Reflect and Introspect Blog | Survey Queries

The World of Survey Queries

As I ended the last post, we had been told we weren’t going to make the exchange date and had received the first round of queries from our buyers’ solicitor. Queries are the things that the surveyor found relating to the condition of the house, that they would encourage you ask the owners (in this case, us!). More on that here.

Survey Results

We were a little shocked when we received the first round of queries, given that we had been told unofficially by the surveyor that “there’s a bit of damp” but that it wasn’t game-changing. Our estate agent Amelia advised us that the things raised in the queries are, however, routine things and their solicitor is just being extra cautious. Fair enough, they are buying a house after all so we get it, it has to be right.

We had to provide a load of documents and evidence about various different aspects as well as answer the questions they had raised about the property. We provided updates about whatever we could, and we actioned everything pretty much immediately so we could start again with our push for the revised exchange date of May 9th.

The next day, whilst they weren’t official “queries”, I had to answer a load more questions and go through more information that I swear I had already provided, but figured not to worry, I’ll do whatever I can to speed things along.

The day after that (Wednesday 27th April) we received more queries. This was the official second round. When we received this round I was a little confused, because all of them could have been raised days ago with the first bunch and we could have got to work on actioning them as quickly as we had done with the others. Amelia agreed that she didn’t really understand why they hadn’t been raised then either, but they’ve been raised now so we just had to answer them.

Some of the queries in this round were definitely things we’d already provided earlier on in the sale progression, at which point we asked our solicitor why we are being asked for stuff that we provided weeks and weeks ago, at the very beginning of our sale journey? Why isn’t he, upon receiving these queries from the buyer’s solicitor, giving them the information he already has on our file? All of this back and forth for things we’ve already covered is just wasting more time.

More Documents, More Scanning, More Hassle

With James being away, it was constant phone calls back and forth, him requesting that I find certain documents in the house, scan them and send them over to him so he could send them on to our solicitor. Amelia had arranged for both solicitors to be actioning our cases that same day, given that we were now on borrowed time. Our solicitor was tasked with sending an email later that morning with everything we had sent to him, so that the buyers’ solicitor could action it in the afternoon, and hopefully, have things tied up the same day.

We sent everything over to our solicitor, who confirmed that he had done his bit and sent the email to the buyer’s solicitor, we updated Amelia and settled knowing that we’d done our bit, and the ball was in their court. Then at 5pm that day, Amelia calls me saying that the buyer’s solicitor had just sat down to review everything, and found that our solicitor hadn’t attached any of the accompanying documents we had sent. So basically, ALL of the stuff that needed to be reviewed, he hadn’t attached.

Obviously, our solicitor had gone home for the day at that point so there would be no further action that day, and so that was ANOTHER day down the pan. I was infuriated by this guy. This was somebody that is supposed to be helping our case, not hindering it.

Breaking Point

For various reasons and life circumstances outside of this house stuff, I had been really struggling mentally for the majority of April and this was leaking straight into May. Work had been, and continues to be horrible, I’ve been completely overwhelmed trying to juggle everything going on outside of work and house, and I was feeling completely broken.

On this particular Wednesday, I had spent hours on and off the phone to Amelia pushing things through, then on and off to James to sort the documents, then trying to fit work in, and then finding out that the solicitor couldn’t even attach all of what we’d worked on that day to an email. And I just lost it.

When Amelia called me to tell me about the lack of email, out of nowhere I just started crying. She panicked and tried to reassure me that it was OK, she was onto it (bless her, like I couldn’t tell she was doing EVERYTHING in her power to help us, wonderful Amelia). I was mortified, trying to reassure her that I’m OK and just got a lot going on, and don’t know why I’m crying. I wanted to get off the phone because honestly, I couldn’t stop crying!

