Friday, September 11, 2020

"offers over"

I have a new experience this week. Selling a house.


Not something that I have needed to do before and I don’t really need to do it now  but it’s all very interesting.

It’s a house that I used to live in and was probably designed by the same architect that designed the one I live in now. The house, called Kirklea East (as it is in the lee of the kirk, i.e. there’s a church at the bottom of the garden) was built for the manager of the estate at the top of the lane. The house next door (now one unit) was originally the flats for two of the estate workers. Like my house, it has incredible fireplaces, corniced ceiling, huge rooms but the wooden panelling has mostly gone in various renovations. Also like my house, it’s 120 years old with a slate roof that resembles a colander and both properties run out of floor as you go towards the backdoor.


You come in the front door  it’s like Monarch of the Glen, at the back it’s  duckboards and excess  ventilation through the gaps in the walls.

2020 was going to be the year of getting both houses fixed. Quotes were obtained, finances were consulted, then it was pointed out that the housing market here is going bananas as furlough is still in operation. My friend sold a £180 000 flat for £230 000. I mean, what is that about? The downturn in the market is just around the corner and I can scent negative equity in the air.   So I can spend £40 000 putting on a new roof and doing my rendering and the value will only increase by £30 000, and I could sell it as seen for £50 000 more than the valuation. I very much doubt that will happen as I regard estate agents as slightly more creative than most fiction writers.


So I neither need to sell it or keep it. It’s just that my lovely tenant moved out and I need two roofs!

Here’s how we sell houses in Scotland.

It goes on the market. It goes on either as a fixed price – obvious, or an offers over (at the moment they are very over!). The house must have a home report. This is done by a surveyor  and it’s a bill of health of the house. This fixes the “morgagability” of the property. Then after there’s been viewers and ‘notes of interest’, there’s a closing date set. The lawyer opens the sealed bids and the highest gets it. Obviously vendor and buyer can decide it between themselves. Some buyers (like one viewer last night) has been putting in offers for the last four months and been outbid every time. She’s looking for a house where the owner says ‘offer that amount and I will accept,’ so it’s a done deal, without putting more money into the hands of pesky lawyers. ( Apologies to lovely legal fellow bloggers!)


With a view to getting the house fixed up, we had it surveyed by a rot specialist and the roofer who is reroofing this house as I type ( he was wanting to turn our attic into a solarium as so much light was coming in between the slates). They estimated the remedial work needing done to the other property was a 1/5 of the property’s value. Then the home report survey came back. All  doom and gloom, the house was a death trap, riddled with rot, the chimneys are ready to crash through the ceiling ( there being no roof to stop it I presume!). I read that home report and wept – nobody is going look at a house like that. Instead of a reports full of 1s (in good condition)  and a couple of 3’s ( get it fixed right now!!). It was all 2’s and 3’s for everything. The only thing that scored a 1 was the basement, which made me think the surveyor might be a serial killer.   How can a basement be fit for purpose? What purpose?


So my house went on the website yesterday. We had two viewers last night.  I’m not sure if I have a sick mind but two female estate agents have been murdered ( I think there was a famous   case in the US as well) as viewing an empty property brings two strangers into close contact and there’s no weirdo filter. The first one to call, we knew was a single woman, so I said I’d go with Alan so she didn’t feel intimidated. She came with a friend, no doubt for exactly the same reason.   The second viewers were the builder and his wife. Me and the wife ganged up on him, talking about how nice a Christmas tree looks  through the big windows while he pointed out the lack of roof ( irrigation for the tree I thought!)


It’s strange walking round a house I lived in for ten years,  and having people astounded by its beauty. They had both read the home report. The first viewers hubby, the builder, just shook his head saying that home reports are always a load of  nonsense ( he was less polite). "They say that to cover themselves". The house is old, it needs TLC but it’s solidly built in a way house are not these days… plus huge rooms and a huge garden. I did point out the huge dog run and kennels. ‘I’ve a 12 year old Yorkshire terrier,’  the wife said. To paraphrase a famous film, she’s going to need a bigger dog.

Interesting to see if they will take it further, but as an exercise in people watching. It’s going to be  rather informative.

Caro 11 09 2020



  1. I'd say you're doing fine without pesky lawyers. It sounds like you're involved with a variation of what in the US would be called a"tear down" purchase, where someone buys a perfectly fine house intending to tear it down and build their McMansion. Good Luck.

  2. When I heard you had viewers, I was worried you were going to be leaving us. Nice to know this is not the case. I hope you get a quick turnover without too many time wasters.

  3. I like this house. Hope you can sell it quickly and that many of its good qualities are retained.