Jump to content

Do you buy a house linked to a controversial character?

Recommended Posts



First time poster to the forum, long time onlooker.


I have a strong conundrum that I would welcome the opinion of experienced developers.


In December 2018 I spotted a 2 bed end of terrace house for sale at a good price (£120,000), low for the area, but not too low to stir concern. We know the area well as we live nearby and all that it requires is cosmetic work, but wiring, plumbing etc were all in good order and with a paint, carpets and a few touches to differentiate it from similar houses, I estimate (and had it confirmed by the agent) that it could be back on the market on offer for 30% more then purchased having spent 10% on the refurbishment where my father and I can do most of the work.


We viewed the property the day after it was first online for advertising and made an offer above the asking soon after - as did several others! We went to sealed bids and the company selling (I should add that the property was a repossession) decided on the successful bid. We soon found out we had not won and went into Christmas 2018 ready to restart our search in the new year.


In to the New Year and whilst back at work the estate agent called to inform me that the successful bid had been withdrawn and would we bid again? I asked why the bid had been withdrawn, expecting structural or funding issues to be the reason, but was surprised to hear the response;


"The buyers have withdrawn because it has come to light that a man recently convicted of sexual offences was suspected to have been the previous occupant. The buyers became aware when visiting the property"


Not what I expected! (but warning sign 1?) It was unclear as to whether a friend in the area or neighbour to the house had informed the previous buyers, but further investigation revealed a guy who 'lived on ..... avenue' had been convicted in 2017 following evidence from a sting operation that revealed he had been communicating with who he believed was a 9 year old girl. Fortunately it was a group of adults that hunt out these individuals - i'm sure you've seen stories of them online or in the paper - and the evidence was sufficient to imprison him for 18 months.


What followed were many conversations between myself and everyone whose opinion I trust, and over the course of a weekend the consensus was that somebody had to buy the house and make it into a home again and rid it of its look/connection to this individual, so I should continue to submit an offer again but slightly reduced under the circumstances. This had to be made to a new agent as one of the original 3 agents who were showing the property had dropped out - the one that I had been dealing with - they informed me that they dropped out of showing it because as a small family business they did not want to link themselves to the house (warning sign 2?).


Well, my reduced offer was also declined because a new buyer had emerged and submitted a higher offer...!


Low and behold, two weeks later and the estate agents are back on to us to enquire if our bid still stands because the new bidder has since discovered the link to the previous occupant and withdrawn their offer (warning sign 3?). So I have the option to bid again and at this point I would like to reduce again and would now be at the guide price of £120,000 (or lower). 


My conundrum is;


  • I can see the opportunity for a quick flip and a few thousand to be made on it, but is the house going to be damned to fail on resale because of its previous occupant?


  • There is no evidence or accusation that anything ever happened in the house. Surely as the number of these cases in the UK rises, there must be many houses linked to the imprisoned individuals - who then buys them/lives in them after


  • Should I walk away like the others? Or see beyond the material information?


I have successfully developed 2 other properties - one flip and one into a rental - but I would not consider myself an experienced developer just yet. The advice of the more experienced individuals who may have experienced similar in the past would be most appreciated. I don't often post anywhere, let alone on forums, but my usual web search yields nothing and my personal connections all seem positive, but i have a niggle inside that suggests those who have pulled out must have done so for a reason - but why?


Hope that makes sense and if you have read this far down, I hope it's interested you enough to respond with your thoughts




Link to comment

Hi Geoff


Interesting situation. I would probably put in a cheeky low offer (substantially lower than the guide price) and see if they bite. Given it's been marketed for a while with a couple of withdrawals and checkered history, there's more room to negotiate.


Maybe set aside funds to cover the cost of valuations and searches in case something does crop up on the property other than the previous owner's history. 


It may not be one to quickly flip, perhaps consider renting it out for 6 - 12 months so the stigma of the property dissipates before trying to sell it on? 


One thing to keep in mind is that neighbours may not be aware that there's a new owner to the home, so there may be some anti-social behaviour during the transition period.



