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How to sell an empty house?

(9 Posts)
Lilymaid Tue 16-Aug-11 09:53:26

My DB and I are selling our late parents semi-detached house. It is in an expensive attractive suburban area, good for commuting, and the house has kerb appeal. We've emptied it and have a valuation. It has plenty of space to extend to a four bedroomed/ 2 bathroom house (as most of the other dozen or so houses in the row have already done).

We will ensure the house is kept as sparkling clean as possible and the front and back gardens aren't overgrown. All in all, it shouldn't be difficult to find a buyer - but I look at the extremely dated bathroom and kitchen, the magnolia painted anaglypta, original steel windows etc and wonder ...

So what would a youngish family be looking for? The local schools are good and there is plenty of open space around though it is only 3 miles from a major shopping town. Oh ... and I'm not looking for purchasers who think they can buy it cheap because it is a probate sale ... I need the money for my own pension pot and for deposits for the DCs future homes!

coansha Tue 16-Aug-11 10:29:31

I would get quotes for a refurb based on windows, kitchen & bathroom.
Then any potential buyers can be informed of costs and compare to sold prices locally.
I would truthfully keep it clean and sell as is, any renovation is a risk in a flat market and some people prefer to put their individual stamp on it.
If as you say the market locally is good, schools, amenities, transport links and open spaces are definitely a priority, also good neighbours.

LeonardNimoy Tue 16-Aug-11 10:34:25

We sold an empty 3bed semi last year. Dhs grandmother had lived in it since it was built in the 50s and, whilst it was clean and tidy, it badly needed modernising. My advice would be don't spend a penny or it, keep it clean and sell it as a do-er up-er. There are plenty of buyers around who don't want to be paying for renovations done to someone elses taste. We sold ours in 2 weeks, but marketed it and priced it accordingly

halfbabyhalfbiscuit Tue 16-Aug-11 10:39:32

The EA's around us are saying that its much easier for them to sell a doer-upper (most of which tend to be probate sales or older EPOA sales for older people). They are also saying that they are selling to families, rather than developers, as the developers aren't able to get the houses at a low enough price to recoup their costs and SDLT.

We are buying such a house and a big attraction for us was that it hadn't been messed around with and over-extended as lots of the done up ones in the area have been. It having no onward chain was a bonus for us too.

Saying that though, we are buying in what seems to be a "hot spot" - things sell quickly and close to asking price and a huge number of buyers are making themselves chain-free (our buyers are and we had exchanged by the time we put our offer in) so things are proceeding to completion relatively quickly as chains aren't falling apart.

I'd pick your EA's brains and see what they say - if it's a house in a sought after area, you may not even need to get the quotes that coansha suggested although they are a v good idea if the market is slower where you are selling

Lilymaid Tue 16-Aug-11 10:53:27

Thanks for your comments - we would much rather sell to a family rather than a developer - rather completes the circle as my parents bought the house around 50 years ago and my DF put in a lot of work doing it up to the standards of the time. We've got a valuation from a local chartered surveyor so have a good idea of a base value of the house.
I'd agree that it is much better to buy a house that hasn't previously been extended as you can then extend in the way you want to get a house suitable for now. Other similar houses in the road have been extended in this way - one that was massively renovated/extended has recently sold for £200k + over the valuation on our house.
I think that the house is in a hot spot (and always has been). I expect it will sell quickly but am apprehensive. We've already had interest shown - the neighbour's electrician apparently has his eye on it for redevelopment - the neighbour popped in to tell us that (though she didn't make any effort to "pop in" to pass on her condolences when my DF died!) I may ask the EA about sealed bids if there is likely to be a lot of interest.

halfbabyhalfbiscuit Tue 16-Aug-11 11:45:41

Sealed bids may be an idea although you may want to see if you get a lot of interest in it first as it might put people off if it's advertised as sealed bids from the off.

The house that we went to sealed bids on had LOADS of interest in it from the outset and lots of people made low offers (it needed a LOT of work!) and they rejected them all - I think the EA was almost setting it up for sealed bids really.

Another house we viewed was priced at "Offers in Excess of £x" and apparently they would consider any offers over the £x. I had assumed this was priced for sealed bids to take place eventually but they accepted an offer within 2 days of it going on the market so they must have got a whooping offer that they couldn't refuse! That might be a better marketing strategy for you.

Lilymaid Tue 16-Aug-11 14:36:13

The valuer (for probate) suggested that that an Estate Agent might want to market as offers over £...k and see what interest there would be. At the moment I haven't even got as far as completing and submitting the IHT forms and application for probate so am not in a position to put the house on the market, but will have to go around to the local estate agents now and choose who we want to market the house for when grant of probate is in sight.

I don't think it would be worth getting quotes for refurb of kitchen, windows and bathroom as it is almost 100% certain that any purchaser would be massively extending (there's an 80' garden and room on the side of the house) as have the recent purchasers of neighbouring houses. This isn't an area where people will be struggling first time purchasers but where people have plenty of money/City bonuses etc and the step up to a 4 bedroomed detached (costing around £1 million) in such an area is immense, so purchasing a character semi in a good area with extension potential fills the gap nicely.

So: house - plenty of kerb appeal and room for extensions though habitable whilst the decisions are made;
Area - excellent - quiet but close to amenities, well kept houses of all ages (Queen Anne onwards) in road;
Surroundings - open space and village atmosphere yet not far from towns;
Transport links - two railway stations within 10-15 minutes walk - London in 20-30 minutes;
Neighbours - parents never had a problem in over 50 years (neighbours on each side have been there for over 20 years and aren't considering moving - quite a community feel and plenty of activities;
Local schools - good state schools plus top ranked indies within commutable distance. Nursery school around 100m away.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I need reassurance, good advice (have got a good solicitor) and a few glasses of wine to get me through!

Murtette Wed 24-Aug-11 10:34:36

If any of the extensions are recent, the plans may well still be on the local council's website. Why don't you take a look to see if they are and either tell the EA or print them off (if you're allowed to) and given them to the EA. The EA can then tell/show potential purchasers who may find it easier to envisage what can be done if they can see what neighbouring houses have actually got planning permission for & done.

Lilymaid Wed 24-Aug-11 10:48:50

One of the EAs we are considering sold the house that had been recently considerably extended - so has this information. I may have the sales brochure somewhere ... Pre-war semi turned into state of the art 21st century house.
Off to see the EAs tomorrow who will no doubt say that there is an enormous demand ... and then when house gets on market will say that strangely it has been very quiet!

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