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Is our 'position' really worth nothing?

(25 Posts)
kiwidreamer Mon 27-Jan-14 14:14:54

We have rented current property for five years, brilliant tenants if I do say so myself, only issues have been break down related not caused by us, have cleaned carpets etc etc

LL have decided they want to sell, EA gave us notice and said would list around £365k looking for £350k but we initially said we were not interested but rental market is slim pickings so we got our AIP in place and said we'd like to make an offer but that a lot of work was needed to the property and we'd expect that to be taken into consideration, EA sent around head honcho valuations --smarmy prick-- dude last Thursday and on Saturday we were emailed that the price would be £375k and no negotiations would be entered into at this time, the LL are intend to return to the UK in March to prep the property for the open market.

We can technically afford the £375k but we are not convinced this is a realistic price, there are significant issues that need addressing... bathroom leak showing on ceiling below, possible subsidence or at least lintel issue with major crack on external of building and lots of cracking in upstairs bedroom. Entire property needs decorating and kitchen is beyond past it. Soffits are rotten. Guttering is in poor state.

We are wondering if there is any benefit in trying to email the LL directly and make an offer, we think £350k is realistic and might even go to £360k if they sort the leak / cracking issues (or at least start insurance proceedings and we'd take over their insurance to complete the work). We also said originally that we'd take the place as is, no cosmetic work needed (it needs a fair bit), and that we'd pay rent until settlement.

Im really struggling to understand how the LL, who have always appeared to be cash strapped (are currently haggling with neighbours over £40 to have a tree removed, took months to replace a broken toilet seat), see no value in not having to fix the place up when they visit the UK in March, are ok with the place being empty while its marketed, to have to cover the mortgage if they get a buyer in chain etc.

Or should we just get over it, put it down to blessing in disguise and move on.

PeterParkerSays Mon 27-Jan-14 14:23:31

I would move on. If they're abroad they may have a limited understanding of the market, and indeed the current condition of their house.

I would make them an offer of £350k via e-mail, saying that it will stand for 6 months, but that you will not be drawn into further negotiations. That way, they can put it on the open market, find out just what they can get for the property and maybe come back to you once they've seen how realistic their asking price is.

PigletJohn Mon 27-Jan-14 14:24:04

to decide what a home is worth, always look to see if you can get a better one for less money. If you can, buy it.

If not, the one you are looking at is probably about right.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Mon 27-Jan-14 14:28:29

I would check out the local for sale market to see if the property is valued correctly. It may be that you can get something better for the same price or less.

They may feel they hold all the cards and that as you are reluctant to move your desire to buy the property means that they can command the price that they want.

kiwidreamer Mon 27-Jan-14 14:33:36

A property a few doors down, exact same style (1960s giant rectangle!) but completely tidy no work needed plus four bed not three like ours went for £395k a couple of months back... this place needs £20k worth of work but will still only be three bed.

Bah. If we could find a nice rental in catchment I suspect we'd be happy to stick with our original plans (save like crazy to buy in NZ in a few years)

Dontletthemgetyoudown Mon 27-Jan-14 14:47:17

How long until the big NZ move? could a slightly less desirable catchment work I you will be moving before it makes a difference, perhaps a cheaper area would speed up the big move?

wetaugust Mon 27-Jan-14 15:35:52

Walk away.

If there is even a hint of subsidence that house will be difficult to sell should you wish to move in the future.

I know it's tempting to stay to avoid the upheaval but it is literallly not worth it.

kiwidreamer Mon 27-Jan-14 16:16:56

We have a DD who we'll need to apply for a school place in Jan 2015 so I think we have to be in catchment for Nov / Dec this year, I cant see the point in moving now and then moving again before the end of the year. She wont get into DS's school unless she is in catchment.

We are looking to return to NZ in just under three years, were considering renting out anything we buy now for as long as we can manage / its viable.

