How on earth do you sell an unusual home?!!

(43 Posts)
LondonTowers Mon 20-Jul-20 23:13:36

To cut a long story short we bought our home about 4 years ago and we thought we would be here for a long time....forever! Our circumstances have changed and we have outgrown our home in so many ways.

The problem is we live in a water tower. It was converted in the 60s and we have loved it and updated it a fair bit and we have invested in it because we thought we would be staying here for a very long time.

There is a number of reasons we want to move, the property is quirky and unusual which we love but it does not work with our family dynamics anymore.

We've had a valuation from a mainstream company and I get the impression it will be hard to shift....I think it's the type of house people love but not necessarily the type they would buy..... its topsy turvy living with lots of stairs ;)

Does anyone have any advice on how to sell a quirky home?!

OP’s posts: |
newyeardelurker Mon 20-Jul-20 23:17:43

Look at the modern house estate agents - they specialize in unusual properties and have a big mailing list.

megletthesecond Mon 20-Jul-20 23:18:47

Have you tried The Modern House estate agents?
(Disclaimer; have browsed the site. Never used them, live in an ex council house ).

ChocoTrio Mon 20-Jul-20 23:20:38

Depends on the area. Is it arty? Affluent?

Quirky is also unique - and there are people who like that kind of thing.

FlamedToACrisp Tue 21-Jul-20 02:55:54

Well, firstly, you only need one buyer, as long as they buy it.

A weird house raises lots of questions, and having the answers ready would probably make it easier to sell. For example: What is it made of? How easy is it to get insurance? How would you get out in a fire? Have you tried to get planning permission/quotes to install a lift? Are there any non-standard bits eg heating? Is there any extra land with it? What maintenance needs/costs does it have? Are there any restrictions on living there which should be considered?

What are the benefits of living in a water tower?

Also, "it doesn't work with our family dynamics any more" sounds like "it's an inconvenient place to live" so it might be an idea to come up with a better reason, in case you are asked.

I'd love to see pictures!

BruceAndNosh Tue 21-Jul-20 05:42:57

You need to try and get it in the news press as well as the property press. Local newspapers might be interested in doing a picture spread which they could sell on nationally.

Tuemay Tue 21-Jul-20 06:01:29

Well you bought it so there is hope.

How long was it on the market before you bought it?


TW2013 Tue 21-Jul-20 06:03:20

Have you looked into one of those property lotteries which spring up sometimes? If it is a heart over head sort of a place then spending a fiver for a ticket may seem less daunting. You can set the number of tickets you need to sell. Something like this .

What is the area like? I think you will find it easier to sell in a lovely area with stunning views than in a run down area because even more so than other houses you are looking for a dreamer.

Rebelwithallthecause Tue 21-Jul-20 06:07:24

It’s DH and my dream to live in a water tower!

We drive past same that are unconverted (but still I’m use) and just dream

Onceuponatimethen Tue 21-Jul-20 06:55:29

Contact a national newspaper to see if they would be interested in featuring it?

ComtesseDeSpair Tue 21-Jul-20 07:34:36

We bought and sold ours (converted church, middle of graveyard, full stained glass throughout) through a regular high street estate agent. We did consider a specialist but in the end reasoned that a greater volume of general traffic through Rightmove etc would net us more interest than the handful of people who’d be signed up to alerts with a designated specialist.

We listed in August and it was under offer by Christmas (rural Scotland, slower market anyway.)

SD1978 Tue 21-Jul-20 07:35:44

Has it previously been in the newspaper? These kind of places usually have interest from the public because they are unusual. That could increase the ability to market it. Also depends on is it a country or city tower, level of refurb you've done. Quite interested in what it looks like!

Pelleas Tue 21-Jul-20 07:42:04

I love that sort of thing (I live in a very bog-standard type of house). I often idle away time on RightMove and put in search terms of 'quirky' 'unusual' 'unique' 'character' 'historic' and 'converted'- so make sure it is marketed online using search terms that will show it to the people looking for a different type of home.

FredaFrogspawn Tue 21-Jul-20 07:46:11

If you loved it enough to buy it, why shouldn’t someone else? Will it be priced so that it’s not wildly different from other nice properties of a similar floor space/garden?

