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2 Viewings And 2 Distressed Sellers Stories


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I have just done 2 viewings today with my wife, we are looking to buy, but not right now as I still think 25% falls to go.

I visited two properties (West Surrey) today and one plot of land associated with one of the properties.

The first house (asking £900k) and land (asking £250k) belonged to a late middle age couple , there were boxes piled up and they were clearly ready to move out.

I asked the agent in my usual slightly loud voice, "oh are they moving already?" and the agent (a good country properties sort who I have dealt with before and is decent bloke) waved his hand downward a few times hinting that I should perhaps speak slightly more quiety eventhough the owners were in the other room.

On the way out he told me that "they had tried to move to Spain a while ago and buy a second house, but had lost a lot of money in a scam out there and were being forced to sell."

I didn't ask, oh would that be a property scam then?

The second house, didn't have any such problems with it, but I enquired about another nearby property on an even better road that was a bit over our budget. The agent, one of the partners (yes the partners are now doing Saturday viewings), said that "yes, the owner of the house's husband had worked in the City, but how now lost his job and needed to cash in his share."

So it would seem there are plenty of distressed sellers in affluent Surrey.

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Last week in court I came across a late middle aged couple who got scammed for £26,000 on Spanish time shares. She's with the revenue and he's a teacher. Suspended possession order was granted on their house.

I think the scam I mentioned might have been a bit more than £26k though. £26k wouldn't normally sink someone in £1m+ house.

I do wonder if either they overpaid for some property, or perhaps met by some of the worst aspects of Spanish property law - such as being force to pay for new infrastructure like roads.

Edited by mikelivingstone
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i do feel sorry for some of the folk in that situation - in some cases planning permission WAS granted, but has since been proven to have been granted illegally. pretty hard to protect yourselves against issues like that happening

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I have just done 2 viewings today with my wife, we are looking to buy, but not right now as I still think 25% falls to go.

I visited two properties (West Surrey) today and one plot of land associated with one of the properties.

Why bother wasting the sellers time at the weekend with a viewing if you are not looking to buy right now?

Perhaps you didn't have anything better to do with your weekend but they might have?

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Why bother wasting the sellers time at the weekend with a viewing if you are not looking to buy right now?

Perhaps you didn't have anything better to do with your weekend but they might have?

You're obviously not an estate agent. I told my local Foxtons (also in Surrey) the same thing, not looking to buy now, want 25% more off prices, and he encouraged me to come and see a property at £900k ( I said I would pay £700k) that same afternoon.

Houses won't get sold if people don't make offers.

If you view a house and like it, you make an offer, even at 25% under asking, the seller might say yes.

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Houses won't get sold if people don't make offers.

If you view a house and like it, you make an offer, even at 25% under asking, the seller might say yes.

Totally agree, and I don't have a problem with that at all, but the OP said he specifically wasn't buying now so in my mind they were simply wasting peoples valued time with a viewing.

What raises hope more for a seller, lots of viewings or no viewings at all? I think no viewings at all.

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Totally agree, and I don't have a problem with that at all, but the OP said he specifically wasn't buying now so in my mind they were simply wasting peoples valued time with a viewing.

What raises hope more for a seller, lots of viewings or no viewings at all? I think no viewings at all.

Who cares about the sellers' hope or time? It is just a viewing. Maybe the OP was viewing with a mind to make an offer to the banks, who may end up owning both properties, if no offer comes along with the funds behind it to come close to the sellers' imagined value of the properties.

In the first instance they seem to be boxing up to imminently move out, and the second one seemed under some financial pressure to sell.

On the way out he told me that "they had tried to move to Spain a while ago and buy a second house, but had lost a lot of money in a scam out there and were being forced to sell."
"yes, the owner of the house's husband had worked in the City, but how now lost his job and needed to cash in his share."

You should refresh yourself with Serpico's posts as to how values can change on the way down, as all kinds of investments and assets come to market and are sold off at ever lower prices in the attempt to pay off debts and release monies.

I agreed to let them try the bank at the £40K, I had nothing to lose the security contract I had signed restricted the bank only to property I was amazed the bank accepted their offer leaving a £160K shortfall

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...35126&st=15

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Why bother wasting the sellers time at the weekend with a viewing if you are not looking to buy right now?

Perhaps you didn't have anything better to do with your weekend but they might have?

I'll probably clarify what I said in the OP. Basically I still think houses are badly overvalued, minimum of 25% and so I usually have a bit of pre-conceived idea that I won't want to make an offer before I go it.

