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Can You Sell Your House With A Broken Boiler?

Sep-2020 / 7 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

As you go through the final checks with your Gas Safe registered engineer, you find out your boiler is broken. You are crushed. The central heating system plays such an integral role in every UK home, from the hot water for your tea to the heating during winter, you cannot neglect it. You quickly need to decide what to do next or else you are left with selling a house with a broken boiler. 

It takes an average of 102 days to sell property in the UK, so you don’t have long to consider your options. If you find yourself torn between selling the home as-is or having a new boiler installation, consider all the possibilities discussed below: 

The Short Answer: Yes

If we were to take the question at face-value, then yes, you can sell your house with a broken boiler. There are so many old homes in the UK, in different states of disrepair. There are bound to be buyers who are more interested in the land and location than they would with the house’s features. As long as your property has many other redeeming qualities, a broken boiler will not prevent you from making a sale. However, this scenario is only possible when you are willing to compromise. 

How Can You Sell Your House With A Broken Boiler

When you choose to sell your house as-is, you have to be very deliberate with your marketing or else you won’t get to sell it at the best price. There are only three types of buyers who wouldn’t mind a broken boiler: flippers, property developers, or generally residents who don’t have a choice.

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Market As A Fixer-Upper

There are many UK residents out there who want to put the blood, sweat, and tears into making the house their own while saving a couple of pounds. As long as your home has good bones in other areas, a faulty boiler shouldn’t be a problem. 

Flippers tend to look at properties with the possibilities in mind. So make sure to highlight assets they can work with in the future. Do you get decent natural light? What kind of water do you get in the area? Is there a garden? Do you have original hardwood floors? While your property information sheet covers all of these things, it will never set the scene the same way you would by sharing your personal experience. 

While a faulty boiler shouldn’t deter the sale, saying you have a broken boiler is like releasing fish blood in shark-infested waters. They will bargain–hard. Even if you try to account for the boiler cost, they will try to bring down the property price to the lowest possible. Announcing a faulty boiler becomes a red flag that signals buyers that there might be other problems, and they have good reason to be worried. 

For example, a common problem with a faulty boiler is carbon monoxide poisoning. If the boiler is damaged, who is to say that the pipes are also in good condition? Your potential buyers may be on their guard. However, with a bit of work, you should be able to make the sale.

Sell To Property Developers

The second option is to sell it to property developers or landlords. They have the time and capital to deal with whatever you throw at them. If they are planning on demolishing your current structure, your old boiler should be a non-issue. 

However, there is a clincher. Property developers are only interested in places that can generate profit, either from a private tenant or commercial rental income. There has to be enough interest in the area before you can set the price. If you do not have the right location or square footage, they may not be interested in your house, and there is little you can do about it. 

Capitalise On The Limited Market

The last route depends on where you live. If there aren’t many houses available in the area, people might be willing to overlook your listing’s shortcomings. While 59% of renters believe they cannot afford to buy their own home, there is still massive interest. Buying is more cost-efficient than renting and with the right market. 

The silver lining with buying a house without a functioning boiler is that they can choose what type they want. There are so many options in the market from the conventional boiler, gas boiler, condensing boiler, to the combination (combi) boiler, electric boiler. They can also find their own boiler insurance cover and find the conditions that best suit them. 

The reality is that if they were stuck with an old, albeit functioning, boiler they would have to pay more. Boiler maintenance, quick repair service, and expensive energy bills will be the new normal, and it will stay that way until the buyer decides to replace it. A new boiler may be expensive, but when compared to the fuel-hungry models, it is no competition in the long-run. 

Whether you are selling your home to an aspiring landlord, first-time homeowner, or property developer, you have to market with their niches in mind. By doing so, you are sure to make a sale.

But Should You Sell A House With A Broken Boiler?

While there are plenty of ways to get your house on the market, should you even bother selling a house with a broken boiler? You have to meet so many conditions before you even make a sale. And even if you manage to fulfil them, there is no guarantee that you can get the best price. 

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Sellers are encouraged to do a basic cost-benefit analysis to ensure they are making the right decision. While it might be expensive to hire a professional boiler engineer to repair or replace your boiler, do not count them out just yet. 

