Should You Buy a House with Structural Movement?

House model concept in hand


Buying a house is a significant investment and a decision that warrants careful consideration. One of the concerns that might arise during the home-buying process is the presence of structural movement in a property. Structural movement refers to the shifting, settling, or subsidence of a building’s structure, potentially affecting its stability and integrity. The question then arises: Should you proceed with purchasing a house that exhibits signs of structural movement? Let’s delve into this complex topic to explore the considerations involved.

Understanding Structural Movement

Structural movement encompasses various issues that can affect a property, including:


This occurs when the ground beneath the building sinks or settles, causing the structure to shift or sink unevenly.

Foundation Issues

Issues with a property’s foundation, such as cracks or movements, can compromise its stability.

Shifting or Cracking Walls

Visible cracks in walls, ceilings, or floors might indicate structural movement.

Assessing the Severity

Professional Inspection

Obtaining a professional structural survey or inspection is crucial when dealing with potential structural issues. A qualified structural engineer or surveyor can assess the severity of the movement and its implications.

Cosmetic vs. Structural Cracks

Not all cracks in a house indicate severe structural problems. Some cracks might be superficial and caused by temperature changes or settlement over time.

Factors to Consider

Cost of Repairs

Understanding the potential cost of rectifying structural issues is essential. Minor repairs might be manageable, but significant structural work can incur substantial expenses.

Insurance and Lending

Structural issues can affect insurance coverage and mortgage approval. Some insurers may be hesitant to provide coverage, and lenders might require repairs before approving a mortgage.

Resale Value

Properties with a history of structural movement might face challenges in the resale market. Future buyers might be wary, impacting the property’s resale value.

When to Proceed

Minor or Historical Movement

Properties with minor or historical movement that have been adequately addressed and stabilised might still be viable purchases, especially if repairs have been certified by professionals.

Expert Advice and Negotiation

Obtaining expert advice and negotiating terms can be crucial. You may consider negotiating a lower price to accommodate potential repair costs.

When to Exercise Caution

Severe or Ongoing Movement

Properties exhibiting severe or ongoing structural movement might pose significant risks. Instances where movement continues after repair attempts warrant extreme caution.

Lack of Disclosure

If a seller fails to disclose known structural issues, it raises red flags. Transparency is crucial in property transactions.

Mitigating Risks

Obtain Legal Advice

Seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities as a buyer, especially concerning disclosures and potential liabilities.

Consider a Structural Warranty

Some properties might come with a structural warranty, offering protection against certain structural defects for a specified period. This can provide peace of mind to buyers.

Get in touch with a Real Estate Professional

Seek advice from a seasoned real estate agent here at Michael Anthony Estate Agents. We can help navigate a labyrinth of legalities, documentation, and procedures.


Buying a house with structural movement is a decision that requires careful evaluation of various factors. While minor or adequately repaired issues might not necessarily deter a purchase, severe or ongoing structural problems can pose significant risks and financial burdens.

It’s imperative to conduct thorough inspections, seek expert opinions, and weigh the potential costs and implications before making a decision. Transparency, due diligence, and professional guidance play pivotal roles in navigating such situations. Ultimately, whether to proceed with purchasing a house exhibiting structural movement depends on the severity of the issues, the willingness to undertake repairs, and the ability to manage associated risks.

For personalised guidance on selling your property in the UK, consider consulting with Michael Anthony Estate Agents who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances.