How low can we go?!

(53 Posts)
flow4 Mon 20-May-13 09:47:48

Here's an odd one... Went to see a house yesterday... The owner showed us round and was very chatty... He told us they've lost two sales and are now desperate very keen to move... He also said, at least twice, "Don't be afraid to make a very low offer"...

It's very pleasant and I might well be tempted, tho it's in an area I hadn't considered before (but that's a whole other thread!)... It's on at £150k, and my absolute max budget is £140k...

So, if a vendor gives you such clear encouragement to offer low, just how low can/should you go?!

noddyholder Mon 20-May-13 10:13:26

Does it need work? Do you love it? How long has it been on?

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 10:18:00

I'd suggest £120k. But don't offer on it at all unless you are absolutely sure about the area.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 10:22:27

No work needed.

I liked it, some bits very much indeed, but didn't love it. (I haven't seen any house I've loved tho, except one that's on at four times my budget! grin )

It has been on for over a year.

Unless it has some hidden flaws, it's fairly priced; but our local market is very, very slow, and not necessarily at its lowest.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 10:23:28

And thanks noddy smile

noddyholder Mon 20-May-13 10:25:57

Over a year! Yes offer 120k and when /if they say no do nothing for a few days.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 10:29:35

Thanks minty. It's a pleasant, generally desirable area and a pleasant street. My reservations are about moving away from our current area, where our friends and connections are...

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 10:33:29

120 feels very cheeky! I know they bought it for 130 and the most recent sale in that street was for half a million!

Well, yes, it's around 20% under the asking price but nothing ventured and all that. You can always up to £130k - £135k if necessary.

Best of luck!

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 13:42:39

Thanks Moon smile
It's hard to make a decision: I've been house-hunting for 3 months now, and can't find anything suitable in my 'preferred' areas, so have started to look further afield. This house is 'better' than others I have looked at, but it is somewhere I haven't considered before... Unlike my current area and the places I've been looking, which have a 'village' or 'community' feel, this area doesn't have a focus, like a cafe or library or even a row of shops - tho' there is a park - it's very suburban! And most importantly of all, I don't know anyone in the neighbourhood, so there's no-one about to 'pop in' for a brew, etc... Whereas I'll be leaving behind an area where I've lived for 20+ years and have dozens of friends. It's like comparing apples and oranges anchovies! It's very confusing! confused

I can sympathise with that - but, go for a wander or two around on foot, re-visit the house and then decide what/if you want to offer. The vendors may well have got to the stage of being fed up of waiting to even get into the negotiating process and just want to move on.
Don't offer your best up-front though - being able to add even a few thousand in for round two could make all the difference. (Although fingers' crossed you won't have to.)

We managed to negotiate money off our last house in the boom due to similar reasons (although the fact that the house was structurally sound, but cosmetically a tip helped), so it is possible!

specialsubject Mon 20-May-13 14:07:31

whatever you think it is worth - do check for a 'but'.

it is a business transaction, not a garden party. If the offer is too low he just refuses, he doesn't send the boys round.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 14:41:30

"If the offer is too low he just refuses, he doesn't send the boys round." Haha special, I like that, and shall try to remember it!

When you say "do check for a 'but'", do you mean beware of hidden catches? Bodies under the patio, sewage works at the bottom of the garden... I'm aware their loft room doesn't meet building regs and isn't advertised as a bedroom, and there is a conservatory which opens straight from the house and may not have had approval either... Obviously a survey would throw up whether there are other issues...

PeterParkerSays Mon 20-May-13 14:55:59

flow4, do you know why the other sales fell through?

If there are planning issues, I'd be very concerned about proceeding.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 15:21:37

I only know what the vendor told me, Peter - which was specific enough that I think if I gave details here, someone might identify one of the parties concerned! But in a nutshell, both related to a change in personal circumstances of the potential purchasers... I have no reason to disbelieve the vendor... But it seems reasonable to ask questions and proceed carefully.

