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Would this solve the issue? Re: shared drive

(17 Posts)
emsyj37 Thu 16-Mar-17 21:17:05

We would like to sell our house to move somewhere bigger. We had it on the market for a couple of months but had few viewings and no offers - and this is an area where our type of house (4 bed semi in catchment for highly desirable primary, naice area, near a train station etc) usually sells very quickly. Other similar houses have sold within days for much more than we were listed for - but here's the thing: we have a shared drive with our next door neighbour, and the houses that have sold like hot cakes all have private off road parking.

Viewer feedback tells us the issue is the shared drive. Our house is on a small cul de sac (8 houses in total) where 3 of the houses have private driveways, one has no drive/garage at all and there are 2 sets of semis that have shared driveways that lead from the road to the detached garages behind the houses. I hope that makes sense!! In practice there is plenty of on-road parking and we never have an issue parking near to the house, but we have to accept that buyers seem to want private off road parking.
So we share a drive with our next door neighbour - it is a single car width access way that runs between our two respective houses. To the front, our house has a block paved front garden with a surrounding wall and gate. Same for our neighbour. What we propose to do is take out the side wall on each house and then split the drive to the front of the houses into two parking spaces. They will be plenty wide enough to accommodate even quite a big car - roughly equivalent width to 1.5 standard parking bays on each side.
So my question is - would this resolve the problem for you, if you were a potential buyer?? There is still a 'shared' area between the two houses which leads to the garages, but in practice nobody actually ever parks in the garages (and you would have to take down a piece of our garden fence to park in our garage anyway!!) So there is a shared side access, but there would be separate private off-road parking for each house. If it is relevant, we each own our own half of the drive (split down the centre) and each have a right of access over the other house's half (in order to get to the garages). At present, the shared area is in good condition and doesn't need any maintenance work or anything.

Gosh that is long... If any of that makes sense, any comments or thoughts would be welcome. smile

KnittedDress Thu 16-Mar-17 21:25:17

Need a diagram/photo to visualise - sorry

EineKleine Thu 16-Mar-17 21:28:45

So basically you are creating ORP in your front garden? I think you should talk to your estate agent. Also check any restrictive covenants, eg they may prevent you removing the wall.

Is there anything else that could be the issue, but that people are too polite to mention? Feedback from potential buyers can err on being polite over honest sometimes. Or are you just priced too high? It does sound plausible that what you're proposing would help, but there are lots of other reasons why a house can be slow to sell.

EineKleine Thu 16-Mar-17 21:29:37

OOh yes, a diagram definitely!

Floralnomad Thu 16-Mar-17 21:34:42

IT wouldn't do it for me but then I wouldn't buy a house with shared anything .

MadisonAvenue Thu 16-Mar-17 21:44:46

That sounds very like the situation we had in our old house. They were built in the 1920s and a car's width drive was created between the houses, leading to garages in the back garden. When the house were built it would've been two separate paths to the rear of the houses.

With hindsight I wouldn't buy a house with any shared access again. We had no end of issues with our neighbours. We both did sort of what you plan to do, created off road parking in the front, but our neighbours and their visitors would regularly block our access by parking on the small shared area between the parking areas.
Having said all of that though, we did a home exchange with the house building company (we bought their house and they bought ours) and it actually sold within two days, although I know that the people who bought it did so due to location and school catchment.

emsyj37 Thu 16-Mar-17 22:28:18

Hope this diagram works...

emsyj37 Thu 16-Mar-17 22:33:08

Re: whether there is any other issue with the house - the house next door (attached to ours, the other 'half' of our semi) sold for full asking price to the first viewers last year. They have a similar internal layout to us, but the decor is older, they don't have a garage and where we have a full extension they just have a conservatory.
A friend of mine met one of the people who viewed our house at a baby group recently (just a coincidence) - she said they loved the house but were put off by the shared drive. They are now buying a house that is a very similar size/design/age but that has private parking and no garden, and is on for £10k more!