I might make an offer if I really really like the house and even then I would offer 25% below.

Seriously a lot of vendors are deluded idiots, usually late middle age and living in semi-squalor having perhaps decorated the house only once when they originally moved in in 1974. I usually have to hold my tongue, as the temptation to say I don't like your kitchen its small and filthy and I want to knock that wall down is too great.

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I'll probably clarify what I said in the OP. Basically I still think houses are badly overvalued, minimum of 25% and so I usually have a bit of pre-conceived idea that I won't want to make an offer before I go it.

I might make an offer if I really really like the house and even then I would offer 25% below.

Seriously a lot of vendors are deluded idiots, usually late middle age and living in semi-squalor having perhaps decorated the house only once when they originally moved in in 1974. I usually have to hold my tongue, as the temptation to say I don't like your kitchen its small and filthy and I want to knock that wall down is too great.

Agree with you there mikelivingstone.

The number of deluded late middle aged sellers living in what can only described as really shabby houses but with an asking price that takes no account of the amount of work needed to bring it up to modern standards is quite staggering.

I also agree we still need 25% off to get houses back to fair value.

I have taken to making preliminary offer stating my maximum price - just as you did. I have started doing this even before going to see a property as I know that if the vendor or EA will not accept a price reduction of 25% up front there is no point in going to see it.

However, what is bizare is that I did this a year ago on a house and the vendor turned me down - the house needed a huge amount of work and they had had 3 offers fall through over the previous year. I just discovered they sold it in September this year for slightly less than my offer. They lost a whole year of interest and actually got a lower price - but never even called me back to see if I was still interested. I am a cash buyer. Go figure that one out!

Edited by Wad
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Agree with you there mikelivingstone.

The number of deluded late middle aged sellers living in what can only described as really shabby houses but with an asking price that takes no account of the amount of work needed to bring it up to modern standards is quite staggering.

<SNIP>

However, what is bizare is that I did this a year ago on a house and the vendor turned me down - the house needed a huge amount of work and they had had 3 offers fall through over the previous year. I just discovered they sold it in September this year for slightly less than my offer. They lost a whole year of interest and actually got a lower price - but never even called me back to see if I was still interested. I am a cash buyer. Go figure that one out!

Wad, I have similar stories from last year where we made low offers, which weren't accepted and so the vendors took other offers which subsequently fell through. In each case the properties then remained on the market for a long time, one has now sold (for £50k less than what I thought was a low ball offer - phew, close escape, though I think I made the offer more to goad the vendor. The other is still on the market, but now £200k less than the STC price they had before it fell through.

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Wad, I have similar stories from last year where we made low offers, which weren't accepted and so the vendors took other offers which subsequently fell through. In each case the properties then remained on the market for a long time, one has now sold (for £50k less than what I thought was a low ball offer - phew, close escape, though I think I made the offer more to goad the vendor. The other is still on the market, but now £200k less than the STC price they had before it fell through.

Phew indeed!

Mind you, I am glad that I am not the only one having this experience. My wife said to me the other day that perhaps we are beng too aggressive and the vendors are so insulted they would rather accept a lower offer 6 months later than come back to us. I naturally did not agree - while I do not think that people shoud be intentionally rude to sellers I do think a clear written offer, from a cash buyer, for prompt contracting and completion is surely not rude even if the offer is some way below the asking price.

My wife may be right, maybe sellers do feel insulted and upset but that is only because their asking price is ludicrous. My wife says we should be more subtle and chat them up first and slowly tease them into accepeting our low offers rather than just slap it on the table as a take it or leave it.

I prefer being straight and honest. Any thoughts anyone? Slow and subtle or take it or leave it bulldozer approach to making offers?

Edited by Wad
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Seriously a lot of vendors are deluded idiots, usually late middle age and living in semi-squalor having perhaps decorated the house only once when they originally moved in in 1974. I usually have to hold my tongue, as the temptation to say I don't like your kitchen its small and filthy and I want to knock that wall down is too great.

That accurately sums up a lot of the stuff on the market near us. They think 'well presented' means clean and tidy.

Some of them had shiny new cars on the drive, and cruise brochures on the coffee table. :angry:

I gave over biting my tongue, I wasn't rude, but I did make a point of saying things like 'Are ALL the windows still single glazed?' "Is that the original boiler?". By the time we left they were under no illusion that we thought the place needed work, and that any offer was going to reflect that.

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That accurately sums up a lot of the stuff on the market near us. They think 'well presented' means clean and tidy.

