Japanese Knotweed is a devil in disguise as it is quite an attractive looking plant but it has the potential to affect the structural integrity of a building if left untreated.

It can grow at a  rate of 10cm per day and reach 3 metres in height and this exponential growth is not limited to its canes and leaves. Japanese knotweed roots can stretch up to seven metres in any direction, and it is this unrelenting growth of the root system which allows it to squeeze into the tiniest holes and gaps in masonry and concrete.

!!! Due to the potential damage this growth can cause, some banks and building societies have refused to provide mortgages on properties affected by the plant unless a professional treatment programme is in place!!!
HOW TO RECOGNISE JAPANESE KNOTWEED IN SPRING

The first signs of growth of Japanese Knotweed are normally seen in March, taking the form of pink and red buds shooting up from the ground. The initial growth of Japanese Knotweed in Spring looks a bit like large asparagus spears that will grow rapidly into thick and hollow canes, similar to bamboo but with a distinctive pattern of purple speckles. As Spring goes on, leaves will begin to unroll from these canes as the plant grows bigger, turning green in colour. The leaves will be shaped similar to a heart with a pointy end and will contain a zig zag pattern on the stems.

I THINK I HAVE JAPANESE KNOTWEED. WHAT NOW?

Properties can lose significant value due to Knotweed, but it does not have to be a sale ending disaster.

If you suspect you have Japanese Knotweed on or near your property, then the best course of action is to have the suspected plant examined by an expert surveyor so an appropriate treatment programme can be put into place.

Right Move also say; “Whatever you do, please leave the Japanese knotweed alone, the worst situation we encounter is bodged treatment work and can delay the treatment. Also,  be prepared to leave the knotweed alone throughout the treatment programme, there is a lot that can be done to accommodate normal use of a garden but if the new occupier disturbs/digs/treats/paves over the knotweed and the programme can’t be completed then the warranty will be invalid.”

Contact Hastings Legal when you are thinking of putting your property on the market for a pre-sale valuation and appraisal, including advice if you have concerns about Japanese knotweed.

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.”Doug Larson
If you are buying in Scotland you will need a Scottish Solicitor.

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