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Or are first time home buyers expecting too much?

(142 Posts)
ifherbumwereabungalow Wed 24-Apr-19 11:09:28

I think this is my first AIBU so am girding my loins to get blasted...
Background story - we put our house on the market last year and after following the agent's advice we didn't do any decorating but made sure everything was spick and span and decluttered. After what felt like a million viewings and no real offers we decided to take a break and try again. We fixed a crack in some plaster and repainted the living room and kitchen. We'd replaced the kitchen and bathroom since being here so they are looking good.
We had our first viewing with the new agent yesterday. The feedback from the young couple was that they thought it needed modernising. We live in a bog standard, three bed mid-terrace built in the early eighties. The rooms are a good size and we have a garden front and back and off road driveway parking in a cul-de-sac.
My issue is that the current crop of homebuyers seem to have very unreasonable expectations of what a house like mine is going to be like. I'm assuming that they think every house on the market has been transformed by Kevin McCloud or George Clarke and that a futuristic utopia should exist behind every front door. I'm looking at houses to move in to and my main criteria are based on the size and number of rooms and whether I can live with the kitchen and bathroom, the decor is secondary to that because I figure we are going to go in and change it all anyway.
So, am I being unreasonable in thinking that people are going into viewings with highly inflated ideas about what they are going to see? And if so, why don't they look at the photos online before they book an appointment??

unlimiteddilutingjuice Wed 24-Apr-19 11:13:52

Do you think the potential buyers may be running your house down a little as an opening gambit for negotiating on price? If so: it's to be expected, I think.
Or were they saying they definately wouldn't want it?

Bibijayne Wed 24-Apr-19 11:14:50

I think it's because many people are at the top of their budget, so want a complete house for the money. That's nothing wrong with your house, they've just been persuaded by the agent to view a house that's too of their budget. I've found agents tend to try and push first time buyers into houses that are more expensive than they can afford.

DrVonPatak Wed 24-Apr-19 11:15:42

You already own a house, so you know all the ins and outs of it. When you're buying your first house, it's your most humongous purchase to date, being picky is kind of understandable and related to lack of experience. I still remember it from 5 years ago, no house was good enough 🤪.

Anyhow, I'm in the early stages of what you're going through, I would strongly recommend locking the ego away until you pop the bubbly in your next house. Good luck!

goingonabearhunt1 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:15:49

Is it decorated in quite a particular/unique way or with strong colours? Just wondering because some people find it hard to see past that. The trend seems to be more neutral nowadays. Or maybe it's more to do with the price; is it higher than other similar houses that have had work done more recently? Obv I have no idea but just speculating on possible reasons.

CantDoThisAnymore1 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:17:16

As long as the price reflects work that needs to be done then you are not unreasonable not to change anything.

However, since you are struggling to sell, it’s possible your price is too high.

What does your agent think?

Constance1234 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:18:55

I think the way people live is different to how they did say 20 years ago. So if your house is still in the same configuration as it was in the 80’s then people will feel it needs modernising, whether that is extending into the loft, knocking through walls, extending the kitchen or adding more than one bathroom etc. We are currently selling my parents house and while it is is good condition and nicely decorated we are not offended when people say it needs modernising as it does to conform to today’s expectations and we have priced it as such. I don’t think your potential buyers are expecting too much - the fact it didn’t sell when you first put it on the market seems to suggest it is priced too high for people who want a house they feel they can move into without doing too much work.
In terms of whether people should be able to tell whether it is suitable from looking online would depend on the photos I guess - are you able to post a link?

Darkstar4855 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:19:12

It depends how much you are asking for it.

If a property is at the top end of the price range I would expect it to be done up really well inside. If it has an avocado bath suite, dated wallpaper, textured ceilings, worn vinyl flooring, old boiler etc. etc. then I would expect the price to be slightly lower.

At the end of the day you can ask whatever price you want for it. The feedback is just people trying to help you get more of a feel for what buyers want.

ZippyBungleandGeorge Wed 24-Apr-19 11:19:44

The house we bought was priced top end for the street but hadn't been decorated since the eighties, was covered in artex and anaglypta and had a 30ft by 4ft self built shelf thing built from what looked like crazy paving, wanted the house and we willing to do the work but but at the price of a finished one (similar available in the area) it took a fair bit of negotiating for the owner to see that, the property market was fast at the time and we'd been gazumped twice by buy to let landlords and figured by taking a project that has day on the market for six months we'd avoid a repeat of that but the home owner beginner didn't see anything wrong with the house. We've renovated original features and found original doors under faux wood panelling so not looking for a modern grand designs type home at all. How is your house priced for its visiting and the area? If it's top end redirect people to want it to be in move in condition

AllTheFunAndGames Wed 24-Apr-19 11:20:48

It's a big investment. They can and will be as choosy as they want. They may not have the additional budget for renovating. That's not your fault.
-Is your house priced well for the area?
-Have you had any offers or other feedback from viewers?

