We’re a nation that loves to discuss property and property prices. With our homes often one of the largest assets we own, as well as the huge rise in property prices seen over the last few decades, it’s not surprising it’s a favourite topic of conversation. Yet, while we’re keen to discuss renovation projects that will add value, it’s important to be aware of how easily your property’s value could fall.

According to the Land Registry’s UK House Price Index, the average home is now worth more than £250,000. Just a decade ago, at the end of 2010, the average price was £168,703. That’s a huge increase and, while there have been some periods of downturns, the general trend has been upwards. And yet some homeowners have faced property nightmares that have knocked tens of thousands of pounds off the value of their home and made it much more difficult to sell.

These seven homeowner nightmares are among the biggest threats to property value, according to Yes Homebuyers.

1. Subsidence

Subsidence occurs when the ground beneath a property begins to sink. It can pull the property’s foundation down with it, causing walls and floors to shift. It can cause cracks to appear on walls and, in serious cases, destabilise the construction of the property.

Subsidence can be caused by several factors, from trees growing near or under the foundations of the property to soil washing away, causing the ground to become less stable. In some cases, property maintenance can prevent or fix subsidence, but, in others, it’s out of the homeowner’s control. If underpinning work is needed, it can be expensive. Trying to sell a home with subsidence issues could reduce the value by 20%.

2. Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a non-native invasive plant that can thrive in both urban and rural areas. It can spread rapidly, and the stems can look like bamboo. It can be incredibly hard to remove, even with the use of chemicals. But it’s not just the aesthetic impact it has on your garden that’s the problem.

In some cases, mortgage lenders will refuse a mortgage to buy a property that has Japanese knotweed growing on the property and building insurance may not cover damage caused by the plant. It can make it incredibly hard to sell a property.

It’s estimated that Japanese knotweed could knock 15% off the value of your home.

3. Living too close to powerlines, mobile phone towers or wind turbines

The interwoven nature of modern life and technology means that powerlines, mobile phone towers and renewable energy sources are a common sight. But most people don’t want to live too close to them. In fact, having these in view of your home could devalue your home by as much as 13%, according to the research from Yes Homebuyers.

4. Living in a known flood-risk area

Living close to rivers, lakes and other sources of water can give your home picturesque views. But if this presents a flood risk, homebuyers can be put off, affecting your home’s value. The risk of flooding will usually be one of the searches a solicitor undertakes for potential buyers, and living in a known flood-risk area could cause sales to fall through or mean you need to renegotiate the price. Living in a known flood-risk area is likely to mean the value of your home falls by 10%.

5. Failing to maintain your garden

When selling your home, it’s often the inside that’s the focus. You may invest in a new kitchen or add a fresh lick of paint to make it more attractive to potential buyers. But the research shows focusing on your garden is just as important. Not maintaining your garden could cost you as much as 8.2%. If you’re thinking of selling, spending some time improving the outdoor spaces of your home could prove valuable.

6. Minor structural issues

While subsidence is one of the largest structural issues and can have a significant impact on value, minor structural problems can also put off buyers. Cracks in walls, uneven flooring and bowed walls are all examples of potentially minor issues that are likely to be raised during surveys. While the cost of fixing these issues will vary, they could reduce property values by around 5%.

7. Nuisance neighbours

How do you rate your neighbours? They could have an impact on the price of your home. When moving to a new property, friendly neighbours are much sought after. If your neighbours are deemed a “nuisance”, however, whether because of noise complaints or something else, you could lose out as they may reduce the value of your home by around 5%.

If you’re hoping to move home and will be taking out a mortgage, please contact us. We’re here to help you find the right deal for you and offer advice throughout the process.