Reflect and Introspect Blog | Delays and Apathy

Moving House: Delays and Apathy

House update time. Hello dear reader!

When I spoke to you last about the house, we hadn’t made the original April 25th exchange date, and we began to receive 50,000 rounds of queries from the buyers’ solicitor following the survey. I had an absolute unexpected meltdown seemingly out of nowhere, and there was what felt like the 80th bank holiday of the year.

Revised Sale Price Agreed

On the Friday after the first May bank holiday, after much back and forth the entire week with negotiations, we finally agreed a new sale price to take into account the work that the buyers would need to do. We were pleased that they accepted this because really, they could have said that they don’t want to do the work, they want us to, at which case it would have been game over for us. There was no way we could do all the work required and exchange imminently, so we were grateful.

It was easy to feel angry at the buyers for delaying us further at this point, but really, they were doing what anybody would do when buying a house that needs more work than expected. I was just angry and wanted somebody to blame. I also had to remember that I really, really like our buyers, and I know that they aren’t out to cause us trouble. They want this house as much as we want our onward home, and at the end of the day, they are adhering to our timeline, and the demands we’re having put on us from our home developer, so it was really important to keep some perspective on that.

At this point, we agreed the new price but had to wait for their revised mortgage offer to come through before they could proceed. As a result, we would have to wait for the exchange date we were so desperately campaigning for, because we physically could not exchange until they could exchange with us. We were so close, yet so far.

A Curveball

Because of the length between exchange and completion, at this point there was also a hint that the buyers would agree to an exchange date, but only on the basis that they could move in in JUNE and not wait until the end of July like we had previously, unofficially agreed. They were doing us a favour by exchanging faster than they would like, so we would ideally need to do one back and move out of our home earlier than we planned. Usually when you buy a house, you exchange and complete fairly close together. But obviously, buying a new build is a completely different kettle of fish and you exchange about 10 years before you eventually complete.

We had said from the outset that we would not be able to complete on our new house until the end of July, therefore we would not be able to move out of our current place until then. However, if the new build faced delays and it wasn’t ready by the end of July, we would move out then anyway because fair is fair and we can’t expect them to wait forever. The buyers had agreed that they were happy to work to our timeline, and so we figured this was all in order.

But then with the mention of June if we wanted to secure a date, we realised that we may only have a little over a month before we had to vacate, and that we also had to try and figure out where we might go for a month (or even longer if our house was delayed!) until our house was ready. I guess this is the problem with houses not even being built yet?!

We arranged to move in with my parents in Liverpool, which thankfully my parents were more than happy to accommodate. This would bring its own host of issues (we had things like gigs booked in Manchester in July, we have a holiday booked in June meaning we wouldn’t have a lot of/any time to pack up our entire house and move out, we’d face additional costs to put things in storage, James would have a much longer commute to work and site, that sort of thing) but we faced the very real possibility that we would do it if it meant they would give us a date to exchange. We were fortunate enough to have somewhere to go, dog and all, rather than having to try and find somewhere to rent for an uncertain amount of time.

No Exchange Again

Obviously finding out on Friday 6th May that we would have to wait for the buyers’ revised mortgage offer to come through, there was no way we would exchange on 9th May. We had to notify our housing developer, who thanked us for keeping them in the loop but still didn’t really give anything else away. Were they going to take the house off us like that rude guy told us they would?! How close was our time to being up? How much longer was it going to be before they said enough is enough? We know by now that I struggle with all the uncertainty, so this felt painful to once again have no indication of anything. But as James reminded me, they have said OK, so it’s OK. And it will be OK until it’s not.

The following week, Friday 13th arrived, still no revised mortgage offer. Wonderful estate agent Amelia had been chasing all week, and had emailed the head office of our housing development for us to notify them that she was chasing vehemently for this approval, and once they had it, we could exchange.

After no response for two days from head office, and another pending weekend with no update, I started to lose it. James refused to entertain my hysteria, so I rang head office and asked whether she got Amelia’s email. She confirmed she did, and that “it’s OK”. I was like… ??? It’s OK? So you’re happy with the update? I got a simple “Yes, it’s OK, please keep chasing”, so whilst I’d have liked a little more reassurance or indication of how much longer she would give us in her answer, she had said the words “it’s OK” so that was enough to put my mind at ease for the weekend. At least I could rest for the weekend and know that I wasn’t going to wake up on Monday and get a call that we were losing the house. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this journey, it’s that it’s the uncertainty that is most painful.

The Month of May

For the entire month of May, we campaigned for updates, for the solicitors to chase the buyer’s mortgage lender, to get everything in place ready, to attach documents to emails, to make phone calls on our behalf, to chase things up, to reply to our emails, to answer our calls, to do SOMETHING to HELP US to get a bloody date confirmed.

If we weren’t waiting for responses, we were waiting for revised mortgage offers. If it wasn’t that, it was documents to confirm proof of funds, if not that then an agreement of something else. Somebody to sign something else. Solicitors claiming they didn’t have documents that they did have, that they just hadn’t looked properly for. Solicitors misadvising the buyers or worse, not advising them at all. Somebody to prove something else. By the last week of May, I had become completely apathetic towards the whole thing. I didn’t even bother to chase the estate agents anymore. When Amelia called me and I was on a work call, I didn’t even bother to panic and drop everything to answer her calls. I knew we would just be getting another “non-update” update, and I just could not be arsed anymore (I did call her back when I got off those calls, by the way, I wasn’t rude, I just mean I didn’t have the vigour I started out with).

Could Something Be Happening?

And then, in the final week of May, there began to be a flurry of activity. Estate agent Amelia was becoming visible aggy about the fact that all this was STILL dragging on, and that everybody was just taking so long to do ANYTHING. I think she was probably as done with it all as we were.

Then we received notification that the buyers’ mortgage revision had been approved! Amelia emailed our developer’s head office to notify them immediately of the update, and received a response around 5pm on Wednesday from them demanding that the exchange takes place that week.

That left two working days.

That means we were past the point of providing a date, we would need to bypass the thing we’ve been campaigning for – an actual exchange date – and just get straight to it. That was where we were at now in this long-ass sale journey. We would need to exchange on Thursday or Friday, but given that things just take so long to sort anything, we didn’t really see how this could be possible.

Amelia went head to head with them saying whilst they were pushing it through, they did have to be realistic here. Amelia agreed that they would push to exchange on Friday (27th) or Monday (30th) May. It suddenly felt surreal – not only were we no longer after a date, we were just cutting straight to the chase and doing the exchange.

This was agreed and Friday came, we heard nothing.

Monday morning came, nothing.

Then Monday afternoon, there seemed to be a flurry of activity. The solicitors confirmed that they had everything they needed to get the ball rolling with exchange and that we could begin. The buyers would need to set in motion to transfer the funds to the solicitor, and then all parties could get it underway.

Could this really be happening?!

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