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February 8, 2016 by Rob Kahl of Scott & Stapleton

Breaking news! 

An estate agent has had a worrying case of realism. I have been asked to sell a flat in Westcliff, so far so normal. It was a bit of a sad story, the owners used to live in the property and were fortunate enough to be in a position to keep it when they moved up to London. For many years they have rented the property out with no problems and as a long term investment it has ticked along just fine, never empty for long and being kept well by the residents of the time. That was until the last tenants they had.

Months behind with rent and having to be evicted the tenants left the property in a right old state and full of their junk and rubbish. The poor owners couldn’t even face going back in to the property as it was pretty bad.

It would have been easy for me to put the property on the market with the usual estate agents waffle about it having ‘scope & potential’ or ‘in need of minor decoration’ or even ‘calling all DIY enthusiasts’ but I thought surely people have had enough of our estate agents jargon and it was time to be honest and tell it how it is.

Lots of time when we are selling a property that needs work we mention it briefly in the details but still we end up showing people around who inevitably end up saying, 'sorry, not for me, didn’t realise it needed this much work’.

It was obvious that this property was going to attract a lot of attention as it was cheap and priced to sell quickly and quite frankly I haven’t got time to be standing in a grotty flat for hours at a time showing people round that just aren’t serious. This particular property needed somebody who knew what they were doing but could also spot a bargain and I needed to be able to appeal to those kind of people directly.

If I am nosing around rightmove and see something that needs a bit of work it always pricks my ears up and draws me in with the prospect of making a quick profit or a good buy to let investment. As such I started the property details with the following: 

'WIPE YOUR FEET ON THE WAY OUT! Not for the faint hearted this first floor flat is being sold as seen. Having recently just had to evict some charming (not) tenants the vendors of this property have had enough and can’t even face setting foot in what used to be their sweet and charming home. I can’t flower this one up or use my normal estate agent jargon to make this sound any better.

The property is full of rubbish, there is mould on the walls and I think there may be some fleas there to keep me company when I carry out viewings. The flat underneath all of this is actually OK, 2 good size bedrooms and a large lounge, but the kitchen & bathroom obviously need attention. This is all reflected in the price and I am expecting an experienced buy to let investor or a brave first time buyer with a bit of vision to snap it up especially with the added benefit of a share of the freehold thrown in.'

It has obviously hit a note with prospective purchasers. People have contacted me saying that it is either very funny or refreshing to read property details that are so honest they are almost brutal.

Everybody I have shown over the flat so far has appreciated being pre-warned about the condition of the property and feels that they haven’t wasted their time viewing something that is not suitable.

The property became available on Friday lunchtime, I had 6 viewings on Friday and I have another 10 viewings today, Saturday. So far I have 3 offers the highest of which is £10,000 more than the asking price so it has obviously worked.

I don’t know if I will be adopting such an honest approach to all of my property details but for some of them it is obviously worth considering.

This article is by Rob Kahl of Scott & Stapleton.
Tel: 01702 471155

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