Whenever you’re ready to sell your house, it’s vital to be upfront with buyers about every aspect of the property, positive and negative, in order to avoid potential future liability for not revealing anything – the presence of Japanese knotweed is a significant factor you must disclose.

Officially designated as an invasive species in several countries, Japanese knotweed in the United Kingdom is an unwanted weed that can quickly settle and spread. The roots of the weed can grow quickly, and in extreme circumstances they can move through tarmac and concrete, posing a threat to the foundations of your house.

But the good news is that even though the presence of Japanese knotweed in your garden is an issue to deal with when selling, it’s not an insurmountable problem. The weed can be treated, and there are several options available for how you decide to sell your property.

What is Japanese knotweed?

With a Latin biological name of Reynoutria japonica, this weed earned its commonplace name of Japanese knotweed because it is native to Japan and other East Asian countries. But it’s not natural to the United Kingdom and that’s why it’s considered an invasive species.

At first glance you might think Japanese knotweed is bamboo, because it has similar long and thin stems that have unique ridges, but the two are not connected. Japanese knotweed instead is a weed that thrives in the relatively mild weather conditions here, and its ability to spread so quickly and widely can be a headache for homeowners.

If you think you might have the weed on your property, there are a number of visual features that can help to confirm it, including: thin and hollow stems like bamboo, fleshy shoots that are red in colour as they emerge from the ground, oversized green leaves in the shape of spades or hearts, and a pattern along the stem of the leaves that zig-zags.

How can I treat Japanese knotweed?

If you suspect based on the identifying factors that you have the weed on your land, it’s important not to disturb it because this risks triggering it to spread further.

Instead, should you think you have Japanese knotweed on your property, call a licensed specialist to have them come and review the situation. If they confirm that the weed is present on your property, then you will have to think about your next steps before selling and often this can mean paying for treatment before listing your house.

Should you decide to get rid of the weed then you’ll have to hire a professional certified contractor to remove the weed and treat the soil to prevent against its occurrence. The process typically involves using chemicals that are used to stop the weed coming back.

Can I sell my house if it has Japanese knotweed?

Yes. Thankfully you have a few options available to you for selling, even if you have Japanese knotweed on your property and the problem is widespread. You’re required by law to disclose the weed’s presence when selling, and that’s true whichever option you pick to sell the house.

As mentioned above, one option is to pay for treatment and wait for that process to complete before listing your house for sale. This is a valid option for those homeowners who are not looking for a quick sale of their house and who have the funds available to pay for treatment. However, if you either don’t wish to pay for comprehensive treatment or need to sell your house quickly, then you’ll have to consider a number of other options.

Auctioning is another way to sell, allowing for a set date for selling and a minimum auction price that you would be willing to accept. You can leave the weed untreated as long as you fully disclose it in the auction listing. Auction Link is a company that specialises in assiting you sell your property at auction and worth speaking to if you are considering auctioning your home.

A third way to sell a house that has Japanese knotweed is by working with a quick property buying firm such as LDN Properties. This company, founded in 2003, is an example of a business that works directly with homeowners to buy residential properties. They’re used to buying houses with issues such as Japanese knotweed, and might buy even if you don’t treat the weed. Selling this way can be a way to avoid paying estate agent or auctioneer fees. And it can typically ensure a speedy sale through a cash offer that’s competitive with selling by other means.

Whichever option you choose for selling your house, rest assured that the presence of Japanese knotweed will not be an insurmountable hurdle to selling.

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Daniel Peacock.

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