The Godzilla of garden weeds, Japanese knotweed grows extremely quickly (up to 20cm a day), killing every other plant in its path and fully capable of destroying your driveway (it's strong enough to break through tarmac). And yet, new research suggests that for as many as a third of British home owners, Japanese knotweed is a challenge they're prepared to take on, so long as the house comes with a removal plan, or at a reduced price.
Despite mortgage companies being super wary of this invasive plant, almost a third of adults (32 per cent) would consider buying a home with Japanese knotweed, with 26 per cent of them expecting a discount of between six and 10 per cent. This number is relatively low because the rest are reassured enough by a removal plan and insurance backed guarantee prior to the purchase. The fact is that because there is so much awareness of Japanese knotweed these days, it's become easier and quicker to remove, with many specialist services tackling it.
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Nic Seal, founder and MD of Japanese knotweed specialists Environet (opens in new tab), who conducted the suvey, says, 'With an estimated 5 per cent of all UK properties now affected by Japanese knotweed, either directly or indirectly, it’s encouraging to see home buyers becoming increasingly rational in their approach. If left untreated, Japanese knotweed can cause considerable damage to a property, which is why buyers and lenders are right to insist that there is a professional treatment plan in place before they agree to proceed.
'Due to the stigma around Japanese knotweed, the property value will almost certainly be impacted, but all that’s required is a sensible renegotiation of the price. People are realising it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.'
Chartered Surveyor Paul Raine, director of Expert Surveyors Ltd (opens in new tab), adds, 'The key to selling a property affected by knotweed is a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan from a reputable specialist. Always be honest if the property you’re selling is or has been affected, or it could come back to bite you in the form of litigation from your buyer further down the line.'