Today I can’t decide if I had a lucky escape…or if luck is on my side.
So the story starts last June – this diddy shop came up for sale in Lewisham, London.
It’s not much to look at, and there’s not much to it: it’s a single storey retail unit.
However, it was located on a major road and had potential for high visibility for an incoming business. I pondered to myself about having a London branch of Gorgeous Homes…
I looked into the property more: I was a little deterred by the multiple bankruptcy petitions registered on the title, and I was rather perturbed by the “tunnel” which council records claimed existed which linked a subterranean floor underneath. “Oh well”, I reasoned: “that’s a whole extra floor I didn’t know existed!” However, the major issue for me, was the planning history showed that twice before the planners had refused change of use from the present A1 usage to A2 -which is what I would need to use it as a property lettings office for Gorgeous Homes.
So I left it.
And I watched as it sold at auction last June for £65k.
But that was not the end of the story.
Just three months later, in September, I saw the property was back in auction again with a different auction house. And it had a very low guide. I mused on it for a short while. But, left it.
It went to auction – and failed to sell – even though the reserve was a measly £48k. That’s a massive £17k less than what the current owner had paid for it just three months prior!
And then the next month, I see the property listed with a different auction house and again it doesn’t sell!
And then it all goes quiet for 6 months.
Until this boomerang of a property re-appears at a June 2012 auction. Again, it’s with another different auction house – but this time it looks rather different. This time the shop seems to have morphed into some strange mongrel property – a bit of a cross between a bus shelter and a wall!
On top of this – the property is now rented at a whopping £240 per week – which on the latest reserve of £54k would produce a mind boggling yield of 23% in London!
And again it doesn’t sell.
Come July 2012 and there it is again with another auction house…and again it doesn’t sell.
Then just 2 weeks later…it’s back again – and again it doesn’t sell!
That was yesterday.
And so curiosity got the better of me: Was it a sign?
Did I keep seeing this property at auction and did it keep not selling because it was my *destiny*?
So I looked into it again – I had to!
Of course, it came as no surprise that the recent conversion works were done without planning permission or building regulation approval. And it came as no surprise that within the last few days the council have issued a notice under Section 36 of the Building Act 1984 to remove the works within 28 days or face legal action.
And I did chuckle when I saw in the legal pack a special condition which stated: “time of the essence” which in basic English means the owner is desperate to get rid. So desperate, in fact, you will potentially be completing the sale in just 5 days! (as opposed to the usual 28 days).
So having looked into it more what do I think? Hmmm…with the council deadline looming fast I think that property just got quite a bit cheaper!