Please be gentle with me - this is my first time on Mumsnet. And as my thread title suggests, I'm mired in confusion. I've tried talking to friends who in the main come back with "at least you have a house to sell" and they're absolutely right.. I can't complain there. But that doesn't exactly help me, so I'm hoping someone here will.
My dd and I have had a sad time recently, and decided we need a change. We've never been very happy here - it was a compromise after the marital home disappeared along with the husband.
So I put my house on the market a couple of months ago, at the price suggested by the agent and, wonderfully, I got close to asking price a few weeks in. The buyer was mad-keen and put an immense amount of pressure to exchange before a certain date, as she needed to secure a place at the local school for her son. They were moving from London and purportedly making a life style change. Shock. horror, the day before exchange, the buyer had a change of heart and decided that she didn't want to leave London after all. I pleaded - offering a sweetener of a price reduction. But to no avail and the chain collapsed.
I've since struggled to get myself back in the saddle. The agents were initially brilliantly energetic and I had a flood of viewers for the first week or so. It's since dried up. The agents suggested today that I drop the price by about 1.5%, saying that I was 'spoilt' by the London money offer!
I probably will do so, but the strange thing is that I walk around now (since the buyers pulled out) with a debilitating sense of shame. Some of the things the agent said today has added to that shame. It's little things really - for instance, I have a free-standing kitchen and he suggested that people find it too quirky! But I now feel so overwhelmed with it all, and don't believe that my house will stand up to scrutiny.
I know that there are other things going on too (I'm going through redundancy) which might be compounding these feelings of inadequacy. I just need to get my mojo back with this house-selling business, and I was hoping someone could set me straight (but kindly please).
Can you go away for a short holiday and not think about it at all? (realise this might not be good timing with job).
Not surprised you're all over the place - what a nightmare! It will get better, but that doesn't mean it's not rubbish now. I hope this is a low and things improve!
Do you really want to sell? What makes you not happy now - is it really the house or is it other things? If it's not the house, all the problems will just follow you somewhere else. Could you just take a break from trying to sell and concentrate on some other things in life instead? Maybe even plan a holiday or something completely different to think about. It seems like a time when you are being made redundant is maybe not the best time to be coping with another huge stress, which is what moving house entails.
If you want to continue with the sale process, think about the end game rather than the actual process of selling. What kind of house do you want, how are you going to decorate, what will you plant in the garden - that kind of thing. I would however query the agents advising a drop of 1.5% - even on a £500k house that is only £7,500. Unless you are selling a mansion, that percentage price drop is going to make no difference whatsoever.
Selling a house can be a roller coaster. You feel like you are on a down bit at the moment . If your house is clean and well presented , the right price etc , it will sell at some point . You will get your change of scene I am sure , just don't fixate on exactly when it will be .
There is no shame on you for someone else changing their mind. Equally , remember , to the EA , selling houses is a job , they aren't thinking eg "aww that's where DC took first steps " or "this is a house where I haven't enjoyed living , I want to move". It's a business to them , so don't take their comments personally , they won't be meant like that. If they are giving you sensible advice , take it . If they not , or being rude , or not able to see and sell the positive in your house , change EA when you can .
We thought about relocating and I looked round a house I loved and said so. On reflection we decided not to relocate so we didn't proceed. It wasn't personal to the vendors , I still thought they had a fab house , just not where we decided we wanted to be. Leaving as late as your buyer , I agree is crappy for you .
I do feel for you but please don't at all think this reflects badly on you . You obviously have other things to cope with , concentrate on those , keep the house nice for viewings and try (I know it's hard ) not to dwell on things too much.
One thing I do think , if someone gives a reason for not buying as not wanting to move to your area , I personally wouldn't offer a reduction. For two reasons , 1 A reduction requested for x y or z reason after a survey may be a sensible request you can negotiate on 2. Deciding not to relocate is not something which will be fixed by a reduction. .
