Saturday, November 05, 2005

And then it got worse still...

Script word count: (just to prove I am doing SOME writing) 12,496

Yesterday was, without a doubt, one of the top three most stressful days of my life to date. In fact I can't think what the other two would have been but for the sake of journalistic accuracy, I am hedging slightly...

I worked on the TV script all morning then drove to my solicitor in Buckinghamshire (it's one of those fixed price ones and Bucks is cheaper than London). There was some doubt about one issue to do with a lean-to, but I was prepared to take that on trust... however, at the eleventh hour, something we'd been told would be there - basically, a document to prove that some structural work done years ago is safe - wasn't there. Yet the sellers were insisting that if we didn't exchange by 5pm last night, they were pulling out.

It was an impossible situation, and one of those where the indisputable benefits of buying on your own - being able to choose the house YOU want, and the decor and location and so on - disappeared. I felt so alone. Boyfriend and his dad, who is a builder, were both very supportive and even the estate agent tried to sort it, but ultimately it was my decision, over the largest amount of money I have ever spent.

So at 2pm everything seemed fine, at 3pm it wasn't but there might have been a solution, and by 4pm, time was running out. At 4.50pm there was a glimmer of hope in the form of an offer from the other side of a 'conditional exchange' - basically that I would be committed to buy UNLESS the sellers didn't produce this certificate before completion, in which case I was allowed to pull out. Phew. It seemed perfect, my solicitor was just picking up the phone to say yes when....

... at 4.54pm, their solicitor said they'd withdrawn that offer. It was unconditional exchange or deal's off.


I tell you, this was the low point of a very difficult few weeks. But this was now looking fishy: if they were confident they were getting this certificate, why withdraw? Their solicitor said it was because they were fed up. So fed up (I guess this means, spitting blood) that the solicitor wasn't prepared to ring them back. Hmmm.

I thought about it for five minutes (must admit there was a moment or two of tears in the loo) and decided I couldn't be held to ransom like this. If this certificate never arrived - or, worse still, the council issuing it condemned the work - I would be wholly liable and face enormous problems when I came to sell. The surveyor had warned against it, my boyfriend (who works in construction) and his dad warned against it. So did Jo, the conveyancer. So, regretfully, I had to get her to call them and say 'either conditional exchange today, or maybe we can wait till we get the certificate.' But that would have meant further delays to the moving-in date - and anyway they had said it was today or never.

I felt heavy-hearted but resolute. Dick Whittington-esque visions of me and cat on street loomeed again, but you know what, it felt the only decision I could have taken.

Three minutes later, Jo reappeared. They'd agreed! Hoorah!!!!!!!!!! I could have kissed the conveyancer but I didn't. She didn't look like that kinda gal.

Of course, I won't believe it's over till I have the keys but hopefully we now all just want to move forward.

Came home, had a few drinks with boyf, and then got back to script. The move is still not 100 per cent until they produce the certificate, assuming they intend to, but so long as it's what we all want, it should be OK. Apparently problems like this are becoming increasingly common as the regulations have been tightened up so much.

Moral of the story? I don't know. If I had known how difficult this was going to be, I wouldn't have offered on the property. I've tried to see it from their point-of-view, but it's hard because I feel I 'gave' on quite a few issues where they seemed unwilling to budge. But hey, I am sure they have a different opinion. I hope we'll both be happy with our new homes and it'll be forgotten soon.

I also think the legal process doesn't help things, but on the day, Jo and her colleague were stellar and clear and if it all happens, I think there'll be chocolates heading their way. Oh, one definite lesson - if you get major work done in your house PLEASE keep all the paperwork. It would have saved so much hassle if the people THEY bought from had provided original documentation...

Finally, thanks for the comments on my last post - it was great to know people were thinking of me...

Lovely Link of the Day:
Maybe at last it's time to go home shopping! Not that I have any cash...


Blogger MuseinMeltdown said...

This really is rough. I am surprised nobody suggested any of the indemnity insurance policies which are available to cover the non-appearance of the certificate. I think they are about £50 and the seller buys the cover (unless they have already had problems with the Council, in which case they can't get cover cuz it is a known problem.

Keep the faith - all be well when you are sipping mulled wine at Christmas in your new front room!!

4:18 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Oh thanks again... yes, sadly the indemnity wouldn't cover something they'd already asked the council to check out. It's work that may have been done as long as 25 years ago but no certificate, no sale.

Still feel very unsettled but the mulled wine image is a very comforting one, shall try to focus on that! Great idea!

Kate xx

5:27 pm  
Blogger MuseinMeltdown said...

Well what will be will be, and it is better you found out now, not when you were desperately trying to sell the place and found you were stuck with it.

This could all be fodder for your new book though? They say write from experience don't they!!

Ah..mulled wine beckons. Hope things are calmer now...

Best wishes Shani

6:53 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home