I think if we could have got this place for £350k then it would have been worth doing all the work but I suspect it could become a money pit and all our extra income would go on doing it up but this isn't our forever home or our long term residence so at least 50% of me says walk away and either stay renting or buy something with no work needed... but the other 50% loves living here, loves our neighbours, cant face the upheaval, cant bare the thought of living in a crappy house for three years.

Can I change my mind on this growing up business... I've decided I'm not a fan ;)

specialsubject Mon 27-Jan-14 16:52:47

I was in the 'email the landlord with a realistic offer' camp until I saw the subsidence bit. You really, really don't want to take that on. Any hassle now is tiny in comparison.

Blu Mon 27-Jan-14 17:15:47

Is the market slow or fast round you? Rising or stagnant?

You won't get a mortgage on a house with structural problems or subsidence. If it really is a structural problem or subsidence it will either need to be fixed by the current owners, who could get it done on their buildings insurance or else sold unfixed to a to a cash buyer at a low price. If the owners get the problem diagnosed and then rectified, you would need to carry on insuring through the same buildings insurance company.

You don't know what you are dealing with unless you pay for a full structural survey a ££££ or else the owners get it done, but they don't sound the type. You could end up paying for a survey and then finding it is unmortgageable.

I think you should take your current house out of the decision making equation. Ether decide to buy- in which case you could consider your current home an option amongst others, or decide buying now is not the right thing.

kiwidreamer Mon 27-Jan-14 17:39:46

thanks for everyone's input, I really appreciate being able to work through this with impartial parties smile

Ive just had the End of Tenancy clean guys around and one of them seems to know about things like subsidence and he said he very much doubts it is subsidence, he thinks its the window a bit big / heavy for the frame causing the issues but obv recommended a full survey anyhow but just giving his perspective.

The local market is picking up for sure, two very very good local schools put a lot of pressure on this area for housing but our place is at the far reaches of the catchment so most residents are unlikely to get in, we got lucky with a bulge year and there fore DD will also get in based on siblings first rule.

Scuttlebug Mon 27-Jan-14 18:16:07

Why don't you ask an alternative EA to come around and give you a quote? Just lie and say you own the house. they won't know, valuations are free..then you will get a angle on the correct price and also see what they recommend needs doing.
Then you can pitch properly to the LL with the valuation and improvements in mind.

kiwidreamer Tue 28-Jan-14 13:32:30

Okay so today we are thinking we will get a local builder to take a look at the cracks and give us his opinion and agree to £375k conditional on the cracks being sorted and the bathroom leak being fixed and whitewear included (fridge / freezer, washing machine both less than year old, dishwasher and drier ancient but functioning).

Surely the cracking and leak would be covered by insurance so wouldn't actually cost the LL anything? Or could we take over their insurance and instigate the claim?

Would that be considered a fair offer?

wetaugust Tue 28-Jan-14 16:34:55

Do you really want to get embroiled in all that hassle sad. I wouldn't.

I sold a huse once that had been subject to settlement. The crack run up the wall but along the pointing between the bricks. The bricks themselves had not been cracked. A cracked lintel is not good news.

If it's subsidence then it should be covered by the LL's insurance but could take a long time and cost a lot to put right if unperpinning is required.

As a house that has suffered with subsidence it will be forever tained and will always be a problem when it comes to selling it.

You are really taking a big risk here as even if it's 'sorted out' now it could return and then you'll have a your-insurance-company-battle against previous-insurers.

Seriously - walk away.

Preciousbane Tue 28-Jan-14 18:08:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiwidreamer Tue 28-Jan-14 18:18:13

Oh Goooooooooooooooooooooooood

I don't know what to dooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


This is probably our first real 'test' as parents, you wouldn't believe I'm nearly 40 FFS, I'm absolutely adrift with what to do.

Every point against buying this place is very valid. But in under five weeks we'll be homeless or at the very best case living in a crappy rental for shedloads of money (only options are currently £1850 and £1600 pmth).

Would you really put that much money into someone else mortgage when you had the option to get your own? Even if just for three years and we decided not to rent, its very likely we'd at least get what we paid for it... seems to me that buying is a good idea but a property with no major issues and very little work needed might be the more sensible option.

wetaugust Tue 28-Jan-14 18:38:18

Buying is sensible.

