What a Year!

May 2021, we decided to put our house on the market. Why? We had finished all the work we wanted to do and could do to the property. We had lived in this wonderful home for 10 years and it was time to move on. The market was also at a real high so the perfect time, or should I call that the perfect storm.

We accepted an offer in June and found our new home in August. Trust me I had viewed and viewed so many houses, to the extent that my husband and I agreed I would do the first viewings and if interesting, we would both do the second viewing. Even before the first viewing, I would do a drive-by, as it was all about location for us PLUS the housing market was moving so quickly. We had offered on 2 properties previously but as with many properties at that time, they had gone to “best and final” offers, which we weren’t successful in, one had in fact gone for £250,000 OVER the next highest price and we had offered more than the guide and we were led to believe there were over 12 offers on the table. THIS market was madness. I believe the offer on this did fall through, due to the field that was part of the transaction needing a third party’s permission to sell, which this third party did not give – knowing of the third party, I am not surprised at all. We all know one of those people, don’t we? The one that lives in the BIG house, has 25 acres and because someone else on the lane wants to buy a house with a 2-acre field, they can upset the apple cart by saying NO. The house then sold (without the field) for less than we had offered) I believe in karma, you put out in the world what you want to receive back. The big house is on the market, has sold yet and has now in fact been on the market for a while they have dropped the price. 

BUT, all things happen for a reason because we found our dream home. When we found the home we were selling, I recall walking through the back gate and my husband and I just squeezed each other’s hands and said quietly “this is the one, but ssssssshhhhhh don’t let the agent see we’re that keen”. We had the same feeling when we found this one. We hadn’t even viewed it, but looking at the pictures, doing the “google maps” etc, we just said to each other “this is it”. Viewing arranged and off we went. As we entered the driveway, we just looked at each other and said “we’re offering” we hadn’t even stepped through the door.  Have you ever felt that strongly about something, that sixth sense we have, the gut reaction (because we all know our gut is our second brain, right, which is why we trust our gut instinct)? Viewing successful, we said to the agent, “so how do we proceed, is this going to be a property that goes to best and final” No, the owner was selling this property off a very large estate and needed to know it was going to the right people. It had been rented for years and was time to sell, in the next couple of years it will need a new roof and a whole lot more, but when you run your own construction company, these are not things that phase us.

Offer in – offer accepted and the owner would like to meet up. What a wonderful gentlemen, we kind of felt like we were quietly being interviewed for the property, but we didn’t mind because it meant that he was fully respectful of the property and needed reassurance that the new owners were going to love it as much as his family had loved it before. 

THIS WAS AUGUST! This property was the end of the chain, and our buyer had secured an offer from someone who was chain free, so three houses, what could go wrong! Famous last words. Our offer was in June, and we had been asked by our buyer if we would consider moving into rented if we couldn’t find anywhere. We knew the rest of the chain was pushing so we pushed our solicitors hard to get the paperwork sorted. 

The current tenants of the property we were now buying were due to move out end of October, so we look at this as a completion date, everything was moving forward, daily updates with solicitors and both buying and selling agents, and things were progressing nicely, so we thought!!!! As we had been approaching, what we thought would be an exchange, the wheels fell off, our buyer’s buyer had got cold feet and had pulled out. This close to the exchange – really, does this still happen in this country? Well yes apparently so. 

Our buyer was still keen to buy our house and we were still keen to sell to them, we still wanted to buy the next house too. I broke protocol and phoned our buyer’s agent and had a chat to ensure we were all going smoothly.  Now back up to the top story about the house we offered on previously, this was through our buyer’s agent, so whilst I broke protocol, I did have a relationship with this agent, it turns out that the original buyer had got cold feet a few weeks earlier than we had found out, had I know then I would not have pushed my solicitor for an exchange and I definitely wouldn’t have organised and paid the deposit for a removal company. So I went further with the breaking of protocol and found our buyer on FB and sent them a message, saying “Hi I know this probably breaks protocol but wanted to reach out as the news has just come to me this hour about your buyer, Everything happens for a reason, I’m a believer in fate and this well pulled back together. This country’s law stinks in house sales.” No response for 5 days – I had gone into spam and our buyer was delighted I had reached out and said they would be gutted if they lost our house, but hopeful that this weekend’s viewings would result in the chain being complete again

Our buyer and I agreed to exchange numbers and keep in direct contact. Our seller also reached out, via their agents, and asked to be in direct contact too. THIS is what I believe kept our chain together. The agents chased solicitors, banks, etc but we as the buyers and sellers, who had to deal with all the emotions of all sorts – kept in direct contact.

We are now in October, so my Husband and I were keen to get moving fast and be in for Christmas. Christmas however now came and went, with the new buyer’s buyer seeming to drag their feet on stuff. The agents all reassured us an exchange in January would happen, for a move in February. We all wanted the reassurance of exchange, until this happens anyone can change their mind. 

Mid-January, buyer’s buyers want to do one last viewing on the Wednesday with an exchange on Thursday – okay all agreed (it was a question over an access gate on the boundary). The phone call came at the end of the day Wednesday, sorry they’ve pulled out!! WHAT? Are you serious, after all this – and again, this closes to exchange? How can this even happen, the law in this country stinks, how can people play with emotions and other people’s lives. I phoned our buyer on Thursday morning, we were both in tears, this level of emotional stress was just getting too much for us. The reason for the change came to us that the road noise was too much. These people had viewed the house and garden over 10 times, surely the road would have been one of the first things you discuss. To me it was an excuse and I wasn’t going to waste any more time or energy on the matter. We had to put our house back on the market to appease our seller, who had said if we aren’t back as a completed chain within a few weeks then they would also have to remarket the property. There was a high level of stress in the family home, and my husband and I agreed, that if we lost the property we were buying then we would take our house of the market and stay put, after all we loved our home, we just wanted another project. Our buyer completely understood but was also gutted. I wanted to let her know as soon as possible so she didn’t get on of the those Right Move Property Alerts for a new house in her search criteria. Many of the calls we had included tears as well as anger, but what I loved was the relationship and friendship that had grown between me and our buyer. She came over one day to measure furniture curtains etc and I offered a cup of tea, which turned into wine, which turned into a good few hours putting the state of the housing market to rights and leaving with a hug.

We are now at the end of January and back as a completed chain, our buyers (third time lucky) buyers, were in a rented chain free, no mortgage needed, and even put down and sizeable non-refundable deposit with their solicitor. Now, this gave me the confidence that we were finally going to move. We wanted to push for mothers day in the UK (March 27th) but wasn’t feasible, so we all agreed on the 12th of April so we could be in for Easter and have the long weekend in our new homes. 

Our seller had agreed that on exchange we could have the keys to do some decorating before we moved in. What a wonderful human, it is this kind of gesture that puts my faith back into humanity, especially when the news in the world just seems to be so doom and gloom.

March 17th – we finally exchange contracts!! April 12th – we finally complete, nearly a YEAR after we put our house on the market and accept an offer. Three households moving and three properties in the chain, this has been one hell of a ride.

Lessons learned:

Trust your gut insetting. When the second chain didn’t exchange before Christmas, I felt it wasn’t right

Communication is key, even when it is news you don’t want to hear or deliver, being upfront, open and honest can save heartache for all. I didn’t want to remarket our house in February but I also didn’t want our buyer to just see it “For Sale” again on right move, so we had that conversation first.

Everything happens for a reason. That is a whole new blog on its own.

Right now, I need to get the utilities sorted. Really, yes, I’ve written a blog on that one too, because I can not comprehend how one company can so monumentally mess up.

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