Reflect and Introspect Blog | Exchange Date

“You’re Not Going to Make the Exchange Date”

Welcome back, dear reader.

Hold onto your hats, these next two instalments coming at you together are probably going to wind you up!

The last time I spoke to you was about The Survey, where I told you that we were due to get the results on Wednesday 20th May, a mere 5 days prior to our allocated exchange date. You can find a quick overview of what an exchange is here. We were cutting it fine, obviously, but we still had hope at that point that we would make it.

Useless Solicitors

Three days after our survey, on Thursday 14th April, our estate agent called us to inform us that our solicitor had been holding our sale up since 28th March because he hadn’t provided a document he was asked to provide to the buyer’s solicitor. THE 28th MARCH.

I was a little confused at how this was coming to us NOW, nearly 3 weeks later, given that both James and I had been avidly chasing every single day to check for an update and whether there was anything outstanding on our part, only to be told that there was nothing. Yet here we were, three weeks later with the solicitor we’re paying an absolute WEDGE to not doing what they were supposed to do, again.

The issue was to do with a lease document for the house. On 28th March our solicitor had contacted the company for this document and was waiting for a reply. Now anybody with half a brain might know that you don’t just ask for something ONCE when it is holding up the sale and you are literally the person in charge of somebody’s case, but it turns out our solicitor didn’t know that. Instead, our solicitor had asked ONCE for the document and never bothered to chase it up again. REALLY reassuring to know this is the level of service we’re getting when we’re paying this “professional” THOUSANDS of pounds to help us with our sale, but my jaded bitterness and hatred for solicitors is a story for another day.

So like everything else that our solicitor is supposed to do but doesn’t, it became OUR job once again to sort this document out. James, as you know, works away during the week, and when he chased up this particular document he was told that they could give it to him (and only him – ie. NOT ME because it is his name on the sale). Not only that, he would have to go to their physical office half an hour away from where we live to collect the physical document because there is only ONE COPY of this document in the entire universe – the original – and I SHIT YOU NOT, “it’s too big to scan”.

Too. Big. To. Scan.

What the fuck does that even mean?!

All I could think was thank god this office just happened to be half an hour away from us. I don’t know much about these things but what would we have done if it was somewhere further like London or Scotland?!

My other concern was that if there is only ONE COPY of this document in existence and it was too big to scan, how the hell could we guarantee that it wouldn’t go missing en route in the post?! What the hell would we do if it did?! We usually take scans of every document prior to sending, but if this was unscannable, where would that leave us?

Scanning the Unscannable Document

So the following day, the day before Good Friday when every man and their dog close for 4 whole days, James left work early and raced back halfway across the country to make it to this office in time to pick up the document that was too big to scan.

He picks it up, then goes to his main work office where he scanned it in (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because it was completely scannable after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and sent it via email to the relevant company. With there being two bank holidays and a weekend, our post office was shut so we had to wait until the following Tuesday to send the physical copy recorded delivery.

We had waited nearly 3 weeks for our solicitor to action this (and god knows how many more it would have been if we didn’t take it over) and James got it sorted in less than 24 hours.

You’re Not Going to Make the Exchange Date

On Wednesday 20th April, we get an update from the buyer’s solicitor informing us that, as fully expected, we were not going to be making the 25th April exchange date.

The solicitor had only received the lease information we sent that day even though we had emailed it all over the Thursday prior. Because, and this is something that we’ve learned in this process, when you are a solicitor, you need an additional full day after every weekend and bank holiday just to reacclimatise and get back into the swing of work. So they had only looked at the document today and had only received the survey report that day too, so they needed time to go over everything, which of course, is reasonable.

They informed us they didn’t know how long it would take to review the documents and the report, so they couldn’t give us ANY indication on that, but that they would update us again as soon as possible.

What now?

We had been so focused on making this exchange date and whilst we knew deep down it was going to be impossible, we had been hoping that something would just pull off and we’d make it. Would we lose the house like Rude Guy had told us all those weeks ago? Was this it, game over?

An Unofficial Extension

James called our housing developer immediately who reassured us that it was OK, and that given our case they had expected a delay, and that it would only really become a big problem if it goes past two weeks post-exchange mark.

So there we had it, an unofficial two-week extension. We needed to exchange by latest, the new date of Monday 9th May.

And thus it began again. A daily chasing of solicitors from both myself and James, and also our wonderful estate agent Amelia, constant chasing, battling, and keeping on the solicitors’ radar. The entire week was a blur, but I recall finding it difficult to have to keep on top of this whole thing while struggling with a neverending manic time at work, too.

And then a little under a week later, the survey results came back. And with it, came the first round of “queries” from our buyers.

And that “bit of damp” the surveyor had told us about was NOT the only issue AT ALL.

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