As far as I can see, there are no planning issues - the work they have done would be 'permitted development' - but there are building reg issues - e.g. only a ladder up to the loft, no doors between the house and the conservatory...

Serafinaaa Mon 20-May-13 17:30:30

My sister viewed a house at 165k and was encouraged to put in a 'cheeky' offer by the estate agent. She offered 150k and it was accepted straight away.

MinimalistMommi Mon 20-May-13 18:19:04

I'm glad loft room wasn't described as a bedroom, we had a pull out of a sale for that very reason sad

MinimalistMommi Mon 20-May-13 18:19:43

Do they have troublesome neighbours? I would be worried when they sound that desperate to sell hmm

SoupDragon Mon 20-May-13 18:23:05

I would be worried when they sound that desperate to sell

Probably because they've been trying to sell for over a year!

specialsubject Mon 20-May-13 20:36:12

yes, that kind of 'but' is exactly what I mean, along with the noisy neighbours, the school run which means you can't park and have a garden full of litter, the rough pub down the road etc etc.

and unapproved extensions are definitely part of those - although easier to solve with money.

flow4 Mon 20-May-13 22:39:09

Thanks everyone. smile The house backs onto school playing fields, so I guess it may be worth loitering around in the street in/around school hours! They told me the names of their neighbours - middle aged couples with teens/kids at uni on both sides. (The teenagers might bother some people, but since I have two of my own... confused )

I didn't think their desperation was particularly suspicious... If they don't sell this summer, they could easily be on the market for two years! For one of the lost sales, they apparently waited 8 months for their buyers, only to have them drop out! shock

Sera, that's encouraging... I'm thinking I'll probably go in at £15k under asking price, if I decide to offer at all... I'm going to go and have a nosy round the area tomorrow...

notnagging Fri 24-May-13 07:02:52

If 2 previous offers fell through. Make sure you get a full survey.

samuelwhiskers Fri 24-May-13 07:14:19

Do you know why they want to sell or where they are moving to? Might give you an idea of what they think of the area because it sounds as though you have doubts.

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 08:14:27

Thanks not and samuel. I don't have doubts about the area - it has a very good reputation - better than the one I live in at the moment! It's just not one I know, and we have no friends there. It's a suburb, rather than a village. He's lived in the area all his life, and likes it.

He told me their plans: they're moving to another part of the country to set up a holiday/tourism-type business, as they've dreamed of doing for years.

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 08:15:13

Second viewing tonight, anyway. smile

Sausagedog27 Fri 24-May-13 09:02:38

"I'm thinking I'll probably go in £15k under the asking price"

I'd go in lower than that- probably £125 for stamp duty. They have told you to make a cheeky offer- use it. They can only say no! You may resent it later down the line if you could have got it for less. Good luck with your second viewing.

Jaynebxl Fri 24-May-13 12:43:09

How far is it from your current area? Would it mean a change of schools and stuff like that?

flow4 Fri 24-May-13 18:55:05

Thanks Sausage and Jayne smile

I have been toying with the idea of going in under SDT - but that does seem very cheeky for a house that is really very pleasant and doesn't seem to have anything significant wrong with it!

It probably would mean a change of school... DS2 would need to meet people and make friends who live locally... We could keep him at his current school for a while, but it's out of catchment, cross-country, and would mean a drive in the wrong direction for my work.

Took DS1 to see it today. He liked it too. We all like it. smile Good size. Nicely done up. Lovely open plan kitchen/diner/conservatory. Lovely big garden that isn't really overlooked. No cracks or visible flaws anywhere!... They say they have a document 'signing off' the conservatory... It's leasehold not freehold, but with over 950 years still to run, and the council is the freeholder...

It's just in an area I don't know, and I've never lived in a suburb before - it's almost half a mile to the nearest shop!

I think I will offer on it... I wish it wasn't the bank hol so I could run the leasehold thing past my solicitor... I really am not very good at making these big decisions by myself!

