Homeowners in Grave Danger of Reducing their Property Value

Dec 11, 2014

A few weeks ago Britain’s largest online estate agent Emoov.co.uk highlighted the negative impact DIY bodge jobs can have on property price.

The figures released by TrustMark show that on average bodged repairs to a property can reduce its value by around 11%, with the average three bedroom house in the UK going for £218,779 that’s a loss of around £24,000. The government endorsed trade scheme found that over 50% of potential buyers would discard a property all together and 90% of those surveyed would reduce their offer as a result of poor DIY home improvements.

However recent calls from Labour backbencher Emma Lewell-Buck to review funeral poverty in the UK, have highlighted the latest DIY job that could see homeowners chipping away at their property value. A DIY burial in their own back yard.
With the average funeral cost at around £1,200 having risen 30% in the last ten years and reaching as much as £6-7,000 in some areas of the UK, a Royal London report suggest a fifth of those that suffer a bereavement struggle to afford the costs involved in burying a loved one.

This has resulted in some choosing to bury their loved ones in their own back garden in order to save on expensive plot costs, headstones or cremations. However by doing so they could be costing themselves more in the long run, as a DIY burial plot in your garden could knock up to 20% of the asking price of your property. On the average UK three bed that’s a loss of £43,755, not quite the million+ pounds spent on Maggie Thatcher’s funeral but considerably dearer none the less.

Under the Burial Laws Amendment of 1880 it is not illegal to perform a home burial in your garden. However as Stratford City Council state the family of the deceased must own the plot and the body should be buried at a minimum depth of two feet. It’s not compulsory to contact the authorities for permission although it is advisable, if only to avoid any potential murder accusations.
One such property advertising the additional feature of two human graves was a four bed house in Teddington, Greater London. Put on the market in October 2013, it was a dying wish of the former occupants that they were both laid to rest in the back garden.

It did finally sell a year later but for just £730,000, 15% less than the average asking price for a similar property in the TW11 postcode. Even with London’s property market cooling in recent months, a four bed in the same postcode today would still set you back over £800,000 and shows the detrimental effect a DIY burial can have on your properties asking price.
Property expert Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of Emoov.co.uk commented “I can understand the sentiment of someone wanting to lay a loved one to rest in the home they spent their life in. However if there is any possibility that you might sell the property in the future I would advise against it.

Yes there is the matter of decreasing your property value but maybe more importantly, if you were to move it could prove tricky or even impossible to exhume the remains. There are other options if money is tight such as a public health funeral, but if you are dead set on burying a loved one on private land, double check with the local authorities to avoid any future complications.”