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Posts posted by naptrel

  1. Sellers continue to enjoy success in negotiations with buyers, with around three out of four properties selling for less than their Home Report valuation.

    Did I read that right? Is that a typo from ESPC or is it a very lame attempt at spin? Surely it should read:

    Buyers continue to enjoy success in negotiations with sellers, with around three out of four properties selling for less than their Home Report valuation.


  2. We recently viewed an end of terrace red sandstone 3 bed. The home report made reference to a minor crack to the back wall render but said nothing about the crack that ran from the soffit down to about the DPC level on the end wall. The crack zig-zagged between the sandstone blocks (ie along the mortar lines) and was about finger wide.

    A (nice) Edinburgh-based surveyor once told me that victorian/edwardian terraces are frequently prone to subsidence at their ends. Apparently, when excavating foundations, the trench would typically be deeper at the terrace's centre than at the ends. Presumably this isn't limited to Edinburgh.

    I remember visiting a huge Morninside end-of-terrace in 2011 (way over budget, but nosiness trumps that) that had a very similar crack to the one you describe. In that case, the Home Report did make mention of it (though it refrained from using such pejorative terms as 'subsidence'), and most viewers were contemplating it with their chin in their hands, humming knowingly. Rumour has it that the new owners spent of over 50k underpinning the house.

    If it's so obvious that even a superficial visual inspection can't miss it, is there really no legal/financial recourse for an unwitting (i.e. dumb) purchaser? I'd have (naively?) thought/hoped that there was some surveyor's guild/body/association/club that demanded its members take out insurance against such claims?

  3. A property is worth what someone will pay for it--it's the market economy way, you know? (Ergo an unsold property is worthless!)

    Home report valuations and land registry sold-price searches are no more authoritative and meaningful than the "completed listings" button on eBay.

    The surveyor's valuation is certainly influenced by the seller and the estate agent: surveyors can be trusted to (superficially) assess the fabric of a property, and estate agents can be trusted to produce mediocre schedules. But beyond that, it's entirely up to the buyer to beware.

    But that's how it should be, surely?

  4. Some schedules continue to kick around for a while after a property sells. I just wish someone archived them, along with the sold price. Wouldn't it be great to go onto ourproperty.co.uk (etc) and click on the schedule relating to the sale...you could get a visual history of a property. But I guess there are copyright (and privacy?) issues.

  5. Oh dear, just had a look on Google Streetview to see if I could figure where ex-sir fred's house is/was and there's a suspicious gap in Streetview's coverage. For the public good, I suppose.

    As for the area...the grange is lovely. Flanked on four sides by: the meadows, Mayfield, Blackford Hill and Morningside, it's the ultimate suburbia--big, leafy, central with bourgeois buffers on all sides. It's no surprise it's so desirable. But price and desirability have never had a linear relationship, hence £700k+ for a flat. But take heart--at least it's an affy big flat: nearly 3500 square feet. (And it overlooks freddy's pad.)

  6. I think the upper end is sagging a bit. Or at least that's what a quick peruse of EH9 recently sold house prices suggests. For example,

    69 Findhorn Place: asking £445k, sold for £420k

    1 Glenisla Gardens: asking £725k, sold for £650k

    109 Mayfield Road: asking £550k, sold for £530k

    12b Oswald Road: asking £795k, sold for £768k

    1a1 St. Margarets Road: asking £690k, sold for £645k

    All decent places (but you'd hope so for those prices). I don't know if you can tell much by comparing what the seller wants with what they get, but it may suggest something. I think the asking price for some of these had dropped prior to the sale as the sellers became more realistic, so not quite as undercut at sale as they first look. Having said that, there also seem to be quite a few £400k+ places which met or even exceeded their asking price.

  7. Gayfield House, East London Street

    This upper-end place makes me a bit sad.

    It is a spectacular house. For 500k (the price is dropping), it is in a very different league to the run-of-the-half-million Morningside terraced house. Gosh, it's grander than your typical Aston-Martined fancy-schmancy new town pad, too.