I wish you all the very best. Please try to get it all in perspective and just plod on. (I do understand though how stressful it is at the time - been there - so sorry if that sounds like a platitude )
Chin up OP & I wish you all the best
Oh and a couple of other thoughts
Whilst this house may be a compromise and you want to move , if you don't have an urgent deadline , you are in a much better position to deal with these kinds of ups and downs.
Also (and I know I don't know your circumstances ) thye do say moving house is one of the most stressful things. I am pretty sure redundancy must be up there so when you look back it may be it will be for the best you don't have to do both at once.
Platitudes over , but my best wishes remain
divorce, redundancy, moving, selling your house - all extremely stressful things! and it's all happening at once. i'm not surprised you're feeling wobbly.
i don't think there's anything you need to set straight tbh. quirky kitchens - well kitchens are a matter of taste no matter what. if you put in the most neutral kitchen you could they'd say it's too bland. it is what it is.
sounds like you're trying to make an awful lot of changes at once. any chance of just slowing down? even if you don't take your house off the market, just think that you don't actually have to deal with it RIGHT NOW. sounds like you need a bit of time.
Are you buying something else or renting? Just that you may feel more positive if you find something that you would quite like to buy. If you were to gradually have a look around at properties well within your price range (otherwise you'll just be made more unhappy!) and find something to aim at, you might feel better about dropping your price and getting on and out.
Or, go an have a look around your chosen area/s and think about the kind of future you'd like to build for yourself and DD.
Good luck - and don't worry about the kitchen.
Just think, somebody wanted to buy your house and obviously loved it (even if it didn't work out in the end) and other people will love it too! The kitchen clearly wasn't an issue for them, and I don't think it would be for anyone else who was truely serious about the house. People who aren't really interested in a house, or just don't fall in love with it, often pick on small things when they give feedback. I think its just to have something to say and if they are just silly little things then you really have to try not to take them to heart (easier said than done!)
It sounds like you're going through a very stressful time and perhaps you just need to be kind to yourself. As others have said, spend a little time looking around the areas you like and thinking about your future there, day dream about carpets, curtains etc.
Think of all the good things about your house and what your buyers loved about it. Even if it hasn't been a happy home for you I'm sure it has things you love about it - a cosy corner, a nice view, a quiet street. It sold once so I'm sure it will sell again - although I agree that a reduction of 1.5% does seem a bit low to have any impact. Are there comparable house sales, or houses on the market that you could compare to in order to check your price is realistic?
I agree with what everyone else has said about taking time for yourself in all of this.
My advice WRT selling your house would be:
Change agents. They have upset you and rocked your confidence. You don't need to give them your business. Approach some other local agents as a buyer and see how well they try to sell you the houses on their books. Get a feel for them and you will have a bit of an idea of who to go with.
View local houses as similar to yours as you can. You will be able to check out the competition and most likey set your mind at rest that your house is just fine. If you do think it comes up short compared to the others, then you can either look into ways you could improve, or adjust the price.
Have you checked out the sold prices on your street? If not do, and then you will have a good guide as to how much you should be looking to ask for it.
Remember that we are about to hit spring and this is when the market improves, most people start house hunting in the spring, so as desperate as the winter may have been/felt, a new season is around the corner.
Work out your money. Where do you want to move to - how much do you need? How much wriggle room is there in your budget/sale price. If you really feel you need to sell fast you could look into selling by auction - but you often get less money that way. I mention it mainly as another option if you really want to get out fast.
Selling and moving house is a huge thing. It is stressfull enough at any time without whatever else you have to deal with. Don't think that you are in anyway lacking because you find it difficult.
Have a virtual hug and some and try to formulate a plan. You don't have to stick to it, but it will give you something to aim towards.
Thank you all for your lovely, warm and insightful replies. I'm going to have a re-read of all your ideas as it's given me much food for thought (back to the quirky kitchen again!)
In terms of chronology and timing.. it did seem like the right time when I put it on the market towards the end of last year. DD's school closed down - it was an awful shock for us - and she's been finishing her studies at a tutorial college as we've had no choice. It's over 30 (country) miles away (we don't live near a train station either).
