House stripping – How sellers are cutting down their losses

As house prices continue to decline, a sneaky way for sellers to recuperate losses is to literally strip the house base of any essentials they can to take to their new home or sell on. When you are in the process of buying a house usually you (as a buyer) will be supplied with an inventory of what the house will be sold with such as fixtures and furnishings. Of course the seller will not be very thorough and list all light fittings or brass doorknobs from room A to Z so it is up to you to go over the inventory with a fine tooth comb to make sure that everything is included.

Homebuyers that have bought homes under the asking price have been shocked to find that silly things have been taken by the previous owners as a way of begrudging the new owners of the reduced sale price. These include light bulbs and light fittings, toilet seats, door knobs, grass and even light switches. It may seem funny to those who haven’t experienced this but after splashing out £500,000 on a detached property, you would expect the light bulbs and toilet seat to still be in place.

Unfortunately unless you have the time and money to take the previous owners to court there is little that can be done; this is why it is extremely important to make sure that no small item is left out when asking about the inventory.

The opposite has happened to many other homebuyers; they have moved into a house that still had rubbish left in such as unwanted furniture and junk. In some cases the buyer has had to shell out hundreds of pounds on skips to get rid of the previous owners junk.

As this has been happening from the 1990’s it was much worse back then as people use to rip out the radiators, boilers and brass fittings and sell as scrap metal to make a few extra pounds. In a way house stripping has gotten worse as people have gone to extreme lengths to recuperate their losses by ripping out the carpets, wooden flooring, all premium sockets and light switches such as those which are chrome plated. It looks like this problem will only get worse as the housing market continues to fluctuate and sellers look for alternative ways to make a profit.

Here are a few cases of extreme house stripping in the last few years:

  • A seller who had to sell his £500,000 house at a 15% loss took with him his £20,000 log cabin as a way of recuperating his losses
  • Another seller who sold his £3 million pound property with a golf course slashed the price by 15% so he could take all the lawn from the golf course with him
  • A Victorian house seller took out all the original and antique toilet seats and brass door knobs
  • And angry seller who did not make a profit stripped out all the light fittings and light bulbs leaving all the ceiling wires exposed

If this trend continues to grow, people may find that buying a house is more hassle than it’s worth and stick to selling or opt to buy new properties only. It’s a shame that the housing market has caused so much loss to the owners of properties that they have to resort to stripping a house bare to make a profit.