Thursday, June 30, 2005


We arrived home on Tuesday to another answerphone message from our buyer.

"Just thought you'd like to know that the valuation was done on Monday."

Reassuring indeed. Now we wait for the solicitors to do whatever it is that they do. It's a mystery to me. Searches and contracts and deeds ...

Meanwhile I'm spending my time visiting doctors, dentists, getting blood tests - doing all those sensible things you are supposed to do before you move. A kind of MOT. More reassurance.

And writing about storms here.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another hurdle over

The surveyor has just been. "This won't hurt a bit," he said, as he marched around the house scribbling at top speed onto lots of forms.
As he was leaving, I asked "Is it still standing, then?" Apparently it is, and we've got nothing to worry about. Phew.
However, on the letting front, there were a few crossed wires. On Monday, a new and inexperienced member of staff encouraged me to submit all the application forms, despite me telling her we had not got a date to exchange contracts. It was a race to get everything off to them on Monday, then an agonising wait for a phone call on Tuesday morning.
"I need to know your exchange date," an efficient voice demanded over the phone.
"We haven't got one yet."
"Then you can't apply for anything."
I really wish I'd known that on Monday.
However, I'm feeling quite prosaic about it now. We are going to have to wait until we have exchanged contracts, and have a bigger gap between exchange and completion. I've told our buyer this, and he is completely supportive. It is so nice being directly in touch with our buyers.

Monday, June 20, 2005

More waiting

We spent yesterday driving around Warwickshire in the sweltering heat, looking for places to rent. We've found one we liked (nice views, nice house, no community facilities what-so-ever but you can't have it all) and now I'm discovering what the application process is like.
We left a message yesterday to say we wanted to apply, and I left another first thing this morning. Then I got a call to say someone else came in this morning, and they want to apply too. So it's a race.
"Can you drop the application forms and cheque in today?" the girl on the phone asked.
Well, not really. I'm in Nottingham. So we're trying to do the thing by email, and a cheque is already in the post. I'm just waiting for contact details for a work reference for Rick. He, of course, is in back to back meetings.
I just want to know where I'm going to live!!!! sigh

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


You’ll remember we sent a letter to our buyers, trying to open up lines of communication and clear up misunderstandings? We wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. It was a friendly-worded letter to reassure them that we were not continuing to have viewers round. We sent it a week last Saturday, and put R’s email address on it.
Now, what would you do if you received a letter like that? Would you reply to say thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding, and for giving you the reassurance you needed? Of course you would. What do you think they did? They didn’t reply. Meanwhile, they still hadn’t had their meeting to arrange their mortgage, scheduled for the Saturday just gone.
Then something interesting happened. We got home last Tuesday to find a note on the doormat.
“Hello. We hope this doesn’t seem too cheeky. We are the couple with a baby who viewed your house in Oct 04…” Immediately I remembered them. They were the first people to view our house and they loved it. They scrambled into every nook and cranny, and then stood sadly on the doorstep asking if we thought it would sell quickly.
So we read on. “We have sold our property and wanted to make on offer on yours. We were very disappointed to hear that yours had sold. If anything should go wrong with your sale, please feel free to contact either of us.” Both mobile numbers were listed at the bottom.
I felt so disappointed. I remember liking these people, and also saying to R “I bet we end up selling it to them in the end.” I had a feeling about them. It seemed so cruel that they should be just too late. But we are decent people; we couldn’t pull out of a sale – could we? We left them a message saying we had to progress with our sale, but would have loved to sell it to them, and would call them if anything happened.
I phoned my Mum, and told her how disappointed I was. Then, on Wednesday evening, I got a call from my Dad.
“Don’t just let this one go,” he said. “Find out the facts. What’s their situation?”
“But we can’t. We sent our buyers a letter …”
“If I was a negotiator,” said Dad firmly, “I would have been delighted to receive that letter. I’d think ‘They’re panicking’ and I certainly wouldn’t answer it straight away.”
Given that we had received no reply, this struck a chill into my heart.
So, I phoned the other couple. Their situation is a good one. First time buyer, very keen, sale progressing swiftly, and mortgage arranged. So I invited them round. They came round on Thursday night. It was painfully obvious how desperately they wanted the house. They love it. They appreciate all the right things about it.
So, we talked money. They can offer us more. We told them the bare bones of the situation with our buyer i.e. they still, at that point, had not even had their meeting to arrange a mortgage. We had time.
Friday morning I phoned the estate agent and asked to speak to one of the partners. Only one of them was in, and he had a diary full after 10am. So we raced to see them, my still-wet hair streaming behind me. He was great. Agreed to phone them, check out their situation, and get back to us.
Which they did. All was well. So we took a risk (they are, after all, in a chain which the others are not) and accepted their offer. This meant we could pull right out of the other one before they had spent a dime. The estate agent had suggested alternatives like ‘survey race’ or ‘contract race’ but I couldn’t do that to any of the parties involved.
You may not agree with us, but I know we did the right thing. I know these people are meant to live here.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

It's Still On

We finally heard back from the Estate Agent yesterday. Our buyer is still going ahead with the sale, provided that a SOLD sign goes up. She was apparently confused when she didn't see one, and assumed that we hadn't accepted the sale or something.
I'm finding the intermediary of an Estate Agent actually rather unhelpful. We keep talking to different people, and getting a different story from each of them. Of course, it is the same for our buyer. We briefed one person to reassure them that we were not looking for a higher offer etc., and then our buyer ended up speaking to another person who didn't seem to pass any of that on.
We are going to write our buyers a letter to cut out the middle woman, and make sure that they get the message that we are not the type of people who would accept a higher offer once we had proceeded with a sale. Then we will just see how it goes. I will be so glad when this is all over.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Well, now we've got to find somewhere to live. This is turning out to be interesting. To rent a place takes only 2-4 weeks. To sell a place takes 6-8 weeks. It can only take 1 week between exchange and completion. Letting agencies won't let you sign a letting agreement until you've exchanged.
I know this sounds like a maths exam problem, and it certainly feels like one.
Despite all this, I'm just getting on with it anyway, and have booked to view 3 properties on Saturday. This is exciting, because we can think at last about what we might be moving towards, instead of only thinking of what we are leaving.
I instructed the solicitor last Friday, and all the paperwork has apparently been sent out so we are definitely proceeding. Our buyers want to complete in mid-July which seems very soon to me. It's extremely unnerving having nowhere lined up to go to. Some might call it an adventure! At least with letting, if we make a mistake it is not unrectifiable.

Oh, dear ...

I've just had a call from H at our Estate Agents. She overheard her colleague talking to our buyer, who was attempting to arrange a viewing of another property. Overhearing this, H asked her colleague to transfer the call.
"I didn't want to talk to you!" said our buyer.
"I know," said H. "But why are you arranging to view another property?"
"Well, there's no SOLD sign up so the vendor's showing no commitment." We're showing no commitment??
In brief, our buyers have done very little. They've arranged an appointment to discuss mortgages (which we had been told had been agreed in principle) for a week next Saturday. She's now talking August as a completion date, and denied that she had ever suggested mid-July.
H is going back to her to say we will put a SOLD sign up, but if no survey has been done within 2 weeks of their meeting the mortgage people, we will put the property back on the market.
I am physically shaking as I write this. It seems it is certainly too soon to be thinking about finding a place to let. These people, if they don't drop out of the process, will probably at least drag their feet. We may be in for a rocky ride. And I've been sweating over how to ensure we don't keep them waiting for completion, and even planning to prepare a nice little handover pack of instructions etc. for them. Why are there not more nice people in the world??