ILoveMaxiBondi Wed 24-Apr-19 11:26:00

If your house needs modernising then it costs money so if course people are entitled to to the mental calculations and decide whether what you’re asking allows for that money or not. No point buying a house that needs work if you haven’t the money to do the work. Better to buy one for the same price that doesn’t need anything done. And yes, if you’re spending hundreds of thousands on something, you get to be picky! grin

longearedbat Wed 24-Apr-19 11:26:42

I think all the property programmes in the last many years have inflated first time buyers expectations possibly. When I (and my contemporaries) first bought property in the early 80s, you wouldn't have dreamt of ripping out perfectly serviceable kitchens or bathrooms, or replacing carpets that were clean and in good condition, although it was common then for the carpets to be removed for re-use in the new place because they were so expensive. You might have done these things over time, but money was just as tight then, so you made as many savings as you could.
I agree with a pp that they might be being shown properties at or over their budget, so they have no spare money. However, I always thought half the fun was making a house your own in ingenious and not too costly ways, and over a period of time. I despair at the wholesale removal of useable fixtures just because they are no longer 'on trend'. It's just so wasteful of resources.

goingonabearhunt1 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:27:09

Agree with VanPatak it is a scary big purchase so people are way pickier than they would be about anything else. I'm sure the right person will find it eventually though (when I was looking, I felt like a house needed to 'feel right' as well as all the usual considerations which is a hard thing to quantify).

ifherbumwereabungalow Wed 24-Apr-19 11:27:27

We were priced at £325000 at first (we are in the South) but then dropped it to £310,000. We have now put it back on for OIEO £300,000. In terms of similar properties in the area we are at the lower end of the budget, but priced higher than similar ones a mile down the road which is considerably less desirable area. The house is decorated in neutral tones, no avocado suite!
We are having an open house on Saturday so I'm hoping something might come from that, or at least we can get some constructive feedback which we can act on if needs be.
Thanks for your responses, it's a very different market from when we bought ten years ago so we are going to have to play things a little differently. We don't need to move but are desperate for a change of scene so it feels a little like our lives are on hold while we wait for the chance at a new start somewhere else.

itbemay1 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:28:47

It's incredibly frustrating. When we sold our first house we had so many people view it then complain that the second bedroom was too small. They had the plans and the photos prior. In the end I asked the agent to ensure that all viewing had noted the room sizes.

user1480880826 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:31:28

Maybe it’s too expensive.

Maybe the younger generation want something for their money since they will be mortgaged to the eyeballs and have probably saved for years for a deposit.

bigKiteFlying Wed 24-Apr-19 11:33:10

We had people commenting on our furniture - that was going with us confused .

Either the house is currently overpriced, it's an opening gambit to reduce asking price or you've had a stream of people who haven't worked out what they can get for their money.

I'd check out the competition via Rightmove to get an idea.

We weren’t served well by our agents we seem to get streams of people who hadn’t even decided on the area to buy yet and the argued against us dropping the price by 5K – which we did and immediately got us a serious offer that we took which meant we met our deadline for schools.

bluebluezoo Wed 24-Apr-19 11:35:11

It depends. I think decor can get dated very quickly.

I was househunting recently and every time I walked in to yet another feature wall, b&q brown and teal in the living room, green and red in the master bedroom, stripes in the spare room, i let out an internal groan. If the house was right it wouldn’t put me off but I’d need to include stripping wallpaper and making good the walls in the budget.

It’s just a bit 5 years a go, not my taste, and ubiquitous. For me those floor to ceiling built in wardrobes are dated now- they are very 70’s feel unless they are particularly crafted to fit a niche space.

The also ubiquitious wall to wall grey isn’t quite as bad, as it is at least neutral and/or repaintable easily.

You may also think the bathrooms are “modern” if they’ve been done recently, but to some modern means walk in rainfall shower and steamfree mirrors.

I do agree though. Many of my friends put off first time buying for ages because they wanted to go straight to a 3 bed house with a garden and couldn’t afford it. If I asked why they didn’t buy something within budget like a flat or 2 bed house, it just wasn’t good enough.

Earslaps Wed 24-Apr-19 11:36:09

A lot of First Time Buyers are stretching themselves for the deposits, so don't have the extra funds to decorate as soon as they move in so they want a place looking nice (Insta ready maybe!).

I suspect a lot have also rented and are not used to being allowed to make changes, so they aren't used to looking past the decor to see what they could do with the space.

AllTheFunAndGames Wed 24-Apr-19 11:37:02

There was a thread a while back suggesting most people were put off by OIEO properties. If buyers aren't familiar with the area, the houses a mile down the road may be making your price sound unrealistic (if your house needs renovating).

PCohle Wed 24-Apr-19 11:39:50

I think unfortunately if a property isn't selling the problem is the price, not buyer's expectations.

Bigsighall Wed 24-Apr-19 11:43:12

I think people just have to say something. It can tick all the boxes on paper, you walk in and you just don’t like it. The estate agent then pushes you for feedback so you just say something to shut them up!

Fishywife Wed 24-Apr-19 11:46:29

I think people just have to say something. It can tick all the boxes on paper, you walk in and you just don’t like it. The estate agent then pushes you for feedback so you just say something to shut them up!

This. You are happy to do some decorating/ modernisation if everything else is perfect, but then you get to the house and perhaps the area is not quite as nice as you thought, or the neighbours had a big van that would make parking difficult or something else that seems silly/awkward to mention so you go with the 'modernisation' reason.

TheNanny23 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:47:36

I was recently a first time buyer, and must admit I shook my head many times at others viewing with us. They were oohing and ahhing at a house with the grey decor and nice bathrooms but the house was on an actual angle confused it had lots of structural problems clear to the naked eye!

I have found that people want a house that they can drop their furniture into and go. I bought a house that had been sat on the market for a while which had artex and lots of modernisation. It meant I got a three bed semi with garden and drive, but it has been an awful lot of work and we have racked up credit cards dealing with unexpected costs. It will be worth it and in a couple of years we will have a lovely big house decorated to our taste, a very affordable mortgage, and the cards/loans paid off - but this means we are making sacrifices and spending weekends diying now, it doesn’t exactly make my friends envious.

stucknoue Wed 24-Apr-19 11:49:06

You have to be patient when selling - everyone has an idea of what they want and red lines they won't cross. I insisted on a full size range (or space for one) it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your house, just it isn't what I want

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