Will the Toe-Dippers Return to the Housing Market in 2014?

Paul Hajek | 30 Jan 2014

toe dippers in housing marketMost Estate Agents are able to spot a Toe-Dipper. 

We at Clutton Cox certainly did when we ran an our in house Estate Agency.

Toe-Dippers are Serial Sellers who “dip their toes” into the housing market to see whether they can find a buyer for their property.

Estate Agents, rarely like the Seller Sub-Species known as the Toe-Dipper – Toedipidus Stagnorum – in a sluggish Housing Market. Estate Agents warm to Toe-Dippers in a rising and buoyant Housing Market as this subspecies of Seller supplies a proportion of the properties on the market for sale.

Characteristics of the Toe-Dipper

Toe-Dippers have certain distinguishable traits: they crave House Price Nirvana but many  consign themselves to a House Price Utopia. Too high a price and no buyers.

Toe-Dippers gorge on unrealistically high house price valuations: think of a price recommended by the Estate Agent and increase by as many noughts as they feel comfortable with.

What is there to lose?

As all Estate Agents operate on a no sale no fee basis, where

they are unable to find a buyer they simply withdraw their property for sale – in most instances at no cost to them.

Estate Agents are the losers in their time and irrecoverable advertising costs.

Genuine buyers and others in the Conveyancing Chain are left to deal with the stress and discomfort the Toe-Dippers cause by pulling out at a later stage

But, some of the species do get lucky and their good fortune is spread around. If their optimum price is achieved for their property, some will proceed and be buyers themselves and the housing market liquidity benefits.

And Estate Agents forgive them.

There was a Time the Toe-Dipper Almost Disappeared

It was not always a simple walk across the road for the Toe-Dipper.

The introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) all but eradicated the poor Toe-Dipper.

The need to pay for a formal HIP pack and to have it in place before you could market your property for sale spooked the “toe dippers” from coming to the market.

Their mantra of All Gain and No Pain was challenged and many Toe-Dippers receded in to their shells.

Will increased optimism in the Housing Market in early 2014 rouse the Top-Dippers once again?

Spring was the optimum time to spot the Toe-Dipper, fresh from their winter hibernation, they would shed their Winter skin and turn up eyeballs out at the Estate Agent’s door.

The prevailing winds in the Housing Market in early 2014 could create the benign conditions for a fresh outbreak of Toe-Dipper syndrome.

How to Avoid the Toe-Dipper’s Grasp

Don’t be afraid to ask the Estate Agent searching questions and make some conditions to any offer you make

You may be lucky: your offer will be the catalyst to cure any recalcitrance on the Seller’s part and the chain will proceed to a satisfactory completion.

At the very least you will be able to make a more informed decision.

Ask the Estate Agent:

  • How many similar properties have you sold in the last 6 months and what percentage of the asking price did you achieve (Depending on location the average is about 92%)
  • Has the Seller put the property on the market before and then withdrawn the property in the last couple of years.
  • Have the Sellers registered with the Estate Agent for properties they wish to buy
  • What timescale have the Sellers to buy another property?
  • Would the Sellers be amenable to moving out if they have not found a suitable property to purchase?

The Crime Watch Ending

As they say at the end of Crimewatch – Don’t have nightmares – do sleep well.

Try and stay in control of your house buying destiny, so keep in regular contact with the Estate Agent and your Conveyancing Solicitor.

At the very least you could be spared the wasted time and expense of the Toe-Dipper.


Paul Hajek

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