So after the moving trials of 2013, we re-started the house buying / selling process earlier this year. This resulted in the usual expected frustrations of negotiations, mortgage applications and all the other tedious and trying activities that come with moving. However, we finally exchanged on our sale and purchase yesterday!
After the weeks of anxiety and stress, I’m feeling a weight off my shoulders knowing that this is as confident as I can be that the move will go ahead. I won’t be completely relaxed about it until we’ve actually moved in, but at least nobody can pull out now!
So now begins the process of preparing to move. Even with a removal firm packing for us, I’m still already trying to work out the logistics of packing and moving day and the impact that will have on H. I am sure she’ll take it in her stride but I have a feeling that I’ll be very thankful for Grandparents and Ella’s Kitchen pouches over those two days!
Sam and I are trying to move again. We’re still slightly burned by our experiences a couple of years ago: On the move – or perhaps not. But we’ve been doing our best to put that to the back of our mind and approach this new attempt with fresh enthusiasm.
One thing which is certainly true about moving home is that ‘what will be will be’. I keep reminding myself of this. But it’s really hard to not get frustrated about things even when you have no control over them. There are so many variables in the house buying process, and so many dependencies on other people. These are things which upset me a lot.
What’s more, the housing market really has gone mad – even more so than when we last tried to move. There is a lot in the press every week almost about how there is a real lack of supply for first time buyers. But I would say the same is true for those trying to move up the ladder in to family homes. In my view it’s a self-perpetuating problem because if we can’t find a family home to move to then we don’t free up an ideal first time buyer (or down-sizer) house.
What’s more, anything decent seems to come on the market and go within days because people are worried that someone else will take it if they take a moment to stop and think. It seems bizarre to me that people don’t have the opportunity to properly think through the biggest purchase of their lives. But then again, rash spending seems to just be the culture these days…
Back in May, Sam and I decided to put our house on the market and look to buy our next house. We started the process at the start of June and I blogged about the process along the way to act as a ‘reminder’ of everything it took. However, being the private people we are, I held the blogs back until such a time as the process was complete.
Just when we thought we were getting close to exchange, something we weren’t quite expecting happened: our vendors took their house off the market. It was a horrible shock, not least because we’d had no indication (and the signs were their Estate Agent hadn’t mentioned it) and we thought we were so close. We considered renting and even went to view some places; After living in your own home for over 6 years though, the thought of moving in to some of the places we saw was just too depressing. The Monday after our weekend viewings, we decided to take our house off the market. It wasn’t a nice feeling doing to our buyers what had been done to us. But as Sam put it ‘that’s the rules of the game’ when it comes to the English conveyancing system and ultimately, it was our house!
So this blog finds us in the same house but happy about it. Things really do happen for a reason and buying and selling a home is one of the most inefficient and stressful processes I have seen. But what it has given us is a renewed appreciation for our current home and a lot of lessons learnt for when we eventually try again!
So, from the beginning:
On the move – part 1: We’re selling-up
On the move – part 2: Viewing some houses
On the move – part 3: The Open House
On the move – part 4: Viewings
On the move – part 5: Progress
On the move – part 6: A considerable amount of paperwork
On the move – part 7: Feeling out of control
On the move – part 8: And it drags on…
It has been a while since my last update and we are now well in to September (Thursday 19 September). Things have progressed but perhaps not as fast as we might have liked. After the survey came back, we found there were some damp issues with the property. So, we requested a follow-up survey which identified some work that needed doing. After some to-ing and fro-ing, we agreed a price reduction and it felt like we had reached the final stretch…or perhaps not.
We tried to put some timeframes round it to put some pressure on everyone in the chain to complete. Our vendors seemed to have a similar idea so we said we wanted to target exchange by the end of September. Only then our solicitors ‘server’ went down meaning they were without email (this has happened twice before already) or access to any of our files. Very, very frustrating. It has now been almost two days and the response to our sellers was due to go back at the start of the week.
It is getting quite tedious and it astonishes me how slow this process can be. Of the four groups of people I know going through this process, only one has got through the process in only a few weeks. My sister has just bought a house with absolutely no chain and it took about 6 weeks end-to-end. For our neighbours and our friends Lou and Graham, the process has taken even longer. It astounds me how a process that has to happen so often is still so incredibly slow!
We are now in to August, Wednesday 7 to be precise, and things are ticking along. Our house (as in our current home) was surveyed on Monday as was the house we are looking to buy. This resulted in an ‘acceptable valuation’, thus allowing the mortgage to be confirmed. There is something weird about being happy that you can borrow a scary amount of money which you will pay back a gut-wrenching amount of interest on, but anyway…
We’ll have to wait for the survey to come back so we can see ‘what the deal is’. But, as an aside, I did follow-up with our solicitor to see if they’d had any enquiries from the buyers yet about the contract. After a couple of days of to-ing and fro-ing, including getting the Estate Agent to help (which they didn’t seem to really!), we have established that they have ordered searches and plan to email queries shortly.
So, to sum up, they are doing it but are just a bit behind where our solicitors are by a couple of weeks. Sure it’s not the end of the world. But, I cannot help but get frustrated in any situation by this sort of delay. There may well be a valid reason but it has furthered underlined something which has been unsettling me for most of this process: we have no control. Over anything. At all. The last bit is a slight exaggeration I suppose but the ability to ‘nag’ people isn’t really control. We are just in a process now and we have to just wait for it to play out. I hate this sort of situation..!
A couple of weeks since my last moving related post (18 July) and the chain on our sale is now complete. Last week we got all of the forms from the solicitor and I spent numerous hours over a few nights, with help from Sam of course, completing them and collating supporting documents. Tedious but necessary of course. The purchase forms were much shorter and easier to complete. Of course, the purchase will come with a lot more reading.
