The guy from the bank was quick to come and quick to leave, and busy. He looked in each room, asked a few questions, we shared a few laughs, left with a smile. An hour later the verdict came in – £40,000 under our own conservative estimates. I was crestfallen.
How could he do this to me? I thought that we were friends. I told him that a similar house (in need of some TLC) went for so much and one down the road sold for £50k over offers.
I don’t remember his name, but we got on, you don’t just offer any guest a cup of tea; how could he be so cruel as to value my house at £40,000 less than what the Registers of Scotland have as its indexed price. Did he not think that the new carpet, new floors, log burners, new kitchen, new bathroom all tastefully decorates with charming quirkiness added some value?
Then again, I wasn’t on top of my game. Should I have added a stylish jar of sticks in a corner? Where was the Live, Laugh, Love sign? The house didn’t even smell of cookies. I feel that this is all my fault.
Maybe he was pricing in some of the coming turmoil in the housing market – like the ticking tracker mortgage timebomb that’ll blow up in our faces in the coming months. But that should only mean a soft landing of prices or at most a 5% drop before picking up again in 2023.
I quickly called my solicitor to sue the valuer for slander, but he informed me in his soft Doric brogue that there’s nothing he can do, and I can’t take him to court over this as it is a case of “Philus Allsopus” as they say in Scot’s law, meaning all valuations are just someone’s opinion. Whoever said possession is nine tenths of the law didn’t need to remortgage their home!
At the insulting valuation he put on our des-res we’re only sitting on £40,000 of unearned profit over what we paid for it. And when you factor in the mortgage payment, this house has hardly earned us money over the 7 years we’ve been in it (IRR 3.51% on our deposit, counting only mortgage payments in cash flow).
A correct valuation of £40,000 more would give us the return we deserve (IRR of 8.70%) and what you’d expect for the risk of being a homeowner in modern Britain.
My property is my pension and if my house doesn’t grow in value ad infinitum minus parabilis, how on earth am I going to worry about inheritance tax when I’m older?
Breaking the News
That evening, I gathered the family around the bespoke shabby-chic dining room table to break the news. I was dreading how it was going to go down. So, I got down to business:
“Family, you know how much I love this house and what it’s worth for us and how it looks after us. Well, I’ve had it valued and it’s about £40,000 less than we thought. I know that this is going to hurt – and we’ll have to try to get through this together for the house’s sake. What do we always say – our family is as strong as our bricks and mortar”.
But I was lying, and I think that the Lady could tell. She just shrieked and cried and just kept wailing to the walls “but we trusted you and you let us down”. The Little Lady sat expressionless, empty eyed, spiritually dead.
The Master who is just 6 took it worst of all, oh the horror on his face almost made me cry. He shook his head and just said deadpan “oh no, if this happens now, how cheap will they be when I need to buy a house?”
My plan has always been to cleverly leverage our housing equity to pay for the finer things in life – the little must haves like new cars and luxury holidays.
I didn’t have an answer for him – I just don’t know where his BOMAD cheque of £50,000 for a 5% deposit on a studio apartment in New Leith (Burntisland) is going to come from right now.
How are my kids going to compete in the world if we can’t give them a head start?
Location, Location, Location
We live in a kind, welcoming bubble in our city in Scotland. Populated by well-bred like-minded people who exude charm and warmth. We’ve made some truly great connections in our community, and some are becoming people that I’d be proud to be friends with. But, and if they knew that our house was now worth less than the average UK property, I just don’t know how I’d feel.
People talk, and if our valuation became public knowledge, I could only imagine the sly glances, nods and winks at the school gate. The kind ones will give us that pity smile (the one you give to the parents of a down’s kid or red head), and the rest will ignore us. I can almost sense the hushed silence when I arrive at piano recital, getting the cold shoulder up at the tennis courts and the anguish of none wanting to buy our cupcakes at the bake sale (even though they normally sell out like hot cakes every year).
I’ve seen it all before with one parent who boasted about getting their Band E property reclassified by the council as Band C – what would make someone want to do something like that? Had she no shame?
Once the news came out, she never showed her face again. I rightly avoided her, except one time when she tried to engage me in small talk – luckily feigning interest in your own kids’ inane ramblings is the perfect get out of jail card for awkward social situations like this. I just put my head down and kept walking.
Certainly, my seat on the Parent Teacher Association would be under threat? How can I be an upstanding member of the school community if my own house value is practically troglodytic?
I’m only telling you this dear reader because I hope that are not judgemental. The valuation has left a deep scar in my heart. I’m not even sure I like the house anymore. I mean, I did think it was above average – like a 7 or 8 but having someone come and say that it’s a 6 (and a Scottish 6 at that!) has made me feel differently about it.
I’ve been watching a lot of Grand Designs recently and have started fantasizing about other properties. I mean, I’m still committed to my mortgage, but I have been checking out places on AirBnB, maybe for just a weekend away to see what’s on the market. I also like a sneak peek at Grand Designs, late at night, when alone – it’s ok to dream, isn’t it?
It’ll take a lot to get over this. I think that I’ve gone from thinking about it being a forever home to being a banger that you treat like crap and scrap it when it gets too much trouble.
Wish me luck.