I know people buy property with estate agents all the time, but when you’re a property auction addict like me – buying a property with an estate agent is NOT an everyday occurrence.
In fact, I think the last time I bought a property with an estate agent was like FIVE years ago.
And my God it was stressful.
As it is now.
I swear buying property with an estate agent is far more stressful than buying property at auction – which probably explains why I have NOT bought a property with an estate agent for 5 years!
So what’s the story?
Well, I have been on the hunt for a new investment property. And, having identified where I wanted to buy and what sort of property and budget I wanted to pay, I set up a Rightmove alert to inform me every 24 hours of anything new coming onto the market which fit my criteria.
Hours, days and weeks passed with nothing of much interest until Friday when I saw a property which I decided was worth a look. I got straight on the phone to the estate agent and booked a viewing for Monday.
The property is, I have to admit, a complete SH*THOLE. It is fire-damaged and repossessed. Which obviously, given I usually buy from auction, fits my natural selection criteria!
So I viewed the property – which is the WORST property on the street – which is a good rule of investment.
And while at the viewing I then discovered that although the property has only been on the market for a few days there have already been several offers put forward, all of which were in excess of the asking price.
Hmm – this wasn’t what I was thinking happened in our current housing market!
And then while at the viewing (which was a block viewing – again just like auction so I felt in my comfort zone!) I overheard another of the viewers placing a higher offer with the estate agent.
Hmm – again, this was not what I was expecting. So I figured I better prepare myself to decide and act quick and treat the estate agent buying situation as if it were an auction buying process.
So I did my sums. I worked out what my top “bid price” was and called the estate agents the next morning – which was just in time as they were about to submit all offers to the bank.
Given that I had decided this buying situation was more akin to the auction process than the usual estate agency route, I decided to just be upfront and ask the estate agent what the current top bid was for the property.
And, surprisingly enough, he told me. I have no idea if I caught him off guard, or if when it’s a repossession you’re able to disclose the figure and so I just told him I would bid one thousand more – which is what I would do if I was in an auction room situation.
He said OK – now send me all your paperwork etc as I have to submit that to the bank.
So I quickly jostled about finding the relevant bits of paper and scanned them over to support my offer – which I figured was the equivalent of me giving my ID when an auction.
And then I waited.
I gave him 5 minutes.
In auction terms 5 minutes to wait after having submit a bid is a l-o-n-g time.
So I called the estate agent to check he had everything and whether my bid had been successful. To which he told me I would have to wait longer than that, but he did have everything he needed.
Two hours later and the estate agents called me. My offer had been successful!
Yippee….was short lived. The property, because it’s a repossession, will stay on the market until we exchange. In real terms, what that means is any Jack, Gill and Harry can view the property and try and outbid me.
And so I am phenomenally stressed.
The repossessing bank have set the deadline for exchange as May 31st – which is next Friday. That’s a quick turnaround for most people – even me, given the other side don’t even have the legal papers ready. However, I am now aiming to exchange even sooner.
Which I think has now even stressed my super cool solicitor: “Sam, I understand your desire to act quick – but it’s just one hour since your offer’s been accepted and I don’t even have the sale memorandum yet!”
But, I carry the scars of the last estate agent experience I had…the one 5 years ago. The one where on the day before exchange some numpty decided to offer more – and where I ended up paying £11k more to keep the property I had been trying to buy.
And so this time I don’t want to get caught out again. So I am trying to exchange in super-duper quick time. We will see how quick it can be done – but personally I would have preferred yesterday!
After a mad 24 hour dash we got ourselves ready to exchange tomorrow…and now the vendor’s solicitor’s say they are not ready!
GRRR – they wanted us to act super quick – and now we were TOO quick for them!!!