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Something fishy is going on...your urgent advice please!

18 replies

notasize10yetbutoneday · 16/04/2010 11:29

Hi all

We have an offer on our house and last night went to view a house. It was perfect, ticks all the boxes, but is right at the top end of our budget.

One of the things which appealed to us most was as a future family house (we are currently TTC)and the owner spent ages telling us how they had lived there 20 years and raised their 3 children there, etc etc. She mentionned several times how they had bought it 'off the plans' 20 years ago when it was being built.

Anyway...this morning I was googling it (as you do), and according to several websites, (globrix, zoopla, our local newspapers property section):
The house was sold/bought in 2008 for £35k UNDER the current asking price!!!

I really don't know what to make of it? i don't understand whats going on, and it does seem odd as althought the house might be perhaps slightly over-valued in todays market, the price in 2008, well you would snap their hand off!

What do you think might be going on? And how should we play it given that we would like to make an offer, but at the moment I feel like something fishy is going on?

Any advice appreciated.

OP posts:
justallovertheplace · 16/04/2010 11:32

It may be some kind of tax thing? Sold in name only, from one partner to the other perhaps, iyswim?
Or they could just be telling you what you want to hear? I wouldn't say it's fishy. It's hardly in the same league but I once sold a pram I'd never even used and gushed in the description how much my baby loved being in it
I would put in an offer of say £15k under the asking and see what happens

TaurielTest · 16/04/2010 11:38

Can't you ask the estate agent (if it's not a private sale) - just say "we understand that the owners have been there twenty years, can you explain why it seems to have changed hands two years ago?"
I'd also let the price it went for then guide the offer you make, and tell the estate agent that too.

fabhead · 16/04/2010 11:41

we've seen 2 incidences of this recently. They are lying to try and attract you. They don't seem to realise that you can check definitively when a house was last sold at the land registry site.

notasize10yetbutoneday · 16/04/2010 11:46

Thanks for your advice, we are new to the buying and selling game (bought our first house 4 years ago) so all advice appreciated.

The lady owner is a divorcee so I guess that could be it...but I wouldn't have expected the price to be as low as that...unless it was the most amicable divorce ever?!

The estate agents is one of those 'do it yourself' ones where you are supposed to fill in a form online if you want to make an offer! Call me old fashioned but I would quite like to speak to someone...

OP posts:
fabhead · 16/04/2010 11:48

maybe they bought it 2 years ago and did a lot of work? I think a lot of people are trying it on in a fresh spring market though. If you really like the house I would offer a little bit more that what it went for in 2008 and state that that is what you are doing.

bran · 16/04/2010 11:53

If she's divorced then it could have been transferred to her as part of the divorce settlement, in which case the value given at transfer doesn't necessarily reflect market rate at the time.

notcitrus · 16/04/2010 11:53

Ask the owner and see what she says - she'll then know you aren't stupid. Unless they've really done lots of work since I'd go for a similar price to 2008.

We nearly bought a house needing work - on the second visit we asked about a crack in the lounge wall which Mrs Owner had said appeared in WWII. She confirmed it hadn't got any bigger since, just they'd never redecorated the lounge. Sadly for her Mr Owner then came in and said "oh yeah, that appeared a couple years ago"! Which confirmed the whole place was too much work for us (going into the loft and getting wet from the rain had clued us in earlier...)

MillyMollyMoo · 16/04/2010 12:05

Call me old fashioned but I would quite like to speak to someone...

Why you won't get any sense/the truth anyway.

I think with these situations you just have to offer what the house is worth to you and then they can only say no.

Feelingsensitive · 16/04/2010 12:31

You say she is a divorcee - perhaps the transaction happened when her divorce went through. Maybe she had to take out as mortgage or something. I think they are just trying to attract you to the house.

WoodenFish · 19/04/2010 21:50

View the house again and ask her outright - I see the house was sold 2 years ago, but I thought you'd lived here 20 years? - If there's an innocent reason she won't be fazed by your question, but if there's something fishy going on then you will be able to tell.

Re the price - remember that anyone can put any price they like on thier house - it does not mean it is worth it. The estate agents advise what they think it is worth but people often ignore the valuation and ask a fair bit more for it. So I would say to her it's gone for £X 2 years ago, I'll offer you £a little bit more but not £35 K more.

smugmumofboys · 19/04/2010 21:58

I think people will say whatever they think it takes to sell their house.

Ask her outright.

cassell · 19/04/2010 22:13

Why don't you check the ownership at the land registry here, download the title register (it costs a couple of pounds or something) but will tell you who bought/sold it in 2008 and the exact price paid.

Does sound a bit odd but may be some sort of tax dodge by the sellers (e.g our current house was owned by an offshore company and had to be transferred to an onshore company before we bought it)

fluffles · 19/04/2010 22:18

if she's divorced then i think she bought her partner out at a discounted rate - that'll be why it's low but she has lived there for 20 years.

i would bet on that being the case.

lalalonglegs · 20/04/2010 19:46

The LR does occasionally make mistakes with both selling prices and house numbers - so might not even be her house that sold.

notasize10yetbutoneday · 21/04/2010 15:30

Thanks for the advice everyone. I did download the Land Registry document and as Fluffles correctly assumed, a Mr and Mrs CurrentOwner bought the house together in 1991 and then (following divorce, presumably), Mrs CurrentOwner bought it at the discounted rate.

We are viewing it again on Thursday and will most likely put an offer in after that, so wish us luck! We can only got to a maximum of 10k under the current asking price so we've got everyhting crossed.

OP posts:
Feelingsensitive · 21/04/2010 17:29

Fingers and toes crossed for you. How exciting

fanjolina · 24/04/2010 23:07

have you put the offer in?

notasize10yetbutoneday · 27/04/2010 08:48

We put an offer in yesterday of 10% below asking price (there is some work to be done on it) and it was rejected. The agent came back and said they will only accept offers of 5% below asking price and above. So we have offered 5% below and haven't heard back yet, argh!

We can't afford to go to the full asking price as we took a hit of 6% on ours. Argh again!

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