    While the area is nice, and very central, the house is sandwiched by yuck (offices, schools, warehousey-looking cack) and I'd guess that there are some serious maintenance costs looming. Plus you don't get the basement.

    But wouldn't you love to live in a place like this? And when you look at the other stuff available for a similar price, this place is too cheap--it must have some major structural problems. Either that or it's a super-bargain waiting to be snapped up by a canny buyer who can see beyond the fear of overheads.

  8. Place lacks full double glazing and teh bathroom needs replaced. I was told to do nothing as the money would be wasted.

    I suspect the estate agent is right--you won't get your money back. But you will have a better chance of selling. I wouldn't suggest full double glazing or a new bathroom, both of which might be quite pricey (though you could buy and install a new bathroom set pretty cheaply if it doesn't require relaying flooring or rerouting plumbing etc?), but I wouldn't sell a property in this market without substantial redecoration. A fresh coat of magnolia walls and white woodwork (it sells!) will be cheap and may be the difference between selling and not. Dingey won't sell. I think it's worth investing a couple of thousand to ensure the place shifts--there are buyers out there, but you're competing with other sellers, and unless your property is bigger/nicer/better-located/cheaper than the competition, you'll join the growing list of 'same-olds' that appear on buyers weekly property searches.

  9. Obviously, it depends on your personal priorities (e.g. do you have kids?)

    But boring things like that aside. Let's play with silly, overly-generalising (and a bit arbitrary) lists.

    Top Tier

    These are the areas that have a high concentration of > £1.5million houses, so these are the flickering flames around which the rest buzz. Desirability seems to radiate out from these mega-exclusive areas.

    Second Tier

    Third Tier

    Lots, including, but most definitely not limited to:

    My knowledge is biased to the south side....my ignorance of many of Edinburgh's suburbs is even greater than my ignorance of the centre, so I've run out of ideas. Perhaps Shandon, Corstorphine, Juniper Green?

    You'll be lucky, even in this climate, to get something that you might call a 'house' for less than £400-500k in the top two tiers listed. But the prices become slightly more affordable (but not much) in the third group.

    I'm not sure what I'd recommend as a good financial investment? Will the fancy places resist the market trend and hold their value. It might happen, perhaps. Or will they slide, like the New Town seems to be doing? I dunno. I'm more interested in having a home than an investment.

    Debbie568 is spot on about school catchment areas. Over the summer I spent a lot of time daydreaming about (and even viewing) some big properties. Some, in nice areas, seemed a lot better value than others in the same neighbourhood: 25% difference for a similar property. Download the catchment area map and all is explained. E.g. James Gillespie's vs Casltebrae or Liberton, Boroughmuir vs Tyncastle, Trinity vs Drummond.

  10. As a seller, I don't think you can set a closing date unless you have received more than one note of interest.

    So it sounds like you've got competition, and the sellers have received at least one verbal/formal offer (perhaps yours, perhaps the other interested party's) that's close enough to what they're willing to accept that they've decided it's better to close now than hold out for any more interest and risk losing the interest they've already got. It's rare at the moment for things to go to a closing date, but it's probably a nice property priced right--the best'uns are still shifting.

    So you're left in the classic 'offers-over' conundrum. Blind bidding forces you to offer the maximum you're willing to pay for the property, and that's that.

    Sure, you could strategise yourself into a knot ("it's been on the market for a while, and when I made my offer it suddenly went to closing, therefore it's likely that my offer is the only good one on the table"; "the other interested party may only be willing to offer 80% of my first offer, what if my bid is way higher than it needs to be?"; "Is the other buyer going to nudge me out: do I need to up my offer?", etc, etc ad nauseam).

    Or you could ask yourself how much this property worth to you.

    For buyers, the system sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it. (Or is there? You could boycott the sale and withdraw your note of interest--that'll show them. And then you don't have a house.) There will always be another one. But it's a right-of-passage to have a 'one that got away' against which all future properties will be judged to be wanting.