We went on Wednesday to deal with the new mortgage. We had forgotten how long it takes to go through the process. We had done an awful lot of prep. work but yet we were still lacking information that was necessary! However, it was done in just over two hours and we then headed off to work (at home for me) a bit later than normal. Next step is to book in a survey – need to do that tomorrow. Oh, and I need to try and get some removal quotes.
I had a bit of a ‘meh’ moment on the way home though. A combination of the heat, being busy at work and all of the paper work and money starting to go out have made it quite real but in a very ‘high risk’ way. I don’t like risk, it upsets me greatly. But, this is how the moving process works so I just need to grit my teeth and keep getting through it all. It’s something Sam and I both want so all of this stuff is a necessary evil!
It has been a few weeks since my last post (it is now Friday 4 July) and things have progressed since then. After my last post, we had further viewings in the week and in to the weekend. On Saturday 22 we even had a couple mooching round for a good 20 minutes. Come Monday morning, we had not one, but two offers. Two offers! Unfortunately, for different reasons, by Wednesday neither we go-ers so we were back to viewings again.
We only had one viewing in the week, but we had a couple of viewings on Saturday. However, after getting more and more wrecked with anxiety over the course of the week, I made a deal with myself on Friday night to ‘stop caring’. I wanted the house to sell I couldn’t cope with another weekend of worry. Instead of stressing over it, we headed off to Hatfield House for Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday, we spent an enjoyable day cycling / doing stuff round the house.
Monday morning arrived and I just got on with work. Then mid-morning, Sam called me and we’d had an offer from the first time buyers which we were happy to accept. Woohoo! So, on Tuesday, we were ready to move on the house we had our eye on. I let Sam loose with his negotiating skills – 4:50pm today, our offer was accepted.
The moment I stopped worrying, things started to fall in to place. Of course, it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings of course, and by that I mean successfully exchanging. That is some time away and now I have to switch my mind to what to do now. Had stopped myself from thinking about this bit! Fingers crossed and deep breaths all round…
Now the Open House is done, we are in to normal viewing mode. It’s Wed 20 June and we had our first ‘normal’ viewing today. We dropped the key at the EA yesterday and it felt quite strange giving my key to some random people. It also felt odd knowing that at some point when we were heading home from work, people were in our house. Having viewings in the day is slightly different to the Open House because there is always a ‘lived in’ edge to a house when you have had to head off to work that morning. No matter how much you faff and tidy, work calls so…
Had some ups-and-downs this week because the stress of it all was getting to me. The market we are looking to buy from is not growing at all. It makes me quite anxious knowing that we could now sell and not have anywhere to offer on. There is something we like but anything could happen with that before we have a buyer. Even then, we might choose to offer but they don’t accept. We have said we might rent if we have to, but the thought of doing this freaked me out earlier in the week. As often happens, it’s the little things which push you over the edge; This time, for me, it was the thought of having to change addresses multiple times. Haha!
Saturday 15 June, 11:55am finds Sam and I peeking out of the front window in the lounge, waiting for the Estate Agent to arrive. Meanwhile, a small gathering of people are lingering on the parking bay opposite the house, clearly waiting to come in and view. Yes, it is our Open House. The Estate Agent was due early but turns up just after 12 noon. As she rings the door bell, the viewers are already on the drive waiting to get in. Sam and I tell her where the key is, ask her to be careful with the conservatory doors (it’s very windy) and then flee to the car and in to town.
The two hours of the Open House leave me in a very odd move. It’s hard to feel relaxed knowing people are both a) inside your house and b) scrutinising your house. I spend the entire outing slightly on edge and increasingly feel more and more stressed as the end time gets nearer and I worry about what the Estate Agent will do when leaving the house (incidentally, she was not great at shutting windows!).
But, it’s done and we’ll find out on Monday afternoon what people thought and if there is any follow-up interest. I hope there is, but it is impossible to know when you will get a bite that also turns in to a sale. At least knowing people might come round will encourage to keep little bits and pieces tidy!
It’s now Monday 10 June in our ‘Buying and Selling’ story. The Open House is this weekend and, when I checked in with the Estate Agent on Friday, we had about 6 or 7 viewings booked in. Not bad and hopefully we will have some more interest as the day approaches. This time in 5 days it will be done and then we will just have to wait and see if we get any interest.
The weekend just gone we shifted focus back to where we might go. Having identified areas we liked (Letchworth and Hitchin), we went to view some actual properties there. We went to see 6 properties and, of those, there were 2 we liked and 1 we were interested in but was more of a ‘has potential’ property. We’re not people who want a big ‘project’ as so many people seem to after the nought-ies boom in property TV programmes.
Viewing properties is quite a tiring thing to do though, especially when all it is is walking around a house and garden for 15 minutes. However, it’s quite a pressured situation – you are judging a house that you might buy for a lot of money yet would only see for about 30 minutes in total. It seems a bit wrong! I was feeling quite out of sorts after the Saturday bookings were done. Not only was there the pressure of trying to work out if something was right, but there was also the worry that anything we liked might go before we are in a position to offer it. There is, of course, nothing that can be done about it but it made me feel quite anxious none-the-less.
The week ahead is looking busy at work. It is also, of course, my birthday on Wednesday. So, there are a few distractions to stop me from worrying about the weekend. I am working at home on Friday so that I can finish efficiently and get on with the cleaning. It is going to take a lot of will power to stop myself from doing things before then. But, our house isn’t a pig-sty anyway so it doesn’t need too much. Plus, the cleanliness of our house is up there with the cleanest we saw on Saturday, so hopefully it should be okay!