It was all going so well. We had officially reserved our new home and had arranged a third meeting back at the development to choose our ‘finishes’ on the house. We got to choose what colours we wanted the walls painted, what flooring/carpets we would like, what tiles we wanted in the bathroom, what kitchen facilities we wanted and so on, and we had to have a meeting to go through it all.
Basically, our house was quite advanced in the building process, so we were having to move fairly quickly – more so than expected – to get through the process, and that was why all the meetings were happening at once. This was great for us, the buyers were desperate to get into our house and we were glad we didn’t have to wait years for our new home to complete, as I know so many other people have to do with new builds. It still all felt very exciting.
So we had to have a meeting to finalize it all, a meeting that would soon become known as THE Meeting, but before I tell you about that, I want to give you an indication of the state of mind I was in in the week leading up to that…
We had called the estate agents the day after we first put the money down on our new home and asked them to notify our buyer that we had found somewhere, but that it was a new build, and we had been advised that we needed to proceed relatively quickly. The developer told us to notify them specifically that it was a new build because the process is apparently different from a normal sale. So we explained this and said we would appreciate it if they could update us when the buyers had instructed surveys.
We didn’t hear anything for a little while but then I coincidentally bumped into our buyer a few days later walking past my house (their child goes to school nearby, she wasn’t just stalking us), so I asked her whether the estate agents had told them we’d found somewhere. They hadn’t. I was a little irked, but it was fine, I just told the buyer myself and told them of our provisional completion date of end of July. It was a quick, passing encounter but I figured at least they now know. She seemed thrilled!
A week later, following our next meeting, we called the estate agent again to give them the latest update that even though the house wasn’t due to “complete” until July, we had since found out at our second meeting that our home developer needed us to “exchange” on April 25th, which was approximately 5 weeks away. Sidenote: I just want to take a moment here to say that the terms “exchange” and “complete” will, I swear, haunt me until my dying day after all this. I hear and speak them 700 times a day at present, and if I never have to hear them again it will be too soon.
I asked whether this was doable because I have never sold a house before, and 5 weeks seems ambitious from what I have seen online and from other people’s house sales. I was told that they would contact the buyers immediately for an update and see where they were up to. It had been a few weeks since we accepted their offer, so maybe they had already started to action things. I didn’t hear anything further the next few days and I didn’t chase it because I figured it was in hand. That, and I hadn’t yet learned that if you want anything doing when selling a house, you need to ring all involved parties every 2 hours until they do what you need them to do.
In the week leading up to THE Meeting, we hadn’t had any form of update from the estate agent, and I realised I didn’t actually know whether they had notified the buyers of the April 25th exchange date. Actually, I didn’t even know whether the buyers were even proceeding with our house at all! I hadn’t heard anything. Complete radio silence.
They hadn’t notified them we found a house when I asked them to, what if this was the same? We were starting to get a little concerned by the silence and lack of any update, so I called the estate agent at the start of the week to query things. Shouldn’t we have heard something regarding a survey now? The buyers DO know that we need to exchange on April 25th don’t they? IS EVERYTHING OK?!
Day 1 – Monday
The first day I called, I was told that the designated account manager for our sale was busy and would call me back. I heard nothing for the rest of the day but figured it happens, people are busy, and that I would call again tomorrow.
Day 2 – Tuesday
The following day, I didn’t hear anything so I called again. Our designated account manager was once again busy and would ‘call me back’, so I explained to the girl I spoke to that I was told this yesterday and nobody called me back. I explained that I just needed an update to know whether our buyers were happy to proceed given the shorter than expected timeframe and adhere to the new build’s processes. I was told they understand and our account manager would for sure call me back.
Day 3 – Wednesday
The third day, still no call back so I called again and was once again told “she’s on the phone and will call you back”. I was getting aggy now. Was it so much to ask for an update on our house sale from the people who we are paying to manage our house sale?! Was I being unreasonable?! I’ve never done this, so I don’t know…
I gave it an hour with no callback and called again, and HALLELUJAH, I managed to get STRAIGHT through to our designated account manager. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot! I explained that I REALLY needed an update on our sale and reiterated for the 500th time that we are buying a new build and their timeline is quicker than what is considered standard for a sale and purchase. If the buyers weren’t proceeding we needed to know ahead of our third meeting at the weekend, as we would be required to pay A LOT of money soon. She chirpily told me she didn’t know and that she would call the buyers for an update. No urgency, not a care in the world. But then I suppose, what’s the urgency? It’s only OUR FUTURE we’re talking about here.
Day 4 – Thursday
The following day, I left it until about 4pm before calling again, giving them time to action what they were supposed to and then call me back. 4pm came, so I called and, as usual, got through to somebody different because my account manager was OF COURSE busy. I explained that my account manager should have called the buyers yesterday, and can the person I was speaking to check my file and see what the update was. Do the buyers know of and agree to the April 25th exchange date? Do we just need to quit whilst we’re ahead? WHAT IS THE UPDATE?!?!