Personal Blog: https://abcdad.co.uk
Property Spreadsheet and Deal Analyser: https://abcdad.co.uk/property-spreadsheet
Looking to read some Property books? https://abcdad.co.uk/books/property-books
Follow on Instagram: @abc.dad

Link to comment

Thanks for your comments Derek,


Certainly going to have to have a 'contingency pot' for this one on the unknown should we get it. 


Renting is certainly an option we've considered as we do it already, and I think we would be open to perhaps finding an agent who could offer it on both rental or purchase basis and see which bites first.


Anti-social behaviour to the property (and anyone in it during the refurb!) is certainly a high concern. Thinking a 'hearts & minds' operation is in order by door knocking the neighbours to keep them informed might help...?

Link to comment

I wouldn't see any concerns in this, as it's clearly not a high profile figure that was there. Current problem will be that it's seen as his house that's being sold. Do the work on it and it's you selling a house with no link to what happened previously, so it shouldn't matter.

I think some people will always be put off by certain things e.g. not wanting a house that someone had died in, but that's only because they knew about it. Live in an old house and who knows what's happened there previously.

Renting it for a period may be a good idea to further break the chain to the past and it definitely sounds like a lower offer is called for - the bank has proven they can't get market value for it once buyers discover why it's for  sale (which won't be a reason when you come to sell), so will have to accept less at some point.

If it stacks up on everything else, knock something off for the hassle element and go for it.

Link to comment

If it were me I'd go back with a much lower offer than your previous one - since everyone else keeps dropping out! Then while doing a refurb, I'd make a point to fully gut the place and make it look really different.


Maybe a local paper would bite on the story of the place being "exorcised" :D 


I do find it strange though. There are plenty of similar people (sadly) and the properties they live in don't seem to get the same treatment.

Link to comment

Thanks to all who replied.


I've been offered the property for a reduced rate and have agreed some searches and other costs are included in the sale, so we're currently in legal and lender survey stage.


The posts here have definitely altered my view and I have decided that my strategy on this one will now be to rent it out and take the longer term view that when we come to move it on, the current reputation will be a distant memory and meanwhile we will benefit from the rental income and build our portfolio from there. (Using Rob D's property comparison spreadsheet to work out Yields & Returns its a fairly healthy one for a single let)


I will be looking to make some big changes to the face of the property too. I can very quickly after completion cut hedges back that surround the front garden, re-paint/clean the exterior walls and i'm considering changing the front door to a completely different style/colour just to show a real uplift in the property on the face of it to the locals. The 'SOLD' sign will stay up longer than I would normally let it and my wife and I have already began knocking doors locally - first to check there isn't anymore to discover about the past and second to win 'hearts and minds' of the locals who will be our best advert for the area to potential tenants who come to look at the house in future.


Wish me luck. I'll try to update this later down the line when we are tenanted. 



Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

My advice is look elsewhere. Your warning sign s should tell you a lot. Remember that you are buying in a neighbourhood that has a shared memory that is an elephant in the local room. It could easily be blighted for quite some time and may have significant trouble finding tenants. 

I have a property where an attack on an individual ended up as a murder conviction. Unfortunately I only found out after completion and agent went out of business ( for other reasons) 10 years on it still re-let very slowly and BMV

The people living in the house will hear of the reputation of the house at the school gate, in the pub, newsagents etc and can feel easily spooked or at risk. 

I was involved with selling another repo of convicted paedophile - took months, sold for a song and been sold at least twice BMV (I understand) in last 8 or so years

If agents are jumping ship this should indicate “a quick flip” is unlikely and your efforts to turn it could go down the pan. 

Sorry slightly different view - I’d rather you used your money wisely than lose it of hope of fast buck

Link to comment
  • 2 years later...

What a strange situation. I haven't heard anyone have such a situation. Sounds pretty intriguing. I am not the best master in real estate, but I think I would buy the house if I were you. If the only problem is that a man convicted of sex crimes lived, well, I don't see it as a big problem. You still invest in it, you change it, and that's it. The history of the house is changing. But if already two buyers refused to buy it, there may be another problem. I would recommend for your safety to seek the help of a specialist in real estate law, insurance law, contracts, and litigation, etc. I think they could give you the best advice.

the link: https://www.vasaadvokat.se/tvist-vid-husforsaljning-ta-hjalp-av-advokat-5-satt-att-vinna-tvisten/

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...