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I live in a block of flats, where each flat is (or was originally) identical.
Half are a reflection of the others, and the ground-floors are different from the non-ground-floors, but other than that they are identical builds.

We're looking at selling in the few months; we've started viewing potential next properties.

Yesterday the flat next door went up on the market. We happen to have visited our neighbours, and know that the layout is identical, though they've renovated the whole flat nicely (both ours and theirs were... unloved, before we each moved in. We both renovated, but we spent less time, effort and money on the renovation, so I'd expect theirs to be a little more valuable all other things being equal).

What options do I have to respond to this / take advantage of this, and what are the pros and cons?

The options that come to mind are:

  • Wait for them to complete their sale, and thus go into the market with excellent knowledge of the market's valuation of our flats.
  • Go onto the market now and deliberately under-cut them.
  • Reach out to the neighbours (who we are on reasonably good terms with) and co-ordinate our sales in some way?
  • Contact their estate agents and offer to sell through them (I assume that an estate agent would be delighted to sell 2 identical flats next to each other; it would reduce some of the overheads and allow them to sell "the same flat" to 2 customers. Would they be likely to offer us discounts?)
  • Completely ignore it and pretend it hasn't happened?

Are there other things we could do, is there a stand-out option from the above?

We're in North London, in the UK.

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  • I imagine the best approach is going to be to coordinate with your neighbours on finding an estate agent who will offer you a group discount. You are right that this will reduce the agent's effort, but it may not be common for them to discount their rates in return. Sep 16, 2019 at 0:16
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    Is the other flat clearly better, will every potential buyer choose it at the same price? If yes, you should price lower. But, buyers are unpredictable, there may be a less significant factor (such as color choices) that will cause someone to like yours more..
    – Mattman944
    Sep 16, 2019 at 6:11
  • From a US perspective, is your place ready to sell right now? Because ideally (for them), they'll find a buyer before you list. And are there other very recent comparables in the area?
    – pboss3010
    Sep 16, 2019 at 12:44

1 Answer 1

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If I were you I would attempt to talk to at least two or three real estate agents and see what they think. One of them should be the neighbor's listing agent. You will have to use discernment in the advice received as their bias will be toward listing now with the agent you are speaking with.

While you will likely sell for less, that is not "undercutting them". People do not mind, for the most part, paying more for a better updated property. On a monthly basis it means very little additional costs on the mortgage. In fact, your property might sell for a lot less as it might only attract bargain hunters. It is very hard to know.

I can see some advantage of listing with the neighbor's agent. For one, they might be able to direct leads that do not qualify for the neighbor's apartment to yours. Secondly, they can direct back up offers to your apartment if the primary goes through. Third, as you say, someone may be able to purchase both and combine them to form a larger apartment; however, that might be a bit weird to have two kitchens.

Even if you go with a different agent, there are some advantages to listing yours at the same time. You will both attract buyers, who are short on time, they can look at two places with no real commute time.

I would tend to list at the same time, but if your time frame for buying a new place is several months, what are you going to do if you received a fast offer?

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    Agreed that the benefit of using the same agent is probably not a discount on fee [which I think is probably unrealistic to hope for], but rather a likely increased speed of sale due to hopefully higher foot traffic looking at '2 units in the same building'. Sep 17, 2019 at 13:27

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