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help needed selling a potentially fabulous house please! (bit long!)

(31 Posts)
chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 15:08:58

very long story short....

my dad is selling my late grampas house. it was all going through, but the buyer is threatening to pull out unless we accept 20k less on the house based on the survey results (which he has had for the last two months) the agent is going to email us the results later.

the worst part about all this is that my mum died 5 weeks ago, and my dad just doesn't need the extra hassle...sad is in the rhondda valley (commutable to cardif easily) it is about 100 years old, 5 bedroom house, LOADS of lovely original features..fireplaces, doors, floors etc, off street parking, garage (actually a stable!) and potentially is gorgeous! it is in need of complete renovation and would appeal to someone i'm sure... it has been up with a local agent who are proving to be shite.

how can i market the house to appeal or even to be visable to people from outside our local area or those from away who may be interested in renovating it???

any advice geatly received.

ta very much.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 10-Aug-09 15:10:58

Have you got some pictures? could you pop them on your profile so we can have a look??

chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 15:17:38

i've not got pics..tbh, the pics that the agent took are not great...the house is empty (apart from some old fashioned carpets and furniture) and doesn't show its potential..

tbh, the person who buys it will need vision! but potentially, it is lovely...would move myself there myself, but we're happy where we are....

edam Mon 10-Aug-09 15:23:45

Sounds like you need a new agent. Appealing to people from outside the area = RightMove or PrimeLocation - make sure your agent puts the house on one or both of these. With a good write up selling the best points and nice pics.

edam Mon 10-Aug-09 15:24:15

sorry about your Mum, btw

navyeyelasH Mon 10-Aug-09 15:25:31

20k is an awful lot off; what is that as a % of the value of the house?

Is the agent stressing the new communter link to Cardiff? Also is it online?

chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 15:29:07

here, i'll link to it online...its only up for £75k to start, which i feel is too low!

this is it

GrendelsMum Mon 10-Aug-09 15:31:39

So sorry to hear about your mum's death - what a terrible time to have to sell the old family house as well.

First of all, does the agent have photos on RightMove and Globrix? Are they good photos? Do they make the rooms look large and light, even if the house is clearly in need of work? This is how people will find the house.

Is the agent the right sort of agent for the type of house? Different agents do very different sorts of selling materials, and there's probably an agent that does most of the potentially fabulous houses and makes them look great.

There's a website called which I think does adverts for old houses? Or you could try asking there for where people who want to buy old houses recommend.

Do you have photos of all rooms, and a good floorplan on the agent's website?

In a similar situation, my sister recommended having a kitchen company do a kitchen design to show to people - she says a lot of people don't have much imagination when they look at an empty room. You could also get some bathroom designs done. You could also try getting some quotes for the work to give people an idea of what the costs might be.

If the survey's really bad, you may want to be very very upfront with people about what the issues are, rather than have sales fall through. The seller of our current house did this (actually handed us a copy of the survey), and it meant we knew all along we were buying a house with a bit of a damp problem, which meant when our solicitor said 'are you sure you know what you're getting yourself into?' we were reasonably confident to say 'yes'!

One other option is to do the worst of the renovations yourself if you can afford it - pay for the re-wiring, central heating to be installed and a new roof (or whatever it needs), and then sell it as something that is fundamentally sound but needs re-decorating. You could even sand the floorboards, re-enamel the bath and splosh some magnolia paint around, and claim it's fully re-developed.

edam Mon 10-Aug-09 15:34:14

Gosh, the agents aren't really shouting about all the original features/potential/good commute or location, are they?

Not trying hard enough IMO. You need to can this lot and get a new one who takes MUCH better pics and can write something that really highlights all the good points.

For price, try looking on the property threads here for links to sites where you can see what similar houses have sold for in the same area - there are various sites that use Land Registry figures. shows trends, I think.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 10-Aug-09 15:34:42

oh dear.
Right, for the fluffy make over you need to spend a little money, it will cost you more to reduce the price by 20K!!

