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Retirement flat won't sell, wolves at the door - desperate

(55 Posts)
jugglingeverything Sun 22-Oct-17 10:45:08

I have been trying to sell my mum's McCarthy Stone retirement flat for a year now. Only had about 8 viewings, changed EA. No joy. Have reduced the price several times. I have lots of debts of my own. I'm a single parent, ex pays nothing and have huge mortgage. Also have lots of bills to pay off from mum's care. REALLY REALLY need to sell this flat. Icing on cake is that the property management company are now threatening legal action as they say I owe £4K service charge for the last year. I've said I'll pay once sold but they are hounding me. They've offered a "monthly scheme" but I just don't have the funds - I can't meet my existing bills. My mortgage has been interest only for the last 6mths as couldn't afford it once ex stopped paying. Child maintenance service useless. If I cant get bank to agree to continue interest only I may end up loosing my own home. I work 37-48hrs a week. There is no way to get more money coming in.

I really wish my mum was here as she'd know what to do but I'm on my own now.

The only option I can see I have left is one of these quick buy schemes. I think its really wrong to be put in this position but what other options are there? I have reduced and reduced but you have to be 60+ to live there and I think this age group are twitched by brexit etc. Every time I reduce it means if I do end up using one of these schemes I will get even less.

I considered them before but felt I was being ripped off so persisted with EAs but have got nowhere. I can't help feeling I should be grateful I am getting anything. I should still be able to clear a lot of my debt which means I might be able to make my mortgage payments. But it still feels like a bad choice.

Advice please x

LittleLights Sun 22-Oct-17 10:48:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleLights Sun 22-Oct-17 10:49:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CiderwithBuda Sun 22-Oct-17 10:51:58

I hadn't heard of these and just googled. They look good and like a good idea.

You could link to it on here and see if people can suggest anything obvious you might not t have thought of as to why it's not selling.

DancingLedge Sun 22-Oct-17 10:52:16

2 units where PIL live have been rented out quite quickly.

ShellyBoobs Sun 22-Oct-17 11:03:40

Trying to rent it out might be the best option, as others have said.

I saw something on a news programme recently about the difficulties of achieving a good sale price on retirement properties, so it sounds like you're not alone, OP. flowers

A couple of news articles here (apologies if you're already fully aware of the general position with retirement property sales. I don't wish to heap on the misery):

BBC article

Sun article

jugglingeverything Sun 22-Oct-17 11:41:31

Trouble is if I rent out I am still liable for the astronomical service charge and ground rent, not to mention insurance repairs etc. I'd need to pay tax on the income and I really don't feel I can become a landlord on top of everything else in my life. I need to free up the capital to clear some of my loans and reduce my mortgage. Renting would help a little with this but I'd still be struggling with everything x

Bearbehind Sun 22-Oct-17 11:59:02

Quick buy schemes will offer you a very low price as they need to sell it on for a profit.

If you advertise it for a much lower price i.e., approximately what the quick buy company would sell it on for then you'd be in a better position.

I think you have to be completely dispassionate about it; the estate is an inheritance. Anything you get is more than you had before so just drop the price; everything will sell if the price is low enough.

Floralnomad Sun 22-Oct-17 12:02:43

We have a friend who lost his mum in Feb and her retirement flat sale completed last month . They can take a while to sell as they are generally quite pokey . I do think it's a case if either hanging on for the price you want or making sure it's the cheapest one available .

KitKat1985 Sun 22-Oct-17 12:23:18

Honestly I'm going to go against the grain here and say if the wolves are really at the door and there's a real risk that you are going to lose your own home / risk legal action I'd probably go down the 'quick buy' scheme route. Yes you won't get anywhere near as good a price for it as on the open market, but you'll clear the debts and get your peace of mind back.

KitKat1985 Sun 22-Oct-17 12:24:01

Honestly I'm going to go against the grain here and say if the wolves are really at the door and there's a real risk that you are going to lose your own home / risk legal action I'd probably go down the 'quick buy' scheme route. Yes you won't get anywhere near as good a price for it as on the open market, but you'll clear the debts and get your peace of mind back.

Dumbledore345 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:18:27

Is the flat part of your mother‘s estate? If that is the case you have no personal liability for the service charges etc. The management company can make a claim against the estate - but not against the heirs personally, so your own home should not be at risk. You do not inherit debts and liabilities.

I would advise an appointment with a lawyer as you should not have been placed in this position.

Sorry about your mum. flowers

Dozer Sun 22-Oct-17 13:20:51

LOwer the price even further?

Haffdonga Sun 22-Oct-17 13:26:38

Can you find out how much a quick buy scheme would offer you then reduce the price to say just ten grand more than that?

nemno Sun 22-Oct-17 13:37:05

This sound so stressful. I'd definitely look into what price the quick buy companies would give you and talk to your estate agent re the ones who have already viewed or others on their books buying at that level. You seem to be suggesting that you daren't advertise at that price in case the quick buy lot offer even less. So don't advertise the price, just get your agent to indicate to prospective buyers what you would accept.

One thing. If your managing agents are like ours then they won't release the buyers' pack to your buyers with a debt still due to them and your buyer's solicitor will get twitchy about debts on the property. The previous poster suggests the debt is to the estate so maybe they can be negotiated with to accept the payment on sale of property. Just wanted to give you advance warning about this. Also the managing agent and freeholder charged us £300 and £400 just as fees to provide the buyer's solicitor with the legal documents. We feel totally gouged by that and hope that isn't typical.