It's a huge strain on both of us trying to get her to the college and me to work, and then doing the journey in reverse in the evening. She's been so sad about being near her now defunct school, but has bravely made a huge effort at the college. We felt it would help for us to move - practically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, I got my redundancy notice the day after the house exchange fell through - I hadn't planned on that part of my life changing at the same time.
And I should have said, I had found a lovely house fairly near dd's current college and close to the place she's applied to for her A' levels. Sadly, I found out yesterday that they seller (understandably so) isn't going to wait for me to find a buyer, and has taken another offer. So I'm back to square one.
Oops sorry about the typo - it wasn't 1.5% - I meant to type 2.5%. I dropped the price by 7K.
I'm definitely going to have that glass of wine oreocrumbs and will write out a plan tonight. I'm going a bit bonkers trying to wade through it all.. it feels treacly in my head so thanks again to all for your advice.
You still may not have lost that house though- my chain fell through and sellers accepted another offer. A month later, I accepted an offer and that very day their buyer pulled out and I got back in! So if you do stay on the market, there is always a chance you could get that house. And if not, it wasn't meant to be.
Our buyers pulled out yesterday so I can totally sympathise with that awful sinking feeling and not knowing how to start all over again. The hard truth of it is that if you want to move, you have to.
Your house attracted one buyer and I'm sure it will atract another. Its easy to get caught up in the little aspects of your house that might not be perfect, but try to remeber that someone obviously saw something they loved in your house, and there are sure to be aspects of your house which are better than the competition. A free standing kitchen wouldn't put me off a house, so I really wouldn't give that a second thought! Someone didn't want our house as they didn't like our gas hob. Its a gas hob, just a standard gas hob - I think some people just make things up when put on t he spot by the agent for feedback!
Please have a and be kind to yourself! It sounds like you are having a tough time and I sincerly hope (and beleive) that you will get a more committed buyer very soon.
Guys come and join us on this thread
Sorry to hear that your buyers pulled out too, SadPander. Did they give you a reason? I always feel that I need reasons..which does perhaps does seem unreasonable (or does it?)
I hope too that you get a good buyer - fingers crossed. It's fraught isn't it - there must be easier ways to do this!?
Their surveyor found damp, and flagged that they should get certificates for the gas and electricity. However, we had a damp proof course fitted about 6 months ago which we have a guarantee for, we had the company out to check and they found 3 very small damp patches which they are coming to fix this week. We have just had a cert done for the electric and boiler being done this week. When pushed as to why they were pulling out given the above, their reason for pulling out changed to them being worried they wouldn't complete by the date they needed, then that there was poor insulation in the loft, then that they had decided it wasn't the house for them. So I'm none the wiser! (Bet you wish you hadn't asked now sorry, rant over!)
I don't think its unreasonable at all to want reasons - I think people owe you that at least! But on a positive for you, it sounds like your buyers pulled out because of something totally personal to them. It is really bad luck for you, and doesn't make this any easier but at least it hopefully wont be the case with any future buyers.
How attatched are you to your agent? I only ask as it doesn't seem they are doing much to help you here - instead they are filling you with insecurities about your house. If they think you were 'spoilt' by the original offer (suggesting you wont get that kind of offer again) then that would suggest the price they told you to put it up for in the first place was wrong, or they just want you to reduce it to make their lives easier - they are not really working in your interest either way. This is when they should really be earning their money, giving you support and advice, listening to your fears and reassuring you. If they aren't then I would seriously consider getting some other agents around, explaining the situation to them and seeing if any of them give you a better feeling?
I agree with what's already been said, but would like to say that in your shoes I'd definitely change agents. It doesn't sound like they are on your side. Good luck.
Make an honest list of what you like and dislike about the house and/or area. It is really helpful to think hard about it and put those feelings down on paper. Do the same for your original prospective house, or a similar one if you can find it.
Buying and selling is a rollercoaster ride, guaranteed to mess up your head and invade your whole life but if you are doing it for the right reasons then it will work out eventually.
