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!
I’m afraid, I’ve missed something in the post.
1) owners are trying to get rid of the property
2) it does not sell?
Is it because “the planners had refused change of use from the present A1 usage to A2” and owners can’t commercially use it within existing planning permissions/usage categories?
Julie – you are right to ask!
1)I don’t know why the owners are trying to get rid – but they started trying to sell it as soon as they owned it!
a) they thought they could flip it and make a quick profit
b) their personal circumstances changed
c) there is an issue with the building/area
2) My guess why it’s not selling is because reserve is set too high and doesn’t allow for the issues (with building/area)
So are you going to buy it? Go on, you know you want to 🙂
Have decided against it due to gaining planning required – don’t think it’s worth the risk
Or does it have a negative value now?
I drive pass this everyday. I sat in traffic one morning and the brickie was so quick I almost saw him put up the whole front; I thought he looked like he was up to no good! I wouldn’t buy it. Nightmare road, although you’re right in that if has plenty of visibility, mainly from peeved commuters, but I don’t think it would brand match with Gorgeous Homes. Some of the surrounding areas are gold mines tho. I’ve bought properties in Hilly Fields and Brockley, both great unsung areas. Good luck.
Steve – I LOVE that you know the property and saw the brickie do the work!
Having looking into it more, I really don’t think this will fit with Gorgeous Homes – esp. not given the planners have an obsession with the “street scene”…don’t think our vivid pink colours will go down very well!
Thanks for the area tips – will keep my eyes peeled
Steve as you know this area well – have you got any ideas why this property will NOT sell?
Not much that can be added really except for the fact that I’m fairly sure the building above the shop is HMO, which is never ideal. The shop used to be a barbers and if it’s stuck with A1 then I would suggest that’s all it’s good for; a ‘destination’ service if you like rather than a convenience service because although it has huge traffic flow, I would doubt foot flow is particularly high with its middling position between St Johns and Lewisham. I’ll keep an eye on it and see what happens!
Thanks Steve, that’s interesting local knowledge. Yes, would love to know what happens next with this little place!
any news about this property in the last month?
it appears that there is no parking, unless there’s a carpark right outside the frame of the picture. this could be the reason it won’t sell but i have a couple of theories regarding the tunnel and subterranean floor. one is that the structure is unsound and the sub floor is unsafe. each owner discovers what it would cost to repair and decides to cut their losses. the other theory is, it’s not only unsafe, it’s caving into an abyss occupied by monsters out of h. p. lovecraft! beware! as you value your life or your reason, keep away from the shop of doom! yog sototh! AAAAGHHHH!
(but let me know if i’m right, ok?)
Of course you’re right. There can be no other explanation 🙂
i’d like to know where that tunnel goes…
are you up for a midnight expedition?
Why can you only explore the tunnel at midnight?