PanicMode Sat 25-May-13 05:23:49

A 950 yr lease means it's an effective Freehold - just check if you have to pay any ground rent or any other annual charges (will be very low/possibly not even demanded), but it's not a problem until you get to sub 100 years really.
Good luck!

PanicMode Sat 25-May-13 05:25:11

Oh, and I would definitely make a very cheeky offer - start at 110k. They can say no and you can go up......

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 07:42:16

Thanks Panic. They say the ground rent is £4/year. (Obviously I'd need to confirm that). And really? That low? That's £40k and over 25% below asking price. I don't know whether I've got the nerve!

Does anyone know whether it's possible to check actual sales prices by a wider area than postcode? I'd like to know what 3 bed semis are going for in our town as a whole, rather than just this street, where not much has sold and house types vary massively, so it's hard to compare.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-May-13 07:53:13

I'd go in at £125k. If they are keen to sell they are going to drop the price soon if they do they'll be nearer stamp duty threshold and no doubt accept a stamp duty threshold offer. Its also not so far off what they paid so less painful for them to just accept. If they are begrudgingly happy with the offer they're more likely to behave well during the sale process.

The other thing is if you're not in a rush offer the amount you've decided and say if the vendor declines you'll leave it on the table but you'll keep looking. Be firm thats what its worth to you. Its very easy to find yourself quickly upping £5/£10k very quickly and thats money it takes a long time to save.

Jaynebxl Sat 25-May-13 08:28:29

Waiting to hear what you offer and what happens!

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 10:58:25

Thanks Mis. Their asking price was £165k last year, and for a long time. They dropped to £150k in Feb/Mar... I think I will go in at £125k, but it's a hard call. There are plenty of other similar but less-nice houses on at/around the same price - at £130-170ish. But it's quite hard to see how many of them are actually selling, and for what price... confused

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 11:04:11

I think my confidence is being weakened by my experience over the last few months... I had an offer of £127.5k rejected on a house that's (still) on the market for £132, and was gazumped after my £118 offer was accepted on a house on for £120k... I don't want a third purchase to go wrong!

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 13:49:23

Ha! Well, I've ignored everyone's advice and gone with my instincts, and offered £130k. The EA has told me she doesn't think they'll accept under £140k, and I've said "Well, I don't think I'd be prepared to go that high, so put it to them, and they've got the bank holiday to think about it"... So have I, of course! grin confused

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-May-13 13:55:35

Well done. You have to feel comfortable with what you're offering. Thats the most important thing.

So having hinted you don't think you'll go to £140k but not flatly said you wont....they'll possibly try for more. Are you up for a no i'll leave £130k on the table I've found a few more similar properties that I've yet to arrange viewings for response?

If you can hold back for a day or two, if they try for more, it doesn't then stop you going back at £140k. If its been on the market over a year its not being snapped up so you do hold the cards.

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 14:56:35

They came back to me quickly, rejecting £130k. The EA said they wanted £140k, which was the offer they accepted before. I said I wasn't going to increase my offer, and I'd leave it on the table over the bank hol... So basically doing what you suggested, Mis. smile The knowledge that they accepted £140k 9 months ago is useful, partly because I know they'd go for that, and partly because the local market is probably a little bit down on that, so I have a clue that a lower offer now isn't unreasonable.

Now I just need to distract myself til Tuesday!

mirai Sat 25-May-13 15:01:11

I think you'll get it for 135 smile

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-May-13 15:04:58

Its all go. Nerves of steel needed now. Plan how you could spend each and every of the £10,000 pounds to help you hold than nerve. Thats a nice kitchen and bathroom, nice new car and a holiday, retiring a year or more earlier if invested!

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 15:33:25

I think I will too mirai smile I need to, really, so please keep all your fingers crossed for me!

LastButOneSplash Sat 25-May-13 16:47:05

At the risk of being a party pooper, you don't get that £10k. Unless you're a cash buyer of course. If you're still keeping your ltv ratios it just means a lower mortgage and a little bit more cash for you if you keep it out of the transaction. One reason why I'm not much of a haggler as it doesn't seem worth the bother for the fairly minimal change in mortgage repayment.

