Selling a property with suspected WWII bomb damage

Categories Selling

 

We all know that the quirky traits of a house can be described as ‘giving it character’ and that some people actively seek to find a home that has them, as they tell a story from the past.  Your home may have off-kilter window sills and door frames, or small cracks in walls in the back bedroom which you’ve simply come to love and accept as part of its charm.

When it comes to selling it can be a real fear that these quirks could negatively impact the sale of your property. Yet this need not be the case.

We’re all familiar with the stories from the Second World War and the scars it left on the country, particularly as the result of heavy bombing.  Today there are many tools at the disposal of estate agents which are designed to ensure a smooth and successful sale of a property and all good estate agents will be actively using them on a daily basis.

A WWII Bomb Map and a Seller Survey can specifically help to answer any worries or questions from vendors and potential buyers about the physical state of a property, how any damage could have been caused and whether or not there are any future risks that should be of concern.

It’s late Friday on a hot August afternoon in 1940…

People’s thoughts are drifting towards their plans for the weekend, when suddenly the silence is shattered by the unmistakable sound of air raid sirens and the increasing drone of fully laden Luftwaffe bombers approaching New Malden.

Pictures of WWII bomb damage in Park View and Hillbrow, New Malden – Image Source: www.maldenblitz.co.uk

As people rush to the safety of nearby air raid shelters, the bomb doors open and their ordnance begin to fall onto the town. The devastation from the attack is instant, causing mass destruction to homes and buildings and resulting in huge loss of life.

This was one of the first daylight bombing raids that London and the surrounding towns and villages would experience, and like many others, New Malden would never be the same again.

Nearly 80 years on, whilst there are very few people alive today who will recall first-hand the raids, you can still see the scars left from these devastating attacks.

Post-war, brand new homes were built on the bomb sites and those less seriously damaged were repaired, but from time to time when selling homes today, a buyer can understandably show concern over distortions to door and window frames and external brickwork that has been caused by historic movement.

This is when a WWII Bomb Map and a Seller Survey become essential tools for an estate agent tasked with achieving the best price for owners when it comes to selling.

How can I find out if a WWII bomb landed near my property?

In September 1940 the Government started to collect and collate information relating to damage sustained during bombing raids. This was known as the ‘bomb census’. Initially, only information relating to London, Birmingham and Liverpool was collated, but by September 1941 the bomb census had been extended to cover the rest of the UK.

The data collected continues to prove invaluable to this day. If potential buyers or overzealous surveyors show concern over distortions to a property, both a Bomb Map and a Seller Survey can prove that the blast from a bomb that fell nearby is the most likely cause of the property’s historic movement and as a result will not pose any potential risks and should not be a concern to future buyers.

If you are interested in exploring the mapping of bombs that fell during the WWII bomb census, you can visit www.bombsight.org

WWII Bomb Map – Image Source: www.bombsight.org

How Can A ‘Seller Survey’ Help To Sell My Property?

A Seller Survey gives buyers security and peace of mind – knowing any defects before the purchase makes sure buyers won’t come across unexpected repairs that could absorb both time and money, or lead to disappointment that the new home doesn’t meet expectations.

As a seller, this transparent communication of information will make sure your property stands out in the marketplace as a safe purchase and should improve interest from serious buyers.

The Seller Survey is fully assignable upon exchange of contracts to the buyer. As a seller this will make your property more attractive to buyers as it saves them money having to commission a survey themselves. Whilst as a buyer, you benefit from the surveyor being liable to the same extent had the survey been commissioned by you, protecting you from any defects found outside of the survey report.

Full disclosure of condition will mean both the buyer and seller know exactly where they stand from the outset. The condition of the property can be factored into the asking price and any offer, as well as meaning that the relationship between the buyer and the seller is open and transparent from the outset.

Seller Surveys reduce the risk of a renegotiation or a fall-through resulting from last minute survey issues – improving the experience of moving home for both parties.

 

Case Study:

A recent example of where a WWII Bomb Map and Seller Survey have helped successfully sell a property

Our Godalming branch was asked to value two separate properties for a couple who both owned their own individual homes, but wanted to sell up and move into one larger property together.

Pictured Left: Semi-detached property in Milford / Pictured Right: Victorian semi-detached property in Godalming

The first house valued was a 3 double bedroom semi-detached home in Milford and was relatively straight forward as the vendor was satisfied with our marketing strategy and the price quoted.

The second home, a 3 bedroom Victorian semi-detached property in Godalming had suffered some historic movement.  The suspected cause was a WWII  bomb which had struck the end of the garden causing a number of houses on the road to jolt, with some floors and ceilings appearing off centre.

However, the movement that occurred had not continued and had been monitored since with no further problem.  Despite this historical movement posing no risk, the vendor of the Godalming property was certain that potential buyers would be concerned by the odd shapes and edges in the home when viewing, so understandably asked for some guidance from us as their estate agent, before bringing the property to the market.

We advised our client to obtain a Seller Survey which, as detailed previously, provided documentation on the current status of the property.

As expected, it confirmed that the movement was historic and was not an area of concern.

Following the Seller Survey, both clients were now happy with the advice and the suggested marketing proposals we had put forward to them for each property and instructed us to sell both houses.

When we started showing interested buyers around the Godalming property (which showed signs of historical movement), we were able to provide evidence to potential buyers with the Seller Survey readily available, that there was no risk should they wish to purchase the property. This proved invaluable in ensuring a successful sale, preventing lower offers being made and thus enabling us to secure a good price for our client.

With the additional support from the Seller Survey, our Godalming branch was able to successfully sell both houses in a similar time frame, enabling our clients to progress forward with moving into their dream home together.

If you would like to know more about Seller Surveys and how it could help you sell your home, please visit www.curchods.com or www.burnsandwebber.com. Alternatively call your local office where our expert staff will be able to put you in touch with independent chartered surveyors, Spencer Bray Surveyors who will carry out the survey and will talk you through any issues found in the survey.

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