Story Time: The Extremely Disappointing House Viewing
Previously on my blog I’ve mentioned that Marc and myself currently rent the house we are in at the moment. The house is nice and spacious, the rent is reasonably priced and we are happy enough where we are. However, we really want to purchase our own home. For over a year, we’ve been saving up a deposit for a house. Currently, we have six months left on our tenancy before we either sign up for another year or move on. The plan is, and always has been to not renew our tenancy and three to four months before it ends, start house hunting.
We heart the North East
We currently live in the North East of England. There are a lot of misconceptions about our part of the country. Many think that the North East is derelict, there’s nothing here and there are no opportunities. I’ve lived in the North East for my entire life and I’ve got to admit, I love it here. Of course, there are areas that have seen better days and quite frankly there are areas I would not travel to, but the North East IS amazing. The majority of people who live in the North East are extremely friendly.
Where I live I’m right between Durham and Newcastle with the Seaside being just 45 minutes away. I’ve got the luxury of being surrounded by quiet villages but with two amazing cities and the beach on my doorstep. Another plus is that the house prices are a tiny fraction of those in the likes of London and places down South. If I lived in London there’s no way I’d ever be able to buy a house, that’s for sure.
The unexpected house
So as previously mentioned the plan was to start looking at houses later in the year. Despite not properly looking Marc and I have been keeping up to date with the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla. We’d just been seeing the kind of houses currently on the market to get a rough idea of what we want. Marc then discovered a house that was simply too good to be true. The house was on the market for a mere £49,000 and the images online were very promising. The house featured two bedrooms and claimed to be fully refurbished with no upper chain. The listing didn’t state that there was anything at all wrong with the house so we quickly rang up and arranged a viewing appointment.
It’s also worth noting that although not so far away from where I live the house was in an area that I wasn’t familiar with. Despite this, we thought we’d check it out and we were pretty hopeful. Despite being hopeful I kept thinking it was just too good to be true. Anyway, last Saturday Marc and I dragged my parents along to view the house as we thought their experience would come in handy to spot potential costly flaws. But as soon as we entered the street we just knew the house was not for us.
The street was covered in litter and overgrown weeds. The neighbours instantly seemed unfriendly and unwelcoming. And after 10 minutes of waiting for a late estate agent, we just wanted to go home. Despite this, we carried on waiting and soon enough entered the property. Newly renovated? Not exactly. Inside the house, the wooden kitchen floor had huge chunks out of it. The cupboards were wonky and damaged. When we entered the living room/dining area we also noticed that it was absolutely covered in smelly black mould. The floor was also extremely uneven and the bathroom featured bad tiling and hanging wires. When quizzed about the renovations the estate agent told us that it had been renovated two years ago. She also told us that the damage was down to a previous tenant who rented the property.
At first, the estate agent tried to make up a story about how the owner had been trying to damp proof the property for the past year. But after five minutes even she couldn’t find anything positive to say about the property. Now let’s keep in mind that the house was on the market for just £49K. Although cheap, we’ve spotted other houses for the same amount that were in livable condition. This house was not. After further research, I also discovered that the area where the house is situated is actually quite bad. It’s not exactly somewhere that I’d like to invest my money, put it that way.
After looking around the property I simply felt deflated. As suspected the house was too good to be true. I also felt a little annoyed at the estate agents. When we viewed the property online it was up with two estate agents. The first had the property listed for over two years but the asking price was £950 more. The second agent (the one who viewed the property with us) had it listed for less than a month. The thing that annoyed me was that they were using two-year-old images to advertise the house. The fact that they also said it was newly renovated and in perfect condition also annoyed me as the house clearly was not in the condition that they were making it out to be.
Onwards and upwards
From the experience, Marc and I have learnt a few things. The first is that if it sounds too good, it probably is. The second is not to trust estate agent listings and that viewing is absolutely essential before forming a true opinion of a property. The third is to thoroughly research the area. And the fourth is to try to not get our hopes up in future. The good thing is that we still have months left on our tenancy and plenty of time to discover and view wonderful new properties. If the right property doesn’t come along we can always just extend our tenancy if needed. House hunting is an extremely exciting time but also very stressful. I’m also really not looking forward to the stress of actually going ahead with a sale but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Have you ever been left feeling disappointed by a viewing or listing?