Property: The house-buyer's lot
The housing shortage is encouraging mainstream buyers to auctions.
Saturday 22 February 1997
"I don't know where they're all coming from," says a bemused David Tribe, of Winkworth Auctions. "They are armed with cash, so must have been in the rental market. There is enormous optimism and confidence. At our first auction of the year, every available seat and standing area was taken. Bidding was fast and competitive. Of the 51 lots available, only four didn't sell on the day."
Lot 34 didn't even make it to the auction room. The pretty stone cottage in Wiltshire, a 10-minute drive from Bath, was snapped up by Rachel Sheraton, a marketing manager, who heard about it through her local Black Horse estate agent.
"The moment I saw it I knew I had to have it. I had been looking for a year and a half and had watched prices rising substantially."
In the next four days, Rachel found a solicitor, had her check the paperwork, organised a survey and a mortgage valuation and persuaded Barclays Bank to offer her a mortgage - all while holding down a busy job. She exchanged contracts four days later and moved in on 24 January, the day of the auction. The cottage cost her pounds 56,000, marginally more than the guide price. It was too late to take it out of the catalogue. When copies hit the desks of all who had ordered one, Black Horse took more than 150 phone calls about the property.
This is the kind of story that brings a bitter snort from the rest of us, frustrated by being strung along for weeks by surveyors with the reactions of a slow loris, and solicitors who never return phone calls. As a first- time buyer, with no chain to work through, Rachel had a head start, she concedes. But the real secret is organisation.
"I'd done all the legwork in advance. I had the deposit, I had decided which solicitor I was going to ask to act for me, and I'd rung up all the mortgage lenders for details of their packages. I made a matrix - a list of all the lenders at the top and down one side all their fixed, variable and endowment deals. It was easy then to see which was best."
You do not, insists Rachel, have to be Nicola Horlick to work out the maths. "I got a bargain. The cottage had been on the market at pounds 90,000; some offers were made, but fell through. It had been at auction before and an offer made, but that fell through too. It was waiting for me."
She is now the proud owner of a 200-year-old, two-bedroom cottage in a quiet village, 10 minutes away from Bath. It has an inglenook fireplace, a pitched tile roof and a sun trap garden. Hidden under one carpet was an immaculate parquet floor; under another, the original old flagstones. Kitchen and bathroom will need replacing at some stage, but not immediately. "If you want something badly enough you can do it," says Rachel.
You are only as fast as your weakest link, she advises. Deal with that as a matter of urgency. Ask all the right questions and don't let anyone off the phone until you have the answers. "Someone at Barclays commented: `You don't argue with her', but they were great.
"Doing the research is mind-bogglingly boring, but it makes you feel more in control. You are the customer, you tell them you'll shop around ... and then come back and they'll give you a better rate. It's not that hard."
Winkworth holds its next auction at Kensington Town Hall on 27 February. Among the lots will be a large mid terrace Victorian house in Urmston, Manchester, with a guide price of pounds 28,000. Next door to the fish and chip shop, it is three storeys high, with two reception rooms and three bedrooms. It is less than a mile from the railway station.
"You'd need to spend between pounds 10,000 and 15,000 on it," says David Tribe, "but it's in a smart area and has a lot of potential."
Some guide prices have yet to be fixed, but Winkworth expects a lot of interest in a two-bedroom brick-built cottage near Whipsnade Zoo, in Studham, Bedfordshire.
"Very pretty, in a pretty village, but no central heating kitchen or bathroom," says David Tribe.
01 August 2014 07:30 PM
25 July 2014 11:00 PM
25 July 2014 11:00 PM
A London estate agent yesterday put a price on having a garden. David Pollock of Greene & Co reckons it can increase a property's value by a tenth.
Problem gambling: Amid heavy advertising and a surge in remote sports betting, more and more 16 to 24-year-olds are now seen as 'at risk'
26 July 2014 12:00 AM
25 July 2014 11:00 PM
Payday loan firms have been accused of bombarding financially vulnerable people with nuisance phone calls, after a debt charity reported that a third of its clients were plagued by the messages.
24 July 2014 12:00 AM
A plan to defuse a “mortgage debt timebomb” when interest rates rise is published today amid warnings that 2.3m households could struggle with their repayments.
Current accounts are too costly and confusing, says CMA as it announces investigation into Britain's biggest banks
19 July 2014 12:00 AM
19 July 2014 12:00 AM
11 July 2014 12:20 AM
11 July 2014 12:20 AM
How would you like to be able to choose how your electricity is made and even where it come from? It may sound futuristic and fanciful but the independent supplier Co-operative Energy has made it a reality this week.
- 1 Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Amazonian Indian tribe filmed making contact with Brazil village in rare video footage
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Financial Analyst, Forecasting, Halifax, Banking,...
£500 per day: Orgtel: Business Architect - Banking - Bristol - £500 per day A...
£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000