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Meet Three Savvy Buyers Who Bought Homes That Weren't Listed For Sale

Private sales are happening right now, all over the UK, and data commissioned by Knock For Sale shows that 54% of homeowners whose properties are not listed for sale would still consider selling if approached by a serious buyer who dropped a note through their door.

Here, we meet three buyers who secured their homes after doing exactly that…

Nicky Bagilhole is a fundraiser for Sussex-based charity Amaze. When Nicky, her partner, and their two young children outgrew their home in Brighton, they really wanted to stay in the same area.

Nicky told us: “I grew up in the Midlands where property is affordable and gardens are huge. Where we live in Brighton, the houses are terraced and very narrow, and it’s rare to find a home big enough for a growing family. When they do come onto the market, they can be snapped up in minutes.

“So I decided to get ahead of the game and put notes through doors of houses that looked like they could have three or four bedrooms and a decent-sized garden. The flyers said we were family of four, serious buyers, ready to move, and that we just needed more space.

“Shortly after, an elderly couple called and asked us round for a cup of tea. They knew they wanted to move away from Brighton to be nearer their daughter, but hadn’t got around to putting their home on the market yet.

“They liked that our children were the same age as their grandchildren; they’d brought up their own kids in that house, so they were really keen to sell to a young family who would appreciate the home they had loved for so many years.

“We agreed on a price, and although we didn’t have a buyer for our own house yet, they waited patiently while we found one. The process took around seven months and I would say it does take a bit of perseverance on both sides, but it paid off for us. We still live here, we’ve done a loft conversion to add another bedroom, and we have a lovely garden with a treehouse for our kids.

“I would encourage other buyers to try this as well as looking at homes on the market, because it’s so hard to match finding the home you want to the timing – and it really limits your choice.”

Kitchen designer Silvia Clausin and her partner Ali moved to Lewes, Sussex as first-time buyers. They were very happy to avoid estate agents after a bad experience.

Silvia said: “My partner and I didn’t suddenly decide to start posting letters through people’s doors. We had scoured property websites, estate agents’ windows, and we couldn’t find anything decent in our budget. I knew we needed to be resourceful and try something new.

“We had been living in Lewes for years, just renting, and we knew what roads we liked so we thought there was nothing to lose from guesstimating the prices of a few houses that might be within our budget, and writing notes to the owners.

“We wrote a very short paragraph talking about us, just something really simple. It said we were a young couple looking for our first home and that we loved the area. We added our phone number at the bottom.

“We didn’t hand out many flyers but we got phone calls from five different homeowners so it worked. While some were out of our price range, we viewed two and one turned out to be ideal.

“We had a meeting with the owners at the house. They were two sisters whose mum had recently passed away. They’d had the house valued but we did a bit of negotiating and we settled on a slightly lower price.

“I remember having to sell my mother-in-law’s house which we did through an estate agent and it was so difficult. They were so aggressive and we didn’t enjoy it at all. Having the agent act as an intermediary drew the process out.

“It was so much more civilised to do things without over-eager estate agents that don’t care about building a relationship and just see commission. Instead, we got to know the owners and they were happy knowing their mother’s house was going to owners who would love and care for it.”

Tania Powell is self-employed and has lived in Brighton for almost 15 years. When she was looking to move house within the local area, a friend suggested she post flyers through people’s front doors.

Tania said: “I had just had a purchase fall through and thought it was worth a go, so I walked around, posting notes through doors of properties that looked to be about the right size. The note simply said, ‘I’m local, I’m interested in buying a house in this area, are you thinking of selling?’ And I added my contact details.

“I did two rounds of door drops and, on the second go, I posted a letter through a house I hadn’t tried before, because it was end-of-terrace and I thought it’d be out of my price range.

“But within 10 minutes, the owner had called me and asked if I’d like to come back, view it, and meet him and his partner. Turns out they’d recently had estate agents round to value the property and they were about to put it on the market.

“We had a good rapport, I was pretty sure I wanted to buy their home, they knew how much they wanted to sell it for, and the asking price seemed right to me, based on my research and knowledge of the area.

“After agreeing on a price, we both instructed solicitors and, despite his solicitor being really slow, the process to complete the purchase didn’t take long at all. We kept in touch throughout by email and that was great as, after I’d moved in, it meant I could ask him things like how to use the boiler and forward his post.

“I will definitely try this again next time I buy. It means serious buyers can get in there first and the seller is incentivised to get things moving because they don’t have to pay thousands of pounds commission to estate agents. It’s a win-win.”

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