I’d love to see a link but quite understand if you’d rather not!

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-20 08:39:11

Quirky places will often take longer to sell as the market for them is smaller. When we were looking we saw one quirky house that appealed to us, but that we dismissed as when we viewed it was apparent it needed work which we weren't prepared to do. It took over three years to sell and went for more than we would have thought.

You only need one person to want to buy it. You also need a good EA who will weed out the nosey parkers who've no intention of buying.

Judashascomeintosomemoney Tue 21-Jul-20 08:46:48

Well here, for a converted windmill on for about a million and on the market for ages, the answer was getting on Escape to the Country. grin The couple on the program didn’t but it but it sold very soon after, presumably the exposure helped. Might not be an option for you obviously but, my point being exposure through a different channel, not just an estate agent. Local press a good idea from PP smile

My0My Tue 21-Jul-20 09:39:46

Look at the ones Kevin McCloud has covered. One near me at Coleshill Bucks and another in London. Definitely get press coverage and look at specialist agents. Make sure it’s fit for modern living and in good condition. Repairing the top of a tower would be daunting!

HexyAndIKnowIt Tue 21-Jul-20 11:23:43

Ours is unusual with a feature that would always divide opinion. It had been on the market for quite some time before we bought it and visitors are always split between "I'd love to live here" and "Not sure I could live here".

I've browsed this site before if it helps?

PhilipJennings Tue 21-Jul-20 12:26:13

I agree with the recommendations for The Modern House - and for what it's worth, I have used them to sell my unusual property.

Mainstream estate agents will drag around everyone whose budget matches your asking price regardless of whether they've actually expressed an interest. They won't photograph it in the best way to show off the angles. And then when it predictably doesn't sell, they'll tell you to drop the price and drop the price because that's all it can be.

We had 60 viewings from 4 agencies and dropped 200k off the price before we went to TMH (thanks to a mumsnet recommendation I have to say). We didn't drop the latest price but from TMH we had eight viewings by people who actually wanted to see it and from those, three offers. The first sale fell through (on the legal side) but they found us another buyer quickly and we were moved within six months.

Rainbowshine Tue 21-Jul-20 14:03:06

@FlamedToACrisp makes some good practical points that you need to address people’s concerns up front and minimise the doubts about buying an unusual construction. Apart from whether it appeals to a buyer, is it mortgageable? If not then your pool of potential buyers shrinks and it’s cash buyers and I’d be thinking about the specialist agents and possibly auction.

Thecazelets Tue 21-Jul-20 14:37:35

There's a water tower for sale at the moment with the Unique Property Company! They had a little piece in the Evening Standard on it. Might be just a London agent though.

LondonTowers Tue 21-Jul-20 15:13:32

So I spoke to the modern house and this is what they said.....
Unfortunately our team of appraisals specialists don’t feel that we would be able to be of assistance on this occasion. This is, of course, not to say that the property is not inherently desirable – it is much more to do with our specialist market position, the particular expectations of our audience, and a keen awareness of our own strengths and limitations. We tend only to get involved where we are confident we would be able to find the right buyers and ultimately be able to add value to the sale of your property.

I don't really understand it

OP’s posts: |
Rainbowshine Tue 21-Jul-20 15:55:08

They don’t think they’ll make any money on the commission compared to the amount of work involved in marketing it.

Glendora Tue 21-Jul-20 21:52:11

Or it might be that the interiors/ design isn't what they can market. I too have sold/bought through TMH and they have quite a specific 'brand' these days - high end, design-led, etc, rather than specifically 'quirky' or unusual, or, indeed, even modern. If you look on their site, there are a lot of bog-standard period properties (in terms of exterior architecture) on there, but that have been interior-architect-designed.

Itscoldouthere Tue 21-Jul-20 22:39:17

Yes I agree (just about to complete our sale with TMH) they have a brand style and told us that they turn down at least a third of people who approach them to sell.
We had to send photos and information before they agreed to come and look at our house, so think they are very careful about what property they take on outside of London.
They attract very targeted buyers who are looking for designed homes, most are London based (well that was our experience).
Perhaps you should approach the unusual homes site mentioned by a previous poster.
Good luck with whatever you decide.

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