Guys, I said a few weeks back that we had an offer accepted on a repo and that I would be stopping coming here once we completed. Well, we did, so I thought I would give you some handy pointers. Suffice to say, if it wasnt for here, we wouldnt have ourdeream home, more of that later....
Last Sold for 350K in Q1 2006, at auction. The property was in a very poor state of repair when it was bought last, as the chap who was LAST repossessed kept all the windows/doors open, pulled up all the floorboards etc and fled, before the place was found 3 months later. The repairs and upgrades they did to the place were extensive, and part of the reason they went bust. Having gone through the finance, they were already insignificant debt, having been given as much money as they wanted by the banks and had already maxed credid cards and business accounts. They were, imho, looking to buy a place, do it up, jump on the HPI bandwaggon and pay off their debt. They were desperate and the banks went along with it.
How we found it.
My wife and I have certain search areas defined, with set budgets. As we were looking to go up to potentially 320K however, we were looking up to 350K, to then put in a cheeky offer. Of course, Property-bee.com is a must, as we were able to track the property fall from 440K, to 390K, to finally 340,500. The drop was huge and it was this that prompted us to go for a viewing, as we thought "Desperate sellers".
What we found on viewing
We only actually found it was a repo the day we viewed,"Do not use" tape all over the place, water supply off, letter box full of mail, possessions lying around As it had a large garden, we had an hour before the official viewing looking round the place to suss it out from the outside, and check out the land. THis helped massively, we had downloaded a sample surveyors report and were familiar with the building phraseology (soffit, eaves, gable end etc) this then meant that when the EA came round, we had a clipboardfull of notes, dimensions, meter readings, problems with the house that we could see through the windows etc. This puts you at a MASSIVE advantage because EA gets put onto back foot and thinks "wooow, these guys know what they are doing".
We then spent an hour viewing the property and doing the same rigerous check on the inside, taking up lots of EA time, asking questions about timelines for completion etc. We noted down how many power sockets, what was included with the sale, work outstanding, loft insulation and condition of the roof (we took ladders and a torch). All this meant we were comfortable putting in an offer 1 hour after the EA turned up at the door.
We offered 320K, which we stressed was our max, but we were able to complete in 2 weeks.
As a result of coming on here, we had managed to save over 100K over the past 4 years. I cannot stress too much, the importance of a savings history, no chain and a large deposit when attempting to buy a repo. These three things will save you 10-20K over other couples with poor deposits and a chain. All the asset management want to do is get a realistic writedown on the asset, as quickly as possible. The last bit is more important to them than a few percent on the former point.
The Worst 2 Weeks of my life
Well, after we had our offer "favoured", we were given 21 days to get to exchange. Impossible? No, not at all. you need to be on the ball though, one day I sent my solicitor 15 emails chasing stuff up. How did we do it?
Things that are essential.
1) Conveyancing solicitor on your side and able to pull out the stops. FORGET online cheap conveyancers. The extra 200 quid you will spend on a reputable local solicitor (if you know one, family friend etc USE THEM, we did!) will mean the difference between buying and being outbid. When you sign the terms of business, stress to them you will be regularly emailing and you will be expecting rapid replies to all emails. Timliness is the key and your solicitor is the key.
2) Finance. Couple of things we did. We frigged the max lending certificate (agreement in principle) from HSBC to read as if we were all in with nothing else to give; this made a difference as the EA knew he couldnt squeeze us any more than he already had. Stress, again, that timliness is key and you will change mortgage providers if they cant get this through in 2 weeks. We were told 4 weeks were the minimum, but by scanning in docs direct to head office, changing surveyors (more of which later) and keeping on top of them with regular phone calls, we could guarantee we got 4 weeks down to 2.
3) Know the process. Know what is going on around you, know what can be done concurrently, know what is coming up next in the buying process.
4) Surveyors. When you arrange your mortgage finance, ask which surveyors the company use. Check on google. We were due to use a company called E-surv, they are the fast food equivalent in the industry but have a massively bad rep for undervaluing, which can destroy your offer and waste all the money you have spent already. Direct valuations was the company we went to, we spoke directly to them, by stressing we needed to move fast and that E-surv couldnt do the valuation foranother week, we got it done next day. Ring around. With a repo, you want to go with who is quickest, not who is cheapest!
5) Estate agents. The asset management company made a massive, and I mean MASSIVE boo-boo by employing 2 EA's and not splitting the commission, instead favouring the all or nothing approach for each EA. This meant that actually, our EA was on our side as he was going to lose a fistful of cash if we didnt complete to his competitior.
In short, timliness was key. With a repo you see, even though our offer was accepted, we had no right to the offer until exchange, meaning we were liable to be outbid before exchange, and losing all our cash we had spent up to that point.
We were outbid twice. We cried a lot about losing our dream home. We then found out the first bid didnt have the finance. We were overjoyed. We were then outbid again. We cried a lot again. I was unbelievably stressed and away with work, in the middle east. My mobile bill for the month was 120 quid and I got through 40 quid in skype fees. We then found out that despite being outbid by 20K, the asset company and banks favoured our offer still, as we had no chain (they did) and were unsureof completion dates.
I flew home from the Gulf and found a voicemail message from the missus on landing informing me that we had exchanged. The nightmare was over.
I cannot tell you how stressful the whole process is, especially considering the sums involved. My big tips remain extant. If you have a large deposit and no chain, you are on to an absolutely enormous winner. I cannot overstate this. Secondly, come across as professional. Its all about completing as quickly as possible. The EA was shocked we got to exchange in 8 working days, he had never seen it done that quickly. It can be done and must be. We were fortyunate with the public notice; the offer was accepted the day the public notice was due in thepaper, the counter offer went in the day after, meaning we only had to wait 1 week to be in a position to exchange, wheras they had to wait 2. If your missus is a bit mental or a stress head, I dont recommend this process to you. Go and buy a barratt home on a newbuild estate. Its not for the faint hearted, its an absolutely massive gamble (we would have been 1700 quid down if we had been outbid on exchange day) but the payback is massive.
For 325K, we got:
Mbga9pgf signing off (although I may post replies on here, I will not be posting to the rest of the site).
FWIW, I still think a 20-30% crash is on the cards, but we bought our dream home for the next 50 years, so who cares?
Take care and god bless. You will all have your day. Patience is key, so is an understanding wife!