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The 5 million copy
bestselling series

New house buyers

5 THINGS A SELLER MIGHT NEGLECT TO MENTION

  1. The soaring crime rate
  2. The failing school
  3. The drummer in a heavy metal band next door
  4. The granny who dropped dead in the bathroom
  5. The nightly battle between marauding cats

WHY BUY A HOUSE?

After all, renting could spare you much grief and money compared to buying a house. Let the landlord take the strain. Better still, find someone else to fork out for board and lodging. If you don’t fancy a monastery or prison, try hooking up with an heir to a stately pile. Burke’s Peerage will come in handy.

The average British home costs £170,000 which you might prefer to spend on something else – a Ferrari, for instance. Curiously, despite these possibilities, most of us opt for buying a house and a lifetime of debt and a never-ending commitment to DIY. Nearly 70 per cent of houses in the UK are owner-occupied and the number of owners has risen by one million in the last 15 years. We can’t seem to stop buying bricks and mortar.

DO YOU NEED AN ESTATE AGENT?

Some say they are indispensable tools when buying a house; others omit the adjective. Put aside your prejudices and favour the former view. If you’re a first-time buyer, a good agent can guide you through the whole wretched process.

If you’re a seller then there’s a lot of work to do without them. Dealing with time-wasters; checking the finances of potential buyers; liaising with solicitors; brokering the deal; not to mention hammering in those ‘For Sale’ boards and marketing the property. Estate agents may be bluffers, but aren’t we all?

WHAT KEEPS THE MARKET TICKING OVER?

Death, divorce, debt, disease, decay and decade (people tend to move every 10 years). Of the 6 ‘Ds’, death, at least, often has the benefit of making a house chain-free.

WHY IS BUYING A HOUSE ALL SO COMPLICATED?

To keep the legal and surveying professions occupied. Your solicitor will carry out various searches including making sure a motorway is not going to be built in the garden and a surveyor will check out the building. A full survey will almost certainly provide you with ammunition to lower the price, because a half-decent surveyor will find something wrong that should be the vendor’s responsibility to put right.

The stressful period between your offer being ‘accepted’ and the deal being completed is when you may also need the medical profession. In a rising market, a buyer risks being gazumped (a seller accepting a higher offer despite having already ‘accepted’ yours) and in a falling market, a seller may be gazundered (the buyer lowering his offer hours before completion). Both these traditional curses could be obviated by the simple expedient of a non-refundable deposit being payable on the acceptance of an offer which ‘fixes’ the agreed sale price. But that would be too easy.

Buying a houseDO AGENTS ALWAYS EXAGGERATE A HOUSE’S MERITS?

Pretty much. ‘Manageable garden’ usually means there isn’t one and ‘room for improvement’ is code for a wreck.

One legendary estate agent bucked the trend. In the 1960s, Roy Brooks would include such un-PC gems as: ‘A back bedroom suitable only for a dwarf.’ And ‘Will no one buy this poor, old house? Empty, miserable and racked by trains that pass the end of its tiny, overgrown garden.’ Roy was surprisingly successful.

MAXIMUM BLUFFING VALUE

A deposit of £14,470 will secure buying a house in Blackburn, now the cheapest place to buy a house in Britain, compared to more than £70,000 in Greater London where the average house price is £475,940.

DO SAY  ‘The transport links are tremendous. You’ll have spotted the motorway and there’s an international airport at the back.’

DON’T SAY  ‘I thought about becoming a High Court judge or a surgeon but decided I’d be of more use to society as an estate agent.’

 

Happy Bluffing!

James Trollope

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