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A Drive This Evening...

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OK, it's been up for about a year - it was withdrawn from an auction in 2008. It is owned by a 'family member' of an estate agent... it is 3-story detached and located in a not-especially-favourable (but OK) hamlet in the SW. The guide price at auction was £300K - I turned up to establish interest - and it was withdrawn on the day. It's been advertised for sale at £300K since. Next-door was some wasteland - the early sales pitch said that flats would be built there - but, as it transpires, after a visit, there are, in fact, 4 OK-ish detached houses in the latter stage of construction. It is closer to the main road than is preferable... but, otherwise, the place ticks all my boxes as a viable residence. Its condition is 'obviously poor' - and, having read into the planning applications, I've established that the original plan might have been to demolish the house and use the land (it has a fairly large garden) but it was required to be kept... I think the garden wall might be listed. (LOL!)

Anyhow, a visit confirmed that it would need new windows throughout - and that this would be a renovation project rather than a 'move in and put your feet up' venture. From the exterior, I expect that the interior is non-existent.

The driveway to the garage attached to the house is blocked by fencing with the sign of a local contractor bolted on... suggesting that the 4 detached houses were built on the land previously associated with the house in question - and that the house has been unoccupied for a significant time.

It isn't worth £300K - and I'm sure the vendors know that. I'm sure they know that it never was... but, I also recognise, that a vacant (eventually to become derelict) house is going to be the worst sales pitch for the 4 new detached houses next-door. If the shell of the old house were to be structurally sound, and to come in at - say £150K, then I'd want to buy it... I'd anticipated saying that about £200K (the maximum ever paid for a house within a 0.5 mile radius) before I visited - but I now recognise that there would need to be investment in work to make it habitable.

No effort has been made to start work on the property for a year, at least, which suggests to me that the owner might be in financial difficulty... In 2007 I saw well-finished houses (comparable from the adverts) offered at ~£400-500K - but, today, we're in a different world.

I don't see an urgency to make any move... but, if I were to want to do so, what would be my optimum strategy?

Edited by A.steve

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How about calling the council to tell them you'd like to live in the neighbourhood but there is this shitty house about to become derelict that would ruin the area, and by the way here are the details of the agent who says it belongs to a family member of his?

Isn't there a law or something that forces people to maintain their houses so they don't become hazards?

At worst, if the owner was cash strapped, any cost related to this would give him/her an incentive to sell fast?

Edit to add: BTW, out of curiosity, why would you pay the most that's ever been paid in the area, assuming there's £50k worth of costs?

Edited by williamdb

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I don't see an urgency to make any move... but, if I were to want to do so, what would be my optimum strategy?

If it's worth £150K to you, offer that and walk away. Make sure the vendor gets a copy of the letter with your contact details so they can call you in 6 months time when it still hasn't sold. Make sure they know you are proceedable and can move fast if necessary.

A house close to me is in a similar condition (empty, close to road, developer owned with large plot) and I would be tempted. However, at the moment, I only want to deal with forced sellers. Anything else seems to be a waste of time.


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I'd be inclined to get a viewing, look around the place, say you like it, treat the £300K price tag as quite reasonable, then say you'll need to get a survey. Brief the surveyor to say it needs £150K of work to become habitable and ask the seller quite reaonably to take that into account. If the surveyor could also say that it's degrading fast and getting more expensive to fix in every passing day, so much the better.

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  • 285 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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