It needs decorating, slap some paint (cream) over those walls, some pictures (try Ikea), what's under the carpet?
There are places that hire out furniture.

Get a lawnmower out for the garden, a few pots with some plants in them, a patio set (yours if you have one)

Lizzylou Mon 10-Aug-09 15:40:41

Comepletely agree with Fluffy.
Can you spend a little bit on "tarting" up the house?
Plain walls and cheap neutral carpet, just to show size of rooms etc.

The Estate Agent shows it has 4 bedrooms when it is 5 and the details don't exactly sell it.
With a bit of cosmetic work and some good pics you could easily sell that house (£75k for all those lovely rooms and period features?!!!).

Have you time/energy/money to sort it though?

chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 15:47:14

thanks everyone.

we were told catagorically not to spend ANY money on it.

the rooms are all empty now..nothing in them at all.

the walls have corners of damp in them..treated now, but in bad repair. tbh, its not in ned of "tarting up"..its past that...when you see it in person, you can see it for what is is, which is filled with potential.... the rewiring was done fairly recently, so i don't think needs doing.

will look at other agents and the websites mentioned.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 10-Aug-09 15:48:17

Could you swap furniture for a few weeks if you don't want to rent? Just whilst the house is for sale? How it appears at the moment is that it needs alot of work and updating, this is what's putting people off. You need to give them the impression that they can just move straight in. Neutral walls, no clutter, if the floor boards under the carpet are in good condition then get them sanded and varnish them, your DH could do this, he can hire a sander from Jewsons.

edam Mon 10-Aug-09 15:48:43

Definitely get new pix done with no furniture in the rooms.

Lizzylou Mon 10-Aug-09 15:54:28

But could you get it replastered? Then just paint?
If it is structurally sound and the rewiring is OK, it shouldn't be too bad, is there Gas central heating?

GrendelsMum Mon 10-Aug-09 15:56:48

You do have all my sympathies - my mum and I tarted up my gran's home to sell it (we needed as much cash as poss to pay for her care) and it was very emotional at times.

That's an awful push by the estate agent. Downright irresponsible, really. There's no way they should have taken photos like that - there are agents near here who will bring bloody bunches of flowers and shuffle the furniture to get good shots. I hate to say it, but it's very obvious from the photso even that the house has been left to itself while the family has other troubles, and I think that the buyer has realised this and is trying to take advantage of you. And to be honest, the photos are so awful that I can imagine some people imagining that the house was previously owned by a batty old lady with 25 cats who hoarded cash under her bed and who was finally dragged into a care home kicking and screaming.

I agree with Edam - at the least, you need an agent who'll say something like

"This spacious 4/5 bedroom family house, with a wealth of original features, is within 45 minutes commute of central Cardiff."

You also need to go back up there for a weekend, and at the least to get it sorted out so that you can do good photos - this may mean removing curtains / nets, taking up old carpet to expose floorboards, etc.

Have you had a chance to clean the house? We scrubbed granny's house all over, quite literally and it made a big difference.

But really, if you can, I'd agree with Fluffy, and that it's worth painting the house as well, taking the carpets up to show the floorboards and trying to stage it slightly with some spare, reasonably modern furniture. She's right on the garden, too. I think that awful thing is supposed to be a patio, but the weeds are so bad I genuinely can't tell. It looks like someone's doing the front hedge, so could they do the back garden as well? Pay a neighbour's teenager £6 to go and keep it under control once a week?

BTW, if not to your taste, you might be able to Ebay some of your grandad's furniture, you know - that 70s style is very fashionable with some people, and it's nicer that taking it to the skip.

chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 15:57:06

but the thing is fluffy, it does need a lot of work, and can't just be moved in to. i don't think that anyone will be fooled by a lick of paint...

its not floorboards downstairs..its lovely black, white and red floor tiles..but again, we were advised to leave them covered...

i'm in the middle of extending my own house, looking after 3 kids and trying to live day to day with missing my mum and struggling a bit, and my dad is still dealing with paperwork relating to all kinds of stuff relating to my mum and neither of us have the time, energy or inclination to do it....

i appreciate i must sound like one of those posters in AIBU who just won't take the advice thats being offered! lol

Lizzylou Mon 10-Aug-09 16:00:50

Sorry Chimchar, I had forgotten that you must be grieving as well on top of all of this sad

Why did they say to leave the tiles covered?