For the sake of being able to sell the house at a profit, many homeowners make last-minute improvements as an investment. A good cleaning and splash of paint ought to cover up some of the wear and tear. Others even make the extra effort to update certain features to be more attractive to buyers. After all, who can say no to your asking price when you have smart appliances, modern finishes, and a system that is in tip-top shape? 

These upgrades are meant to make your house more competitive in the market. However, not all home improvements pay off. There are only a handful of projects that people will consider a good investment. So while that fresh coat of paint might be nice, it doesn’t exactly inspire a long-term commitment. A new boiler though is an investment that can serve the family 10 to 20 years into the future. Doesn’t that sound like a better deal?

If you are considering the refurbishing route, pay attention to the parts of the house that will get the most amount of use. Some examples of excellent investments are your gas hob, countertop, radiator, plumbing, electrical wiring, and central heating. All of these things play a vital role in how you go about your day. The kitchen and the bathroom are key areas you should target. Everything besides the ones listed here can be considered a bonus. 

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The Exception To The Rule

Most cases would dictate that it is better to make the boiler repairs, but there are times when it would be too expensive. If you have an old home with an even older boiler, the repair might be too expensive. Outdated models require different pipework, and if you cannot repair the one you have on hand, it means buying a new boiler. 

To fix that as the seller, you would need to rip out your old pipes just to install your replacement. Think about the drywall and flooring you have to open up, along with getting the planning permission from the local council and getting trade workers to start on the work. It can be a logistical nightmare that will make a massive dent in your finances. In this case, it might be better to settle on a lower price.

Ethical Conundrum

When you are facing the exception to the rule, it can be challenging to make a decision. It is so tempting just to leave it be and let the consequences be damned. Do you have to mention the broken boiler? How detailed should your property information form really have to be? Can’t the buyer shoulder the replacement? Shouldn’t the burden be on the buyers to properly inspect the property? Sellers are forced to struggle with these questions, and it isn’t easy to find a favourable solution. 

The best way to answer this question is by asking yourself what you would do if you were in the buyer’s position. Imagine seeing your home for the first time, would a broken boiler be a deal-breaker? If the sale went through and you found out the boiler is broken, what would you do? Heating is such an integral part of life in the UK. It would be extremely disappointing to move into your new place and find out not everything is as advertised. 

Grey Areas

There are several grey areas, and there are many cases where the buyer and seller toss the responsibility back and forth. A common example is when the boiler breakdown happens after the sale, but before the new owners had the chance to settle. The break would be suspiciously close. It can be very clear to see who is responsible for the faulty boiler when it was discovered before the paperwork has been signed, and the stamp duty tax has been paid. It would be on the seller, and anything after the sale will be on the buyer. 

However, if you knew that the boiler was broken and made the sale without informing them or purposefully hiding that information, then it can be easy to get into hot water. Remember, sellers must disclose all relevant details about the home, including the broken boiler. Failing to do so can lead to long nasty emails and calls and, in the worst-case scenario – a lawsuit. 

The Long Answer: It Depends

The real answer to the question, “can you sell your house with a broken boiler?” shouldn’t be a matter of strategy. You technically can sell your home, but would you want to? Have you exhausted all your resources in making sure your place is move-in ready? 

If you feel uncomfortable with walking the legal and moral grey line, you should work on addressing the problem. You can contact Plumbingforce’s local heating engineer for a proper inspection. They can check your gas appliance and the gas supply line. If your boiler needs to be repaired or replaced, they can take over. You can check out our blog on how to find a replacement boiler for tips and tricks.

When the budget is tight, the UK has a green deal initiative, which aims to provide accessible heating. They can provide you with wall insulation, double glazing, and a boiler grant. You can find something energy-efficient like a combi boiler for free or at a significant discount. Only when you exhaust all these options do you consider selling your house as-is? Given all the trouble to sell a house without a working boiler, it is better to pay attention to proper boiler maintenance in the future. 

Regardless of your decision, it is always helpful to get a plumber’s opinion. You can book us online, or you can call us at 0330 162 5329. Whether you need a Gas Safety certificate, same day boiler repair, or any other inspection for your heating or plumbing–you can depend on Plumbingforce to have an expert ready!

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