    I'd be all for blind bidding if you only ended up paying £1 more than the 2nd highest offer (a bit like ebay), but alas you can end up paying £10k more than you have to simply because you let yourself get too afraid of losing it.

    Scottish house buying--you gotta love it!

  11. any thoughts on the new site?

    I think it's excellent. The overhaul leapfrogs rightmove is user experience, and it's night and day vs the old espc site: it's soooo much better at drilling down to specific kinds of properties in specific areas with enough overlap/fuzziness to reassure you that you're catching listings on the fringe of your search criteria.

    Well done.

  12. Perhaps, if there's any truth to this malicious rumour, there's a particular sequence of steps that lead to this lock-out. At risk of digging myself deeper into a hole of mistruths, I'll speculate that it might involve something along the lines of:

    1. One party place note of interest.
    2. Seller (concerned that no more interest is forthcoming) invites interested party to submit formal offer.
    3. Other parties become interested.
    4. To deter gazumping, having invited an offer (rather than setting a closing date?), seller is not allowed to communicate with other interested parties. In fact, notes of interest/offers are not received from other parties until negotiations with original party have concluded (one way or the other.)

    Perhaps I better keep quiet until someone who knows what they're talking about puts me straight. I'll get my coat.

  13. I`ve never heard of that, and wasn`t mentioned when I last sold my property (I rejected the first offer too). A google search for "buying property scotland first offer" didn`t turn up anything either. If there was some sort of tort privilege to a first offer you`d hope your solicitor would flag it up.

    I can't remember where I heard it--it's probably some cack rumour that I'm propagating without ever asking myself if it had any basis in law.

  14. We saw a listing http://www.espc.com/buying/306878.html

    Called up agent and had a strange conversation. Apparently an offer has been made, but not accepted. But they will not let us view. How does this benefit the seller? Surely they do not want to accept the first offer made...I wonder if there is some dodgy insider deal going on...

    Isn't there some oddity (in relation to 'offers over', but maybe also 'offers around') surrounding the first offer received? When the first offer is made, if the sellers explicitly reject the offer, the potential buyers are entitled to enter into one-to-one negotiations with the seller to see if they can agree on a price. In the meantime, all other potential buyers are 'locked out', and the sellers' agents are not allowed to give the sellers details of any other interest which may be shown. The lock is broken iff no settlement is agreed between the first potential buyers and the sellers, in which case these buyers are out for good.

    The lesson is that, as a seller, you should not reject your first offer, rather you should wait to see if there are any more. I think I've heard of stories where a desperate seller has rejected an 'insulting' first offer from a developer and then found themselves in direct negotiations with the developer. Unaware that other interest is accumulating, they come to a deal with the developer, even though there are others wanting to pay more. I ain't no solicitor, but there's something weird like that, I think?

  15. First post. Are nicer properties at the upper end still beating the odds? Here's a broad selection of south-side houses that caught my eye over the summer, and a comparison of for-sale/sold price.

    Blackford: 74 Macdowall Road

    Offers over £395k, sold for £441k (smaller than you might imagine)

    Prestonfield: 2 Kilmaurs Road

    Offers over £415k, sold for £435k (a hint of hmo)

    Sciennes: 39 Sciennes Road

    Offers over £450k, sold for £567k (split into 2 flats)

    Morningside: 28 Morninside Grove

    Offers over £495k, sold for £551 (was subsiding)

    Newington: 27 Minto Street

    Offers over £520k, sold for £550k (basement separately owned/busy street)

    Grange: 19 Chalmers Crescent

    Offers over £595k, sold for £632k ('interesting' architectural style)

    Bruntsfield: 2 Greenhill Terrace

    Was offers over £700k, closing date was set, now back on market fixed at £890k. They were serious when they said 'offers over'!

    On the other hand, I notice that big New Town pads aren't shifting, and those that are are going for well under the asking price.

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