Fingers crossed for you though grin

flow4 Sat 25-May-13 20:53:36

Thanks Last. I have a large deposit, and my LTV is currently lower than it could be, so I can hold on to some of that deposit if it would be useful. The house I got guzumped on needed loads of work, so I got a mortgage approved that enabled me to keep some of the deposit to do all of it. This house doesn't need work, but I would like to install a downstairs loo if I can - I have arthritis and stairs can be difficult - so I'm keen to pay as close to £130k as poss, cos then I can afford that...

Jaynebxl Mon 27-May-13 20:25:16

Wonder if you will get any good news tomorrow. Are you just going to wait and see if they accept the offer after all?

flow4 Mon 27-May-13 21:26:02

It's very good of you to be thinking of me Jayne! smile

I am half-hoping they'll accept my offer after a w/end of reflection, yes... smile
But I am also driving myself slightly potty with worrying about the conservatory... hmm (See my other thread ). I'm trying to work out the implications of the fact that it almost certainly doesn't comply with building regs... And I don't know whether that matters, or how much... And it's a BH weekend, so of course I can't ask my solicitor... confused confused

Misty9 Mon 27-May-13 21:26:02

Check out and for the sort of stats you were after upthread. I wasted almost all evening after discovering it last night!
Good luck for the offer.

flow4 Mon 27-May-13 21:37:35

Thanks Misty!

Jaynebxl Tue 28-May-13 05:56:04

Flow, we've been in limbo so long over our house move I've taken to living vicariously through other people's house stories!

rubyrubyruby Tue 28-May-13 06:45:55

Stand by your 130k

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 28-May-13 08:06:10

Regarding the door into a conservatory thing. If a conservatory is something like maximum 3m deep, seperated from the house by a door and has a heating system independant of the house/ isolatable it meets regs. Often over time doors get removed. see here for conditions that make them building regs exempt

Our latest house purchase, hopefully one we stay in this time, has had its door removed. We've put one in. We've DIY'd. This and the door frame. Total cost under £100. If you got a company in and go for arched glass window at the top and standard glass external door under plus making good I expect it would be about £1000.

The main reason for a door is heat loss concerns in winter - its the sort of thing that you could try for a year. An alternative, not building regs compliant but very effective, is heavy ceiling to floor curtains. I did that in a previous house it made a huge difference.

Your solicitor could ask the sellers to get an indemnity policy for you. basically an insurance incase the local authority ever had a clamp down (pretty unlikely as there are a humongous number up and down the country like this). Or build the cost of putting a door in into your numbers - either as a further point of negotiation down the line, something I'm personally not keen on in the English system, or to go back if they don't accept the £130k on the table and be able to say 'no i'm not shifting because I'm aware of various make good items that are going to have potential future outlay like the door to conservatory.'

I hope you get some news today.

flow4 Tue 28-May-13 14:22:19

Thanks Mis. I've updated on my other thread, so I won't bore everyone with the details again! The doors will be relatively easy to sort... The bigger issue is the foundations, which need inspecting to make sure they won't collapse. Looks like the vendors may be sorting retrospective building reg approval...

mirai Tue 28-May-13 14:41:22

Have you had any news? Are you going to chase or wait to see if your EA calls with good news?

(Gosh this is all like texting after a first date isn't it! grin )

flow4 Tue 28-May-13 17:38:29

Hahaha, it's very like that first date mirai!

I'm not chasing. I've left my £130k offer on the table, and said they need to get building regs sorted/retrospective approval before I even consider increasing my offer.

I'm feeling pretty clear that's the right thing to do, since I discovered household buildings insurance doesn't cover unapproved building work. So basically, if there is a problem with the conservatory foundations - eg subsidence - insurance wouldn't cover it. shock The EA said they have contacted the council's building control and are investigating getting retrospective approval, so I'm waiting to hear.

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