Thursday, November 17, 2005

Trust, and how to lose it

Events yesterday royally *sucked* - remember that J and I are selling my flat and buying a house together. The transaction has been ongoing for over 3 months, as the guy who is buying my place has re-organised his mortgage twice! Yesterday, we were supposed to exchange contracts up and down the whole chain - and the wretched guy turned round and said he didn't have the money available till 16th December! (Last week, he said it was all ready to go) Oh - and could we exchange and complete all on the 16th, please?? Uhh, no.** So we've given him until COP Friday to come up with the money and exchange contracts, or the deal's off. In the meantime, we are applying for a second mortgage ourselves, so we would simultaneously own my flat and the house. The payments would be seriously large, but we could cope for a while. It's also the only way we can see that we can keep the purchase alive - we both really, really want this house. After a first viewing, we walked out, looked at each other and said "I want that one!". Wish us luck! Alison ** Notes for people not familiar with the wonderful British property system: When you want to buy a house in the UK, you make an offer. If it is accepted, both parties instruct solicitors to start making arrangements. Nothing is legally binding at this point. You apply for mortgages (which you may have to pay to do), start paying solicitors, and get a valuation and/or survey (expensive, but required by the mortgage companies) carried out on your intended property. Nothing is legally binding at this point. Then, solicitors do all kinds of 'searches' at the Land Registry office on your behalf. This takes weeks (their database is clearly crap) and costs money. Nothing is legally binding at this point. Just expensive. Other stuff happens. If you are selling a property too, your buyer has to do all this as well. It's not legally binding on him, either. You also have to fill out an enormous form stating what is included in the sale, and, in the case of a leasehold property (like my flat), you have to provide all kinds of documentation about service charges, ground rent etc. You also have to demonstrate typical charges for water, electricity etc. However, you simply have to *believe* that your buyer actually has a mortgage and the money to make the transaction. Eventually, after everything is signed, you are ready to 'exchange contracts'. This is where the sale becomes legally binding, and where you can sue if someone pulls out. You have to put your deposit on the house you are buying forwards at this point. You also agree a 'completion date' - the date on which the money and property deeds will actually exchange hands. It's worth noting that if you are both buying and selling (aka 'in a chain'), you technically have to sell your property before you buy your new one - because you need the money out of your property to send to the current owners of your new property. Which means that you have to have all your posessions out of your place before you have anywhere to put them. This is where removals companies become really, really useful (but expensive). To summarise: By asking us to exchange and complete on the same day, in a month's time, our buyer was not only asking us to wait yet again, he was asking us to hire removals people to take all our stuff out of the house BEFORE the contract was actually in place, BEFORE anything was legally binding, and in a situation where he could do EXACTLY THE SAME to us again, except worse. I don't think so. He has now clearly lied to us, and he doesn't get that trust back. Certainly not where the risk is so large. Hmmph.


Post a Comment

<< Home