All sold up but nowhere to buy

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market -

Ex­actly three months to the day it went on the mar­ket, the sale of our Black­rock home was agreed at 5 per cent over the ask­ing price. Con­tracts were sub­se­quently signed and de­posits re­ceived. Thanks to our ex­cel­lent prop­erty and le­gal ad­vis­ers we were pre­pared well in ad­vance with con­tracts, com­pli­ance cer­tifi­cates, boundary maps, and lo­cal author­ity and Rev­enue doc­u­men­ta­tion all ready to go. The sale was signed and sealed with­out any hic­cups and we were de­lighted.

In the pe­riod that our house was on the mar­ket, prop­erty web­sites MyHome and Daft reg­is­tered just un­der 12,000 hits for it, some 2,500 of which were in the first two days. We thought we would be in­un­dated with of­fers be­cause of the traf­fic jam out­side our home on the day it was put on the web­sites. Sadly we were not.

From t he a s t oni s hi ng 12,000 hits, just 65 calls and emails were recorded by the es­tate agent. These trans­lated to about 35 view­ing par­ties, seven of whom re­turned for sec­ond, third and fourth view­ings. In­stead of open or pub­lic view­ings, we opted for pri­vate vis­its. There­fore the agent, with two or three in­ter­ested par­ties, called to the house up to three times a week.

Prac­ti­cally ev­ery day this meant un­der­tak­ing fran­tic hoover­ing, clean­ing, de­clut­ter­ing and gar­den­ing chores. We dreaded “real” vis­i­tors – fam­ily and friends – who might cre­ate mess. Hap­pily, we also aban- doned cook­ing to avoid lin­ger­ing odours and ev­ery­thing was run with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion.

Af­ter just in ex­cess of two months there were three se­ri­ous bid­ders, which re­duced to two as the sale price went up. The tri­umphant bid­der was the pur­chaser who did not want to close un­til Septem­ber, which meant that we could re­main in our beloved gar­den for one last glo­ri­ous sum­mer.

Mean­while, af­ter three months home­hunt­ing, we be­came dispir­ited that it hadn’t yielded re­sults. Con­scious that sell­ing prices were soft­en­ing, we thought about rent­ing for a few years. Dreams of op­u­lent pent­houses boast­ing wide ter­races with fan­tas­tic views took over for a while. But fi­nan­cial night­mares fol­lowed when we ran the num­bers on the costs in­volved. We just couldn’t jus­tify it. Be­tween that and the per­ceived level of stress that would be in­volved in mov­ing twice, we re­newed our ef­forts.

So we re­turned to our search with more con­fi­dence given our own house sale. The weather was won­der­ful – which makes a big dif­fer­ence when view­ing – and the qual­ity of homes on the mar­ket had im­proved.

The first home we re­ally fell for we al­most didn’t view be­cause as a lo­ca­tion we didn’t rate Deans­grange that highly. But the house it­self was ex­cep­tional and ticked all our boxes. A newly ex­tended four/five-bed for­mer cor­po­ra­tion home, it had all the open plan, bright­ness and low main­te­nance we re­quired. The good-sized rear gar­den was north fac­ing, but be­cause of the cor­ner site con­fig­u­ra­tion it was very sunny. Im­por­tantly, we could re­main close to the old re­li­ables here. The semi-de­tached prop­erty had a de­cent guide price but an of­fer 18 per cent above it from a Ger­man fam­ily re­lo­cat­ing to Ire­land blew us out of the run­ning.

Then we fell in love with a two-bed semi-de­tached bun­ga­low in Dun­drum that was beau­ti­fully en­larged and re­mod­elled on a south­west-fac­ing site, a five-minute stroll from the Luas. Again we were sur­prised at our quick en­chant­ment with a lo­ca­tion we had pre­vi­ously dis­re­garded. We en­vi­sioned trendy evenings at the huge se­lec­tion of res­tau­rants and trips into town on the Luas, while still be­ing within easy dis­tance of our old re­li­ables.

It was gen­uinely in walk-in con­di­tion, re­quired no main­te­nance and even the grass was a very pleas­ing ar­ti­fi­cial va­ri­ety. No pesky lawn­mower re­quired. The guide was over our limit, which we agreed to in­crease so we could up our game and be­gin the bid­ding bat­tle. Over a pe­riod of two weeks, with bids vary­ing be­tween ¤15,000 and ¤50,000, the price soared 16 per cent over the guide and our com­fort zone.

In con­ver­sa­tion with the sell­ing agent, we dis­cov­ered that

‘‘ Dreams of op­u­lent pent­houses boast­ing wide ter­races with fan­tas­tic views took over for a while

the “other party” was an older man, with some health is­sues, and his daugh­ter. Over a long week­end we dis­cussed our op­tions but kept com­ing back to the fact that the “other party” was prob­a­bly more in need of this home. We still had health and age on our side. The prox­im­ity of ev­ery­thing nearby was not a ne­ces­sity for us but we could see it would be for an older per­son with med­i­cal com­plaints.

It was dif­fi­cult to aban­don this ideal prop­erty but as soon as we made the de­ci­sion we knew we were do­ing the right thing. We ex­plained to the agent that not only were we out of the bid­ding game but we also wanted to re­scind our last few bids. This ef­fec­tively means the “other party” will hope­fully save some ¤10,000 to ¤15,000 in the process. The agent in turn promised that good karma would surely come our way. We could only hope that it would. Cliodhna O’Donoghue is a prop­erty jour­nal­ist

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