I put my dog in daycare for one day a week to give me a break and a full day uninterrupted to work, and it was this particular day she was in, so it was time to go and pick her up. I’m laughing so much as I write this because honestly, I must have looked like an absolute MESS, but it was like the floodgates had opened. I got off the phone and started to sob, got in my car still crying, cried the whole way to daycare, HYSTERICALLY by this point, and because I was running late after getting off the phone I didn’t have time to stop to pull myself together. I put sunglasses on as I collected my dog, rushing away so the daycare assistant who I usually stay and chat to for a bit wouldn’t notice, and continued to cry the whole way back. I was uncontrollable, and even as I reassured myself that this really wasn’t a huge deal, I continued to cry. God knows what people must have thought if they saw me!

In hindsight, I think the previous month’s built-up emotions were just coming flooding out of me, but I was so shocked wondering what the hell was going on. I can’t remember the last time that happened, tears were coming out of NOWHERE! I didn’t even feel that sad?!?! Yet it was as though my tear ducts had opened and the tears weren’t going to stop until they had run dry. I cried so much that I gave myself a migraine, had to go to bed at 8pm, and felt completely and utterly drained the whole of the next day.

Not my finest hours, but I guess that’s what happens when you just bottle everything up for weeks and weeks on end. Sometimes I guess you just need to cry it all out?

Third Round of Queries

The following day, our solicitor finally managed to send the email, and the day after that, the Friday before another bank holiday, we received a THIRD round of queries from the buyers’ solicitor.

It was 3.45pm on a Friday before another bank holiday, James was working from home that day and we got a call from Amelia. She told us that she had done a routine chase of the buyer’s solicitor, who had told her that they had sent a third round of queries to our solicitor, and were waiting for a response. Obviously, our solicitor hadn’t been in touch with us to notify us of any of this, so Amelia told us we needed to ring him ASAP but also gave us a short rundown on the further queries they had raised so we could at least get to work AGAIN.

By this point, it was DAFT stuff being raised and Amelia advised that we were dealing with an overly cautious solicitor who was telling the buyers to challenge EVERYTHING, even all the things that are considered ‘normal’. I do understand that you want to be cautious when buying a home and at the end of the day, it’s not their fault we are up against it timewise. But what tipped us over the edge was a request to undertake all the work they had raised in this third round of queries, before they were willing to exchange.

Well, given that we were now a week into a 2-week grace extension to exchange on our dream house, what do you think we were going to do?!

Are we willing to wait for what could be, in the current climate, months for builders to come in and do this work, pay a load of money for the privilege and miss out on our dream home? Absolutely fucking not.

And they knew this. Of course, they knew we weren’t willing to do ANY of that, because these things take time and our backs are up against the wall because we NEED to exchange.

Enough is Enough

We’re not daft, we could see where it was all going. They wanted money off the asking price.

And this was fine, we had established that more work than we knew of needed doing and that we were not going to be able to do it, and that’s fine, they can have money off. But they need to give us an exchange date ASAP and we will NOT be accepting any more queries. There was absolutely no need for this multiple query business that had taken the entire week, half of which they had already been told and the other half was stuff that they knew of when they took the house on.

So James sent a VERY stern email to our solicitor, we told Amelia to tell the buyers’ solicitor (that’s our solicitor’s job but let’s face it, he isn’t going to action anything officially at that time of day on a bank holiday weekend is he?!) that the answer is NO. We are NOT willing to do that work, and we would NOT be willing to take more queries because they had had ample opportunity to submit them now (turns out the buyers had their survey results WAY before they sent them to solicitors!!!) as well as a reminder that if we lose our onward purchase, we WILL be taking our house off the market at this point. I had stopped crying by this point LOL and was back to being feisty and furious at everyone involved, and we ended another work week down with no progress.

We were becoming so frustrated by this point, hyperconscious that Monday was another bank holiday and so we would essentially have four workdays to get an exchange date agreed before Monday 9th May.

It’s so easy to get completely absorbed in all this frustration and negativity, and it’s fair to say I had to really dig deep to remind myself of all of our blessings at that point! That is something I have got A LOT better at throughout the last four weeks of this shit show, but I wasn’t so great at it at this point!

Oh well, next up… Sale agreed!

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