July 2018
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‘Greedy’ house seller stuffed by own greed? Lessons on selling and buying a house.

Recently I’ve been looking to buy a house and found one I really liked – http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/14840280?search_identifier=8d5e51ad040deb6b4f7036d3e0596987 One of the things which attracted me was that the house was newly decorated so I could move straight in without having to do any work. What a naive fool I was. Luckily, I joined my surveyor when he was doing the survey and I learned that generous coatings of paint can hide a lot of horrors. What I think happened with this house was that the seller redecorated and (knowingly or innocently) covered up problems like damp in two of the bedrooms, the fact that insufficient reinforcement had been put in when a living room wall was removed and render  plus paint on the outside that was not allowing moisture to pass through. Unfortunately for the seller, he or she put the house on the market in June 2011 at too high a price. The seller dropped the price by £10,000 in July 2011. Still no sale. In January 2012, another £25,000 seems to have been cut. But even then no sale. Then in March 2012, the price went up by £10,000. That’s when I came along and, like the idiot I am, almost fell into the trap of buying.

For the seller, the problem was this: The house probably looked magnificent when it was redecorated prior to being put on the market. But because the sale price was too high, nobody made an offer that was acceptable. Then so much time went past with the house on the market, that the horrors concealed (intentionally or not) by the redecoration began to show through – damp patches in the bedroom ceilings, cracks where the internal wall had been removed and bubbling of the paint on the outside of the building.

So there are two lessons here. For sellers who have splashed paint around covering up defects – sell the property quickly before the defects begin to show through. For buyers – beware any property that has been redecorated shortly before being put on the market – a few layers of paint may be covering up all manner of horrors.

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