Get some new agents in, be open with them about everything and see what they say. Don't feel obliged to stick with your current one - it sounds like they want you to drop the price for a quicker sale so they can notch it up on their "aren't we clever at how many houses we sell" bedpost! Undermining your style/design is rude and tactless in my opinion.
All your advice galvanised me into taking action, so thank you for that - I swallowed my anxiety/fear of agents (a condition I didn't know I had until this year!) and with good intentions I phoned a couple of new guys.
They came over and it was excruciating. One of the agents told me that if I dropped the price by 30K I could sell easily, but he also confirmed that it was fairly priced - . That's a contradiction, isn't it?
Isn't it the agents who set the market rate in the first place, so surely my house would have been valued at the right price? Having checked out all comparable properties in the area, I also know my house is priced correctly (I clearly am clueless when it comes to 'estate agent speak').
The 2nd agent barely looked at my house. He banged on about another house that he had sold round the corner which had an amazing kitchen-diner (my quirky kitchen is clearly going to be a hard sell!) and state of the art bathroom. I didn't think he was keen at all and frankly, he was awfully pompous. I couldn't deal with all that hyperbole either.
This is worse than dating!.. I think... if I can even remember what a date's like, it's been so long! <trying to creakily dredge out of the dank memory pool>
So I guess it's a case of better the devil I know...
I dont know where you are but in my nect of the woods the agents are all valuing up to get the business then going back to the vendor and asking them to take price cuts.
I guess he means its valued correctly compared to others in the area on the market and in his opinion but there are not the buyers around who want to pay that price for that house so if you want to sell yours needs to be the cheapest
I was selling a house once and had a guy who sounds exactly like your second.
pompous and opinionated, kept telling me he had been in my house before a few years ago, wouldnt take my 'I doubt it' or similar for an answer
wouldnt even stop when I said well I've owned it since before your agency was open so if you have been in and valued it it was without my permission.....
the one that impressed us the most came round with details of similar houses he'd valued and told us what they had fetched, showed us the photos they take and the asking price etc
Deal with someone (EA) you are comfortable with and you feel has your best interests at heart.
If after long hard thought you think the kitchen is a problem ( I personally don't , but you need to think if people mention it ) decide a price you are prepared to drop if they take the "new kitchen required" negotiation line . And it is cheaper to replace a free standing kitchen -( no stripping out required) You could take the kitchen with you
When we sold our last house , of the agents , one clearly wanted rock bottom , quick sell , one gave me confidence we had priced appropriately and he would stand by it . The latter sold it
Do not despair
Selling a house is a rocky time . Accept that and try to keep breathing in and out .
Oh and btw I agree with florencerose - our successful experience was similar to her description of the EA who impressed her most - ie came round with facts to back up asking price and examples of what they did to sell. Professional and guess what , they sold it .
waves (at everyone but especially LB)
I love it when someone agrees with me and its only happened a couple of times
Totally agree with the above - we picked the agent who brought around a stack of details for similar houses they had for sale or had sold, with sold prices and this gave me a reason to have faith in their valuation. He also had a real warmth about him and seemed interested in the house -I could really see his enthusiasm being infectious to potential buyers. We did not choose the pushy, arrogant agent, nor the one who based their valuation purely on what we had paid for the house previously. Don't give up there are some nice Estate agents out there, and I'm sure there must be some in your area too!
It sounds like maybe dropping by 30k would mean a quick and easy sale for them. Have you looked at comparibles (sold prices rather than asking is possible) and do you think your house is reasonably priced in comparison? Could you afford to lower the price at all? I'm not an expert but I'd have thought that if you've had a fiar few viewings and an offer that your price probably isn't too far out.
Don't loose heart though, if you find an agent you can trust and who is really working for you I think you will feel so much better. Are there any others you can try? You may even find that asking your current agent when your tie in period is up as you feel the house may bennefit from a fresh approach might just get them back on the ball and working for you!
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