Do you want to know what the update was?
Our account manager had called our buyers and not managed to get through to them.
That was the update.
I lost it. Was a VOICEMAIL left?! Did she send an EMAIL?! Or had she just rang once, not got through and NOT BOTHERED TO CHASE AT ALL for a whole day?! It was the latter, of course.
I snapped. I asked for the buyers’ details (which obviously they wouldn’t give me because of data protection) explaining that I was more than happy to message them myself and see, as I just needed an answer at this point. We had 5 weeks to exchange and these things take time. And realistically, we were going to be stretched to get everything pushed through now if they hadn’t done ANYTHING yet, and we needed to know before we put any more money down on this house at the weekend. Our house purchase is literally dependent on these people, and we just needed to know something.
It is an awful feeling knowing that your future is at the hands of people who don’t a) know you b) give two shits about you and c) have zero urgency. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand they are dealing with many cases and I am just another number, but I am a number who is paying them a lot of money to help with our house sale, and it was infuriating to think that we could lose our house purchase due to a lack of communication.
I lost my shit
It wasn’t my finest moment, and I appreciate you might read this and think I acted like a “Karen” but with their brazenness and lack of urgency, I’d had enough. I lost it. I went OFF. I was having the week from hell with work and I hadn’t slept the last few nights worrying about whether we even had a shot with this house, and I did not expect to be told that no action had been taken despite me ringing every day. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET THINGS MOVING?!
I was so upset, frantic and just needed some sort of action and it was driving me to despair that they weren’t taking any. I lost my shit a bit with the girl on the phone (explaining of course that this isn’t her fault but it is getting BEYOND a joke now) and it seemed to whip her into gear. She promised that she would call the buyer herself when she got off the phone, and then send them an email as well as leave a voicemail if she couldn’t get through. RIGHT. I said that I really, really needed someone to call me with an update tomorrow, not just fob me off like they had all week. I was practically begging, they must have had a right bitch about me in the office, but I really thought I’d got through them.
All I could think was that as every day passes with zero action, our meeting draws closer and we don’t even know if we still have a house sale!!! We already knew that any money we spent from this point was non-refundable, so we didn’t want to pay it out if our house sale was going to fall through.
Day 5 – Friday
Friday comes and you guessed it, they didn’t call me back. I didn’t even call them. I was beginning to spiral into despair.
I was in super victim mode by now, wallowing in all sorts of self-pity. I was tired, stressed, frustrated and upset, and I had kind of lost touch with reality in the frenzy I was in.
All I could think about was the potential of losing our dream home because nobody was answering us or giving us information. The buyers had gone AWOL, the estate agents wouldn’t help us, and the new home developer was chomping at the bit for our money. Who were we supposed to turn to for help?!
As I said, I was losing it. I was frustrated, angry, desperate, sad; all the negative emotions and all at once. I was furious that we chose these estate agents, angry at myself for thinking I was being assertive and stern and it had clearly done NOTHING, and I just felt all-out defeated. I’d lost all perspective (ie – we have each other and we have our health and wealth, it’s a house, we will lose a bit of money but we can make it back and find another house), all I could focus on was whether this was all going to cost us the one home we had finally managed to secure.
Day 6 and 7 – Saturday and Sunday
Even as I write this, I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But we had so many decisions to make on how to proceed, we had so much emotion surrounding this house, and we had no idea of ANYTHING that was going on.
Work had been a NIGHTMARE all week, and I felt engulfed in negativity. All the breathing exercises in the world weren’t working, I couldn’t be arsed trying to meditate or focus on my blessings or work on my gratitude journal, I was just stressed and anxious with all the uncertainty. It wasn’t a good combo and I was really struggling to focus on anything except the unfairness of the situation (I know – like I said, I was in SUPER victim mode) but above all, I really started to feel like our dream was no longer a reality, and I was so sad.
I had made peace with the fact that we weren’t going to put any more money down (because that would be thousands) until we knew the buyer’s situation, and I was OK with losing the £500 reservation fee because it seemed trivial in the upset that we felt about potentially losing this house after allowing ourselves to be so excited about it. I was angry that we had been so naive to think it would all go through easily enough.
By this point, even James was becoming worried but he was keeping it together for my sake (bless him). People often comment on how strange it is that two SO VERY different people such as us work so well together. This was one of those times I understood why. I’m over here losing my shit, not sleeping, panicking and struggling to compose myself, whilst James is cool, calm, collected steering the ship. I say it all the time but god I married a good’un.
So Why Am I Telling You All This?
So knowing all this and where we were at, you can understand that I was a bit of a wreck by the time Sunday came and we had THE Meeting. Our lovely friend Will was away on jury duty, so we were meeting his colleague. Little did we know that Will, lovely, supportive, HUMAN Will, and his colleague had VERY different temperaments.
To be continued…