Some of them had shiny new cars on the drive, and cruise brochures on the coffee table. :angry:

I gave over biting my tongue, I wasn't rude, but I did make a point of saying things like 'Are ALL the windows still single glazed?' "Is that the original boiler?". By the time we left they were under no illusion that we thought the place needed work, and that any offer was going to reflect that.

I saw a house that I am sure had nothing done since the 1960s. A probate sale, and it was the owner's childhood home, althogh she probably moved out 20 years ago when she got married - her father recently died. She was so attached to the place that she said she couldn't even cope with people looking around saying it needed work since to her it was perfect in every way!

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Phew indeed!

Mind you, I am glad that I am not the only one having this experience. My wife said to me the other day that perhaps we are beng too aggressive and the vendors are so insulted they would rather accept a lower offer 6 months later than come back to us. I naturally did not agree - while I do not think that people shoud be intentionally rude to sellers I do think a clear written offer, from a cash buyer, for prompt contracting and completion is surely not rude even if the offer is some way below the asking price.

My wife may be right, maybe sellers do feel insulted and upset but that is only because their asking price is ludicrous. My wife says we should be more subtle and chat them up first and slowly tease them into accepeting our low offers rather than just slap it on the table as a take it or leave it.

I prefer being straight and honest. Any thoughts anyone? Slow and subtle or take it or leave it bulldozer approach to making offers?

Trouble is you take the warm and friendly approach and go in drinking their tea, patting the baby and smoothing the dog (or is it vice versa) telling them how lovely everything is. They like you, you like them and they want to sell their humble to you alone. So now we're the best of friends; when do you drop the bombshell that you are only prepared to pay 210K towards the 300K they want? They feel duped and used and you feel like a todger for leading them on.

Alternatively, you can go in with the business-like, officious approach, refuse the tea, kick the dog/babyand they end up detesting you and wouldn't sell to you at any price.

It's a bit of a dilemma and sure is hard to get the right balance .

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I got a 17 % reduction agreed by the niceley niceley route, and my friend got a 20% discount the same way. Don't p off the vendors - they would rather never sell than sell to someone they dont like. (remember most people think of their house as ahome, not an investment, and are quite likely to be friends with the neighbours. They would not impose an arrogant agressive chancer on their friends.) Both of us were chain free.

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I saw a house that I am sure had nothing done since the 1960s. A probate sale, and it was the owner's childhood home, althogh she probably moved out 20 years ago when she got married - her father recently died. She was so attached to the place that she said she couldn't even cope with people looking around saying it needed work since to her it was perfect in every way!

This is common though - by selling the house she is actually in the grieving and letting go process which is intensively painful for many who have recently lost a parent, especially if it is the 'last' parent.

Sounds as if she was looking at the place with all its memories as if she was still a child growing up there. Maybe, if you wanted this house, would be to go back to her and talk her through this. Tell her that you know how much the house means to her, tell her that it must have been a wonderful family home and growing up there must have been fab. Make her aware that you are sensitive to her memories and that it is to her, still, her home.

Then carefully point out that the house does indeed need work and that this is often the case for millions of people who, as we age, no longer worry about the decorating and the upkeep of the property as the memories are enough for them living there. Tell her that you now wish to buy the home and to have a family there creating all the happy memories that she has. Tell her that you will look after it.

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Sounds as if she was looking at the place with all its memories as if she was still a child growing up there. Maybe, if you wanted this house, would be to go back to her and talk her through this. Tell her that you know how much the house means to her, tell her that it must have been a wonderful family home and growing up there must have been fab. Make her aware that you are sensitive to her memories and that it is to her, still, her home.

Tell her that you now wish to buy the home and to have a family there creating all the happy memories that she has. Tell her that you will look after it.

Thats exactly what we did. We said that it felt like a happy house and we could see our small children being happy there and it being their childhood home. We spoke about our kids (aged 2 and 4) and how they would appreciate the space and garden...we didn't point out any of the work that need doing but instead said we were glad it had been taken care of since we couldn't afford to do too much too quickly.

So what happened? She turned down our offer immediately. We said, no rush we are staying with my parents until we go on holiday (2.5 weeks bewteen moving out of existing how and then a 2 week holiday) but we will want to sign a rental agreement so we have somewhere to go on our return from holiday. Called the agent day before we went away to say that we withdrew offer as we signed rental agreement (on a house 6 houses down - much cheaper to rent than to buy BTW (break-clause 9 months). Then get call day we return from holiday saying they changed their minds - but we can't get out of rental as landlord was getting desparate as glut of properties for rent.

