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New to Selling Property - Advice Needed Please

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  • New to Selling Property - Advice Needed Please

    Please excuse my total ignorance but there are some things I know absolutely nothing about, selling a house being one of them. My girlfriend has the responsibility of selling the property recently vacated by her estranged husband, and she also knows very little. I'd appreciate it if any replies take this into account. Ta. Also we have no money.

    For starters the house has a very short leasehold - about 43 years: the freeholders have given a price (around £8500 + their costs) and we have been advised that the process of acquiring the freehold can be started by the GF and completed by whoever buys the property. They need £100 deposit, which I am sure we can find. The GF thinks they may be asking too much (after looking at some case law), as the ground rent is only about £12 per year, so we are wondering if a counter-offer to the freeholders would be a good idea? But to make a realistic offer we would need to pay a valuation surveyor, would we not? Or should we try and reach a figure ourselves? Or just make an offer and see what happens? As said, we have no money so paying for a VS may be out of the question. What if the property was sold without the freehold - would the new owners have to pay a lot more for the freehold if it's not gotten before the sale of the property?

    Also, we do not want to use a solicitor if it can be helped - we would like to handle the sale ourselves but I have suggested the use of a conveyencer might be a good idea at some point.

    We have spent a lot of time and effort trying to get the property up to scratch as far as cleaning and decorating, but it's only recently that it was realised that the house was still under leasehold - now it's getting a bit frustrating and we are loathe to do more at the moment - the GF fears that auction sale may be the only way to dispose of the property but that would really be a last resort.

    So, the main question is about how to deal with the offer of the freehold, with some input needed re using a solicitor/conveyencer and thoughts on having the property go to auction. Any other suggestions or advice is welcome. We haven't gone to an estate agent - should we? As buyers won't get a mortgage because of the short lease the only thing an ES would do for us is to value the property, which we have an idea of anyway.

    I'm thinking the house should just be advertised as it is and see what offers come in - see if we can attract a cash buyer for around the £90,0000 mark (properties in the area go from £110,000 - £130,000 - this one needs central heating installed plus upstairs double glazing and a few more things doing to it). If we can attract a non-cash/mortgage buyer that would be better - just don't know how it will work out on only a promise of the freehold - though I guess the offer will be binding. And on that subject - can we safely assume that the freeholders will deal with the sale of the freehold correctly, or will we need to actually get a solicitor to look at the paperwork before it is signed?

    Anyway, we'd appreciate any help or advice or suggestions. Many thanks.

  • #2
    Re: New to Selling Property - Advice Needed Please

    Originally posted by samsmoot View Post
    Also, we do not want to use a solicitor if it can be helped - we would like to handle the sale ourselves
    I think this is the problem - you say you have no experience selling, but wish to take it all on board yourselves.

    In which case, you are inviting all sorts of problems for yourself - which will make the hiring of a solicitor seem like pennies.

    I appreciate you may not have much available cash at present, but remember you have a lot of equity in the property, and frankly, trying to avoid going through a solicitor will sound like being cheap.

    Of course, if you are both dedicated enough you could do it all fine and smoothly - but really, you ought to weigh the risks of cost of a solicitor vs costs if you mis-sale.

    There is also, of course, the point that an estate agent may take a commission on sale rather than upfront costs, and also market the property for you.

    At present, the property market overall for the UK is very slow and volume of transactions are low - which means having a company with an existing marketing machine will do you in far greater stead than trying to learn how to do all the marketing yourself.

    Note that if house prices come down further - and believe me, the main buyers are cash buyers who are forcing discounts - then the longer it takes to sell, the more money you potentially lose from the property value.