Shakey15000 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:40:45

4K a year service charge? That’s incredibly high! Is that the charge for one year or longer? That would put a lot of people off though I know it’s a condition.

Is it in good order and presented well?

bilbodog Sun 22-Oct-17 13:58:14

Weve recently moved my MIL from one retirement flat to another and taken a massive hit on the price to do so. We eventually took the home exchange option being offered by the new flat as otherwise MIL would have been waiting for ever to move and at 86 you may not have the time left to do that. Flat was originally valued by a number of agents at £325-350k and we had zero interest for a few weeks so took the exchange offer which was £263. Her flat is still on the market 6 months later having dropped price to around £270 now. There are also 2 other flats on the market in the same development priced at £350. I think part of the problem might be that the property market is not good at the moment so elderly people who might want to move cant sell their family homes in order to downsize. If the quick buy scheme offers you enough might not be a bad decision to take it.

Shakey15000 Sun 22-Oct-17 14:02:38

Just had a quick look on their website, a 2bed in Scotland service charge for example is £50 odd a week and even in Hampshire on a 2bed with a sale price of £465,000 shock the service charge is £60.70 per week.

So I’d double check that request for 4K (unless it’s for more than a year etc)

DarthMaiden Sun 22-Oct-17 14:26:45

Have you checked how much other properties on the complex have sold for - try the zoopla website to check.

EA’s can give a higher price to entice you into using their services so you need to be realistic about price.

Any property that has a restriction on it is going to be harder to sell - simply as it’s a reduced market.

Is the flat in good condition? These properties tend to appeal because (when new) they are extremely low maintenance. If your flat needs new carpets/painting/kitchen etc it’s absolutely going to put people off. Equally true if it’s still full of your mother’s things. I’m sorry to be blunt, but in the circumstances no buyer wants to be reminded of the reason why this property is on the market. They want a pristine “shell” they can move into.

Your issue is if any of these things are an issue you don’t have the money to address them.

I think your choices are to try and rent it ASAP which would give you income to pay the service charge on a monthly basis or accept you are going to have to get less than expected.

I don’t think it hurts to get a quote from a house buying company and see what they offer. Worst case you could reduce the price to just a bit above that and see if you get more viewings.

However as above - if there are issues with the flat then frankly you may be as well to take what you can get for it. Even at a further reduced price it may not sell if it needs some work.

Your inheritance is being eroded by the charges and no good to you locked up in a property you can’t sell.

bilbodog Sun 22-Oct-17 15:43:01

Another thing - check out what you might have to pay if you rent or sell the flat on - a lot if these flats have a transfer fee which needs to be paid when they exchange owners or get rented out - we had to pay another few thousand (cant remember how much now) as part of the sale to the original management company.

WhatwouldOliviaPopedo Sun 22-Oct-17 15:51:54

I don't want to panic you, but you need to urgently check what the flat's lease says will happen if you don't clear that service charge debt. I had a flat with a SC and I'm pretty sure the law states a freeholder can apply to a court for a repossession order in the matter of non-payment. So I suggest you sort that out as a priority or you might not end up with a flat to sell. I know you'll get a much lower return but I think one of the quick sale schemes might be the best option if you that desperate for the cash.

jugglingeverything Sun 22-Oct-17 16:49:23

Its a lovely flat, completely empty, repainted and new carpets when I put it on the market. It went on the market at the price the last similar property in the block went for and has been dropped by £20k since then. I think the problem is just the market and the service charge. I will look at the small print to see if their are any nasties but if I don't have the moeny then I don't have the money. If a sale was going through I could stick it on a credit card short term but can't do that without knowing the funds will come in soon. I'm sure there will be sneaky transfer fees too. I just want shot of it. Its too painful. I just want it to sell x

Floralnomad Sun 22-Oct-17 16:54:48

Unless you have signed something to say you will pay your mothers bills I don't see how they can harangue you if her estate is still tied up in the flat . If there is a solicitor involved it might be worth just getting them to send a letter saying that the bills will be paid when the flat Id sold and stop pestering you or else .

jugglingeverything Sun 22-Oct-17 16:57:08

Thank you for the advice about probate. I need to write to the company so I will point that out to them and mention the financial ombudsman. Failing that I will need to find solicitor x

DarthMaiden Sun 22-Oct-17 17:09:42

Fundamentally I think your mother would want you to be financially secure and if that meant selling her flat for less than it might be worth to address your own mortgage repayments and be able to meet your monthly outgoings I think most parents would be happy with that decision.

It’s not ideal I know, but the stress of wondering if it will sell, whilst debts are mounting and preventing you from re-financing your own house feel to me to be worth the trade off.

It’s absolutely vital however you check out the potential issues pp’s have already raised about a) the estate vs you being liable for the fees b) can you sell whilst service charges are outstanding.

Getting a price from a home-buying company just gives you more information. Yes the offers are low, but it’s a guaranteed sale. If you wait you might get an offer from someone who then pulls out (after you’ve paid solicitors fees). You also need to consider you wouldn’t be paying EA fees if you sold this way.

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