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Feeling bewildered

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Feeling bewildered


Postby brightncheerful » July 15th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Yesterday morning was a pre-arranged visit by a neighbour (not literally) interested in buying our house. The possibility arose some weeks ago when I was chatting with Mr N about us selling. With interest in principle confirmed, the next stage was to visit.

Although i rarely deal with residential property, I think I am too experienced to want to sell my own home without an estate agent. Mrs BnC is content to leave that sort of decision to me: her skills are in telling me what to do to get our home looking presentable, (ie, dusting, hoovering, putting things we never keep in cupboards into cupboards, gardening, repairing weather-cracked masonry,), accompanying prospective buyers around the property and taking a break from watching politics on TV to watching Wimbledon tennis finals. We've had an estimated asking price from an agent which tallies with our thinking and I've told the agent that if N were not interested then we'd instruct the agent.

Mr N was keen to buy when we last chatted but Mr and Mrs N turning up half an hour early when Mrs Bnc and I hadn't finished making things look presentable was not on. Mrs Bnc politely asked Ns to come back at the appointed time. When Ns re-arrived, apologetic that Mr N had got the wrong time whereas Mrs N was convinced the later was correct, Mrs Bnc was charitable enough to not mention that even if the appointed had been earlier the Ns would still have been late. As the clock ticked towards the appointed time, I joked to Mrs Bnc that Ns wouldn't be coming: in the even Ns turned up almost 10 minutes late, I warned Mrs Bnc that if we have to put the property on the market officially we should get used to prospects not arriving on the dot or being too early.

Perhaps after scurrying about first thing tidying up (including some pruning in the garden) we weren't awake enough to realise that something was amiss. As the tour of the property progressed, Mrs BnC began to feel as though Mrs N wasn't really interested in moving, but had come along for Mr N. I hadn’t prepared any sales particulars and although the Ns had visited the ground floor and garden before we bought (friendly with the previous owner) they hadn’t been in since. Different people have different criteria for what they want in a house/home. Mr and Mrs N have children, we do not. Our home-life-style is to our taste and standards. Of the 4 bedrooms, only one has a bed it in. Our living room doesn’t have a sofa. There is no table or space to eat in the kitchen. One reason I gather that show homes on new housing estates are fully furnished is that the average home-buyer lacks imagination: presented with an empty room, they're obliged to think for themselves. (Even if fully furnished, chances are not until a buyer moves in with their own stuff that the buyer realises that fitting in anything much larger than a scale model of furniture is going to be squeeze!). Amongst my pride and joy is electrically operated garage doors. Mr N was impressed. Mrs N said gadget. I said I realised that I am probably the only person in the road that uses their garages to park cars in. Mrs N retorted probably the only person in the country. (I thought she should get out more, I could think of several people in the road that also use their garages to keep cars in.) Anyhow, according to Mrs N, a garage for a car isn't a criteria (sic) for buying a house.

After the tour Ns and us discussed next stage, they've promised to let us know later this week. After Ns had left, Mrs Bnc and I sat down together to carry out a post-mortem. The first thing I said was that any negative comment should be resolved. As far as we are concerned, our back garden is not overlooked: as I told the Ns, it's an optical illusion to do with the angle of view that the people of a house in a nearby road can see us from their upstairs windows. We can see their windows, not vice versa. I did my best to explain but the Ns didn't looked convinced. To convince in future, later on I popped around the corner and asked if I could take some photos from the upstairs windows so that I have something tangible to show any doubters. Kindly agreed. In fact, it is possible to see in to our garden but only if anyone in our garden is standing in one of the farthest distance flowerbeds or close up to the shed. Otherwise, c90% of the garden is out of sight. In future, rather than misrepresenting the garden not overlooked, we shall say that for all intent and purpose it is not and produce the photos. (The normal range of human vision (non peripheral) is about 55 degrees. I took the photos with a 20 degrees (wide angle) lens. If I lived in the house abutting at the back of our garden (which we cannot see from our house, unless standing on tip-toe peering over the fence) I think I'd be concerned just how much of that neighbour's garden the people whose upstairs windows look over our garden can see!) (Fortunately this isn't the sort of area where people are nosey about what might be happening in neighbours' gardens -

On one hand, it might be of interest to the popular media if the Ns bought our house because the people they bought their house from were the same people we'd bought our house from. This is not a landlord buy-to-let scenario. A few years before we bought, the vendor had relocated from owning what is now N's house to what is now our house because the vendor had young children and the latter is a bigger property with a south-facing garden.

On the other, the original price of what is now N's house was a lot lower than the original of what is now our home because houses in this road are different and N's house is smaller overall: a factor that was brought home when Mrs N viewed our bedroom and remarked upon the size of our bed and surrounding space compared to theirs. The price differential hasn't narrowed and I think too the occupier customisation fit-out has widened. I do not know the original spec for N's house but from righmove I know how much they paid for it. To buy ours, as well as selling their house, I'm told they'd need to increase their mortgage and so on. There is another property for sale on the market currently and I get the feeling that compared to that the Ns think we are asking too much for ours. From the details on-line of that other house, i don't think the spec is as good as ours or that the garden is south-facing.

On balance, Mrs Bnc and i concluded the Ns are out of their depth, not in our target market for buyers. Mixing business and pleasure I am not prone to doing. We await their response with interest. If the Ns have enough confidence then I’d like to think they'd do the decent thing (which would also not prejudice our friendship) and say they're not interested in buying. If they'd don't have the confidence then either they'll offer the full price in which case we'll have to embark upon a chain or more likely since we suspect affordability could be an issue they'd take a chance and offer way below what we're asking so that if we say yes then they'll think they've got a bargain. I don't want to prejudice the friendship and Mrs Bnc and I would prefer the house to be sold to someone who's pick up on the fit-out where we've left off (we realise that a successor buyer can do what they like with it) so I have decided that if the Ns do offer less then I'll decline, adding, if the mood takes me, that the price I quoted was already less than we'll be quoting when the property is on the open market.

Mrs Bnc recovered from the experience watching Wimbledon tennis on TV. Your truly is not as exhausted as yesterday. We both regarded the experience as a rehearsal for what we think will possibly be the conventional experience of selling and buying a house in a chain, including showing prospective buyers around our home. Making and keeping the house look presentation when selling will we think be less exhausting than having to accommodate remarks from people that might find our life-style challenging, something that we've never had to previously endure - on the two previous occasions we've moved - throughout our married life, 26 years next month. As I’ve said to Mrs Bnc, the moment the decision to offer the house for sale in the open market, it’s not emotionally ours. Emotional detachment is the secret of a straightforward sale. Currently, I am emotionally attached: the desire to move is Mrs Bnc's and if I ever feel the need to become depressed looking at the calibre of property we'd get for what we want to spend is the quickest way to trigger the feeling. But I must rise to the occasion. As she has told me, where we are is a result of what I wanted. Now it's her turn.


ps - I very much doubt that the Ns would be on TLF and/or that anyone else would recognise the similarities and put two-and-two together but if the remote possibility arises then please do the decent thing.

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