I work for an estate agents in East Lancs (only on a Saturday, am no expert)where it is Victorian terraces agogo, flagged and tiled floors are so sought after!

Do you know any local builders who could help you?

I am surprised that no investors have snapped it up, it is a real Sarah Beeny type house that people could make big money on.

Hope you're OK

chimchar Mon 10-Aug-09 16:02:58

oops..x posted grendle.

the house is clean, and my dad is going to do the garden when he is able...

its difficult. i agree. i think it needs to go with someone else.

tbh...i just re read my original post...i think what i'm asking for is not what i can do to the house to sell it, but more WHERE i can advertise it so it gets out to a wider audience, not just those people looking within the rhondda...

Sidge Mon 10-Aug-09 16:06:45

Those estate agent's details on the website are awful! They say 4 beds when it's 5 and the details aren't clear. The pictures are poor and even though it needs work doing I can't believe they've put it on for OIEO £75K, even in this climate.

Have you thought about selling it at auction? Also if you were able to completely gut it to a shell, get it plastered and put a base coat on I bet it would be a lot more appealing to someone looking for a do-er up-er.

edam Mon 10-Aug-09 16:07:47

You do need to go with another agent, get lovely pics that show off the original features (inc. the floor), details that highlight all the fab points and has properties on RightMove/PrimeLocation where buyers from all over the country can see them.

GrendelsMum Mon 10-Aug-09 16:10:27

I think the problem is that the photos are so awful that they don't make it clear that the house does have potential. The photo with the curtains closed, for example, stops you from getting any idea of how much light it has. It's hard to see any original features, which you say the house has plenty of. The rooms look small to me, which I think is partly because of the furniture and the carpets. Also, it's not at all clear which room the photos are showing - are they downstairs? upstrairs? et.

The brochure ought to make it clear what needs doing and what doesn't, I think. I'd never guess from those pics that it has central heating and has recently been re-wired and damp treated - it's in much better nick than the photos and brochure suggest.

I think the brochure ought to say something like

"The house has gas central heating throughout, and was re-wired in 2005. 8 of the 11 rooms have double glazing, and the further 3 retain the original 19th century stained-glass windows."

Not sure about this, but I might also get the estate agent to say straight up to people when they phone "the house has had damp, but it has been fully treated, here's the certificate from the damp company."

sb6699 Mon 10-Aug-09 16:10:29

That is a beautiful house. Unfortunately its nowhere near us!

I think the buyer is taking the piss because of the current market tbh - in relation to the asking price £20K is ALOT.

Agree with others that the Estate Agent isnt making the most of it - original features and tiled floors are a HUGE plus to someone like me and I would be prepared to pay more for a house that had them.

Have you advertised privately in the local newspapers for the surrounding areas. My local rag is my first port of call every week.

PS sorry for your lossXX

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Mon 10-Aug-09 16:14:02

You've got alot on though, it must be really hard for you so I imagine this is the last thing you want to do. Could you take it off the market for a while, just so you don't have to worry about it?

GrendelsMum Mon 10-Aug-09 16:19:03


I do partially understand how hard it is to be asked to sell a house which isn't just a house but a home when you're grieving your mum's loss. My mum did find it very difficult (including hysterical moment when she mistook the estate agent who actually knew my gran for a funeral director touting for business). It may be that from the emotional side, the best thing to do is simply to sell to the current buyer?

But I do honestly think that if you're going to advertise it to people outside the Rhonddha, they have to understand why it's worth coming to look at, especially if you're pushing it to the period property types. That means making it clear what the potential is, and what work will and won't need to be done.

Best wishes for whatever you decide.

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