Living in a crappy rental is preferable to having a crappy unsaleable house around your neck for years to come.

Buying a house where subsidence is suspected is not sensible. Given that you have hard deadlines to vacate you don't want to take the risk and waste the time of having it surveyed only to find you don't want to proceed - then time-wise all that's left to you is a crappy rental.

I walked away from several 'dream houses' because they had subsidence or would be unmitigated money pits.

That's the 'grown up' thing to do

caroldecker Tue 28-Jan-14 19:31:55

does catchment exist if there is a sibling priority?

Blu Tue 28-Jan-14 22:41:47

If you like the house, like the location and prices are on the up, then make an offer. You can then get a survey and check out the issues, you can always change your mind and withdraw the offer if the survey is too daunting.

At your age, if you want to be property owners, and as you say, spend your money on an asset rather than rent, then do it and get on with it. Mortgages are pegged to the length of your working / earning life.

But do assure yourself that THIS is the house to buy. Any one of us in mortgaged houses will tell you that a few months inconvenience is better than ownership of something that isn't just right.

Rotten soffits etc - expensive problems.

kiwidreamer Wed 29-Jan-14 14:16:56

Blu the EA / LL has expressly said in their communication regarding asking price that they will not enter into negotiations with us and are happy to go to the open market at £375k, so we pay up or move out at the end of this month.

DH and I agree we feel like we are being bullied into the full asking price unfairly and I guess that means we need to stick to our guns for the good of our family, yes we can afford £375k but we cant afford a money pit that sucks all our savings on top of paying top dollar for the place and then when we want to move back to NZ in a few yrs we are a bit stuck with not enough of our own savings and a house still only worth what we paid for it.

I'm pretty sure they will sell the place fairly easy and if we were looking at a home for the next 20yrs then yes it would definitely be worth our money and time and effort to refurb but I guess its time to say goodbye.

People leave houses all the time I know I'm being a bit of a baby, its just a house but I had a really hard time settling here in the UK and this house made everything so easy for us for a long time, now its about to get hard again and I cant stand the thought of being miserable for another three yrs.

NotJustACigar Wed 29-Jan-14 17:38:33

I wonder whether EA would get their commission if you're the buyers, considering they didn't introduce you to the vendor? Perhaps they're reluctant to sell to you for that reason.

If you want the house email the vendors directly but I wouldn't touch it with a barge poke (subsidence).

TimothyClaypoleLover Wed 29-Jan-14 17:53:57

Walk away now. If you feel like you are being bullied into paying top dollar you probably are. And if you are planning on moving back to NZ in 3 years time you don't want to spend the next 3 years sinking money into the house. Can you not buy something that isn't necessarily what you want but is a safer option? If you are moving in 3 years I don't think its that important to find your dream home now. And don't be swayed by your kids schooling too much if you are not going to be staying in UK.

RedHelenB Wed 29-Jan-14 19:02:13

Move to a smaller/cheaper property in catchment area either buying or renting if you are going back to NZ

Blu Wed 29-Jan-14 21:18:55

Don't be so melodramatic!
Buy another house, that you love, that will give you better value because it won't have rotten soffits, and will give you more financial flexibility - and there will be no reason to be miserable for 3 years!

I know what you mean about being attached to houses and not wanting to move or leave but if you find another place it will be yours yours yours, yours to make into a home.

kiwidreamer Wed 29-Jan-14 21:42:25

NotJust EA definitely gets full commission as they are the letting agent so did introduce us to the property and advised us it was for sale. He even said we would be the easiest option for them but obv weren't prepared to give that financial consideration.

Blu well I never, moi a drama queen... (blows raspberry and does a wee flounce) wink I do feel better today, I think it was mainly the powerlessness that was upsetting me, we are adjusting to the idea f renting somewhere new and potentially keep looking for an investment, it will be ok, its my job to make it ok for the kiddo's --and put the pressure on DH to move back to NZ sooner--

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and advice, much appreciated.

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