Anyway, am a bit sad as we have been looking for 2 years and first house we could afford that ticks all boxes. But then it did need a lot of work (which i don't really have the mind for now) and although it was 33% of their pie in the sky starting price - IMO our offer was a beginning of 2006 price, so we can do better if we wait. The EA is furious with me, and even tried calling the rental agent to see if we could get out of the rental agreement... maybe we had a lucky escape.

If its still on the market in 6 months time will offer again with a view to completing when rental agreement ends, but would offer another 8-12% off, and would be really happy at that price. But I think that at the reduced price we offered someone else will buy it in the meantime.

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Thats exactly what we did. We said that it felt like a happy house and we could see our small children being happy there and it being their childhood home. We spoke about our kids (aged 2 and 4) and how they would appreciate the space and garden...we didn't point out any of the work that need doing but instead said we were glad it had been taken care of since we couldn't afford to do too much too quickly.

So what happened? She turned down our offer immediately. We said, no rush we are staying with my parents until we go on holiday (2.5 weeks bewteen moving out of existing how and then a 2 week holiday) but we will want to sign a rental agreement so we have somewhere to go on our return from holiday. Called the agent day before we went away to say that we withdrew offer as we signed rental agreement (on a house 6 houses down - much cheaper to rent than to buy BTW (break-clause 9 months). Then get call day we return from holiday saying they changed their minds - but we can't get out of rental as landlord was getting desparate as glut of properties for rent.

Anyway, am a bit sad as we have been looking for 2 years and first house we could afford that ticks all boxes. But then it did need a lot of work (which i don't really have the mind for now) and although it was 33% of their pie in the sky starting price - IMO our offer was a beginning of 2006 price, so we can do better if we wait. The EA is furious with me, and even tried calling the rental agent to see if we could get out of the rental agreement... maybe we had a lucky escape.

If its still on the market in 6 months time will offer again with a view to completing when rental agreement ends, but would offer another 8-12% off, and would be really happy at that price. But I think that at the reduced price we offered someone else will buy it in the meantime.

Look on the bright side, which I am sure you are, in that the same house will undoubtedly be cheaper in 6 months time than now. Also, in 6 months you might find that you have a much bigger choice of properties in your price bracket as more fall in value from today's prices.

I personally would not buy a property that needs loads of work on it as the time, cost and stress can be all-consuming. You should be able to find an already modernised house in 6 to 12 months as prices are only going to go down in the coming months. Frankly, with 'doing up' property being a nation obsession in recent years most houses you look at now should be 'show-house'. The only ones that won't be will be ones where elderly people have lived in them for 20 plus years before passing on and leaving them to a relative - in days of old EAs would snap these up before they got to market so maybe that is a sign of the times in itself?

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My wife says we should be more subtle and chat them up first and slowly tease them into accepeting our low offers rather than just slap it on the table as a take it or leave it.

I prefer being straight and honest. Any thoughts anyone? Slow and subtle or take it or leave it bulldozer approach to making offers?

Wad, I think your wife might be trying to subtly tell you something else as well. ;)

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Look on the bright side, which I am sure you are, in that the same house will undoubtedly be cheaper in 6 months time than now. Also, in 6 months you might find that you have a much bigger choice of properties in your price bracket as more fall in value from today's prices.

I personally would not buy a property that needs loads of work on it as the time, cost and stress can be all-consuming. You should be able to find an already modernised house in 6 to 12 months as prices are only going to go down in the coming months. Frankly, with 'doing up' property being a nation obsession in recent years most houses you look at now should be 'show-house'. The only ones that won't be will be ones where elderly people have lived in them for 20 plus years before passing on and leaving them to a relative - in days of old EAs would snap these up before they got to market so maybe that is a sign of the times in itself?

Thanks for your comments - we are looking on the bright side. Yes, we are hoping that the nicer houses in the area will come into our price range. If its still available and we get it for 10-12% less our mortgage would be neglible and get builders to do the whole lot at once, but can't hold out hope or it will drive me mad.

Ironically there a repo on the same road - (although position less desirable as nearer big main road) we offered on that also at reduced "early 2006" price - but bank holding out for huge stupid asking price which I doubt they'd have even got last summer - as they don't want to take £300k hit. Mad as every month they hold out the bigger the hit will be. Previous owner had lots of business debt secured on it.

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  • 441 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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