Record sale of property on a contaminated site

Not every transaction is simple and straightforward and when the sale of a property is complex, clients need an experienced estate agent capable of navigating choppy waters.

miles roberts london property

In Picture: Miles Roberts

Here Miles Roberts, the Sales Manager at North West London estate agents London Residential, explains how a property was sold and completed within six weeks, despite a land issue, to the delight of the vendor.

We had sold the property to the client three years earlier and he returned to London Residential to sell the property, with exciting plans ahead for his retirement. We knew the property had been built on a contaminated landfill site but had overseen the initial reports that had decreed the site safe three years earlier. Through our local contacts and expert marketing, we secured a high level of interest in the property, with numerous viewings and offers.

Once a suitable buyer was qualified and an offer accepted, a repeat contamination report was commissioned by the purchasers. Sadly, the results were not favourable, frustrating both ourselves and the vendor. Despite an identical report only three years prior declaring the site safe, the new report was enough to scare the buyers away, putting us back to square one.

What did work in our favour when finding a new buyer was the fact that the original contamination report carried a six year guarantee, so was still valid at the time of the resale. This, coupled with the fact that other properties on the same site had been sold by us without issue during the three years our client had lived in the property, gave us confidence in reselling to fresh buyers and the ability to reassure our client.

Although many potential buyers were reluctant to proceed when we recontacted them, the flat was in such a prime position and a real asset that there was strong enough interest to present the vendor with multiple options - both cash buyers and purchasers using a mortgage - limiting the chance of another aborted sale.

Our tenacity and determination meant we resold the property very quickly, taking just five weeks to exchange and a further week to complete. The client was relieved as the proceeds of the sale were earmarked for his retirement, so there was added pressure on us to reach a successful conclusion. To say this was an unusual sale is an understatement - we had to call upon all our professional skills to sell this property, and it was only our experience and local knowledge that delivered the best result for the client.”

If you have a property to sell that comes with unusual circumstances, or are thinking of buying a home that involves a more complex purchase, don’t hesitate to contact North West London estate agents, London Residential, for advice.