In terms of location, we have sea views so should in theory be at a premium...

emsyj37 Thu 16-Mar-17 22:36:45

"So basically you are creating ORP in your front garden? I think you should talk to your estate agent. Also check any restrictive covenants, eg they may prevent you removing the wall. "

Sort of - it won't actually encroach that much on the front garden, as we only need a small amount of it along with half of the drive to make enough space. We have talked to the estate agent and he felt it was essential to do it and should make a big difference.

I have looked at the deeds and there is nothing about removing the wall - even if there was, I can't see it being an issue as the original builders put these houses up in the 1930s and there wouldn't be anyone likely to seek to enforce the covenant now. As a matter of interest, the layout we are proposing is how the end houses are set out (so I think it will look 'right', as though it has always been like that).

WeAreEternal Thu 16-Mar-17 22:40:00

That is a beautiful diagram (bonus points for the graph paper)

I would only ever buy a house with ORP, how your house is now would definitely put me off what you are suggesting solves that problem and would definitely make me reconsider the property, the shared garage access itself wouldn't bother me.

KnittedDress Thu 16-Mar-17 23:14:52

Ok, now I've seen the (beautiful) diagram grin: the layout as it is currently would put me off because I would worry that the neighbours or their guests might at some point park so as to block my access or parking.
You solution addresses that. The shared access to the back wouldn't bother me provided that the back garden had a fence/gate so that it felt private and secure.
You will of course have to agree with your current neighbours to get the right if ways you each have across each other half of the current driveway removed so that I really is only the passageway that remains shared. If that right of way remained that would also put me off.

emsyj37 Thu 16-Mar-17 23:30:58

Thanks for the comments so far. I have spoken to our neighbour and she is happy with the proposed work (which we are doing entirely at our own expense - she is elderly and couldn't afford to contribute in any event). I don't really want to have to go down the route of amending both the property titles to remove the right of access although I do agree that technically that should happen. If the solicitor brings it up I will have to approach neighbour again... I might ring him anyway (solicitor) to see what he thinks. Our neighbour is a really nice lady and I don't want to put her out. She has readily agreed to us doing this work and I am reluctant to approach her again with another request, but I realise I may have to!

The back gardens are both fenced and gated (fully enclosed).

caroldecker Thu 16-Mar-17 23:52:00

So your new parking space blocks your (and neighbours) access to garages. You also have a worthless garage at the back because no-one can park there, even if they wanted to?
Not surprised buyers are reluctant.
However I am surprised it is £10k plus of objection.
Do you have a sex dungeon something else they are not mentioning which puts them off. Posting rightmove details would be brave but can be very helpful.

So your new parking space blocks your (and neighbours) access to garages. You also have a worthless garage at the back because no-one can park there, even if they wanted to

This.

Can't you just convert part of your garden into ORP but keep the driveway and access to the back?

KnittedDress Fri 17-Mar-17 09:20:32

Does anyone seriously park in their garage? I don't know anyone who does and I'm viewing houses have never found a car parked in one...

emsyj37 Fri 17-Mar-17 16:32:34

Yes, the effect of making 2 parking spaces will be that if you want to access the garage you would have to ask neighbour to move their car to do so. In practice neither of us ever drive up to the garage anyway. You could park in our garage (ignoring the access issue) if you wanted to, but you would have to move approx 5 feet of fence as where it is now it would make it difficult to maneouvre in and out - the fence is where it is to maximise the garden.

We could in theory make the front block paved garden into parking, but it would look ugly and you would have a view of a car from the front living room - instead of a view of the sea! So I would rather not do that, although I will tell viewers that if they need a second space they can do this.

I guess we have to accept that there will be some people who will be put off the house because of this regardless of what we do. I can't get rid of the shared drive, all we can do is create some off road parking and hope for the best. I really wish we had thought about this when we bought the house, but we loved the location of it right by the sea and the drive didn't really come into consideration. Hopefully when people see it on a sunny day with the boats bobbing on the waves they might feel the same!!! We are going to reduce the price a little bit when we go back on as well. We will be the cheapest 4 bed in this area (in the popular school catchment) then.

KnittedDress Fri 17-Mar-17 20:26:26

Someone will come along and fall in love with the location just like you did - you only need one buyer! Hang on in there smile

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