Monday, 28 March 2011

It looks like I may be finally leaving London........................

As you know, three weeks ago I made the decision to sell my London house and live permanently (well for the next couple of years at least) in a small village in the Oxfordshire countryside. Yep, I was turning my back on the bright lights and big city ..... because ...... well it's obvious isn't it? ............ fields and roadkill are so much more interesting. Actually, I had better not delve into that rationale too much or I might change my mind (again).

Now interestingly enough, I had decided not to go down the usual route of having a traditional Estate Agent sell my house, for the simple reason that their fee was 1.5% of the house value for chrissake, which totalled nearly £7000 or $11,200 USD. Indeed, to put the fee into a real-life context, £7000 would buy 1,556 bottles of wine. Truly shocking.

When the Agent told me the fee, my instant (outward) reaction was, "you are kidding me?", but inside my head I was shouting 'you are trying to mug me, you bastard'.

So I pointed out to him that; "It doesn't cost any more to market a house for £450,000 than it does for one that costs £200,000, so why are your charges based on a percentage?"

The Estate Agent said, quote; "Estate Agencies have always calculated their fees as a percentage of the value of the house."

Grrrrr, lemmings have always jumped off cliffs but that doesn't make them smart. Having been in business for years myself, there is one thing guaranteed to irritate me ........... and that's people who basically say, 'we do it that way, because that's the way it has always been done.'

Now in my experience, there is generally an upside to scenarios like these. And that upside is that there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there willing to exploit dinosaur companies who don't change with the times.

And, after a bit of research, I found one such company. It was a purely web-based Estate Agent called 'The House Network.' They charged a flat fee of £525 and it included virtually all the services provided by a traditional Estate Agent. Result!

My house was listed with them three weeks ago, and in the meantime, I busied myself getting the house into tip-top condition ready for sale. The garden in particular needed some attention after quite a harsh winter by UK standards.

When it comes to gardening, I bloody love it I do. But I am not particularly good at it - unless crispy plants ever come into fashion - then I will be the Galliano of gardens (except that I don't have a weird moustache and I'm not rascist).

So for a couple of days each week (as well as fitting in my day-job), I have been driving down to London to tidy up the garden ........ and here are some pictures of one of my little projects for you to look at ................................

Pic.No.1 This was the kitchen patio before any work was done. It was covered in moss, the render was falling off the wall and the plants in the flowerbed were all dead (I probably caused that because I am more toxic-fingered than green-fingered). An old Christmas tree had also been dumped in the middle

Pic.No.2 New render was applied by 'Fat Pat' the plasterer, and the flowerbed was cleared of debris

Pic.No.3 The new render was painted (by me), a new trellis was put up and I put in some plants before finally adding tree-bark as mulch

'So', I hear you cry, 'has your hard work paid off?'

Funny you should ask that. Over the last three weeks I have conducted four viewings, and although they all loved the house, they didn't seem like serious buyers.

I got that wrong then. Today, my Estate Agent 'The House Network', telephoned me to say that one of the viewers would like to buy the house and had offered £430,000 ($688,500 USD). Woo hoo! The offer was great but it was still less than the asking price of £445,000 ($712,000 USD) but I am thinking about 'making like an Arab' and do a bit of bartering.

So tell me dahlink........ should I barter or should I accept?


  1. Ooh the patio area looks fab missus, nice one!Those tiles are rather gorgeous, aren't they. Hmm, Q1, can you afford to let it go for the reduced price, Q2, what is it costing you if it doesn't sell, Q3,see if they'll meet you nearer the middle perhaps? Good luck, whatever you decide! xx

  2. try a little barter?..see if you can squeeze another few grand out of them...

  3. I think you should hold out, point out that you could actually charge extra for the expert landscaping. It looks like Alan Titchmarch and his mob have been!

  4. My take-the-money-and-run feeling might be a little tainted as I can make a house necklace out of all of the For Sale signs I see around my neighborhood these days.

    And I love the way you found a modern-day alternative. If we all did that instead of putting out for those fancy dressed real-estate muggers (unless they sported a Cabana hat and waved a bamboo fan of course) I think change would come.

    Congratulations either way!

    ...I think I've said quite enough here today (-:

  5. You're asking US if you should sell YOUR house? Are you mad?

    Don't answer that.

    BTW, lemmings don't jump off cliffs, that's a misconception popularized by Disney.

  6. Wow, the patio looks wonderful!

    Are you up for the barter game? Or are you more ready to just unload the property? Is your asking price your bottom line or did you leave room for bartering? Do you think they went that far under your asking price because they expect a barter?

    You can always apply the 'when in doubt, don't' rule. If there are no doubts, take it.

  7. I say barter. I think it's pretty much expected and what the hell -- you can always accept their original offer. I'll have to come back using my other browser. I can't see the photos for some reason today on Firefox. :(

  8. Patio looks great! Very fine work.

    Regarding the price, I vote for meeting in the middle. In the USA sellers do not expect to get the asking price so they start with a higher price. Buyers bid less than asking price and then come up. It's a game. Enjoy, Susan

  9. The patio looks great!

    And of course barter, real estate is usually a lot of back and forth --- take it from the guy who sold his house last summer.

    Offer, counter offer, counter counter offer, etc, etc....

  10. Jumpin Jahosephat! (Yeah - I don't know what means either, but since I learned it from all those morally bankrupt cartoons growing up, I'm guessing that was one of my first ventures into developing my corrupt and vulgar vocabulary)

    You gots an offer! *doing a happy dance* (Does it matter that the happy dance is in my head? Because really, to actually do a physical happy dance could result in breaking a cat or pulling something)

    Ok...I don't know how real estate works in the UK, but I can't imagine it's much different than here in the US. (Especially since I tend to watch marathons of House Hunters International on TV, and from what I can see it doesn't look much different.) I would say...counter offer the offer you received. Counter offering is pretty well standard in most real estate transactions, so I would say try to wiggle some more of their cash out of their pockets. =)

    Patio looks fantastic! Well worth all the effort!! Keep us updated! xoxo Muwah!

  11. sell! NO, Barter! No, SELL! No can't help ya... except is the difference between the price and bid 1.5%?


  12. Barter - we had to when we bought this house & therefore had to with the couple buying our house. It all worked.
    When we bought our first house we did it privately with the owner & a solicitor. We did of course have to have a valuation so he had one done as did we. The vendor split the difference of the two valuations & that's what we agreed on - result and no agent fees to pay !

  13. I reckon most people offering less than the asking price expect to have that offer rejected. And it's worth a bit extra for the new patio alone!

    Good luck.

  14. Have you seen the potential buyers personally? Maybe then you have a feeling whether they are really interested and might go up a little higher. What if they don't want to do that - are there more potential buyers? How long can you wait? Are there special times when people buy more or seldom - in Germany jobs often start at a special season. How much rent will be lost when you don't sell? How long is the house standing uninhabited? I wish you good luck!

  15. Has your house only been on the market 3 weeks or did I misunderstand? If so, I'd probably hold out a bit unless you're desperate for the $$. Springtime is the prime buying time here.

    Good for you going with an alternate plan for selling your home. I guess that's why you're a rocket scientist or something like that.

  16. i don't know anything about real estate, but i do know you have put a tremendous amount of work into making your house so beautiful. everything looks so fantastic!

  17. Barter some more! You are not desperate....right?! If you can hold on a bit. you may get what you want, or close to it.

  18. Serviced Apartments London Lad6 January 2015 at 16:41

    It sounds like a pretty reasonable offer to me, I guess if you accept it you can focus on the other important aspects of moving house?


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