House Dilema - HELP!!

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House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby RagDoll » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:51 pm

I am having a hard time at the moment making a decision about a house we have been in the process of buying. I’ll apologise in advance for the long post as it’s a bit of a long tale! I would appreciate any comments/advice you have and I also hope just writing everything down will help me clear my mind.

Ok, phew, where to begin….

We put an offer in on a house back in November for £10k under the asking price, and to our surprise the vendors accepted it. At this point we were in the process of selling our own house (though we had accepted an offer, appointed solicitors etc.) and hadn’t yet applied for a mortgage (though we had had conversations with mortgage advisors who told us we would be able to borrow the amount we needed etc). The estate agents (thus the vendors) knew what our position was.

Things took a while to sort out – it took a while to sell our own property as our buyer’s solicitors went out of business which delayed the process and we had to apply for a mortgage, which was approved, but it took time to sort the paperwork out. Then the snow came in November/December which put back our surveyor going to the property. That eventually happened and the survey revealed a fair few issues. Two issues were raised as needing immediate attention – one was about a blocked drain and the other regarding the old fuse box and the potential need for re-wiring.

We ignored some of the issues that the survey raised, but we asked the vendors for £1000 off the asking price to pay for some of the most pressing issues, namely the fence (the posts are shot, so in turn the fence is falling down), the replacement of the fuse box and to have the drains cleared and checked.

The vendors refused to knock off that amount, so we went back to them before Xmas and asked if we could just have £200 off to replace the fence posts in better weather and if they would get a company to flush/rod the drains and check they’re ok.

They didn’t get back to us which left us hanging for 11 days over Xmas. When everything reopened I called the estate agents and it still took several days to hear anything from the vendors. Eventually they came back and said they can’t see anything wrong with the drains and would sort the fence themselves.

The up shot of this was that the vendor drove the old fence post further into the ground and cemented it in place. This has secured the fence, but it is only a short-term fix. We overlooked this.

Regarding the drains, I said it wasn’t something we could ignore as we can’t move into a house knowing there’s a blockage! Instead of getting a professional around to resolve the issue and check there aren’t any fundamental problems with the draining system (which would have cost under £200), the vendor had a go at clearing them himself (having eventually admitting that the drains were indeed blocked). We went around to have a look at the drains, and in fairness to him, they were clean as a whistle and whilst I would have liked reassurance that there isn’t anything structurally wrong with them, in order to not delay the sale any further we just said we’d overlook it and plough ahead with the sale.

We thought we were over all the hurdles and would be ready to exchange contracts (for those that don’t know, that makes the sale legally binding), but when we spoke to our solicitor she told us there is a fault in the deeds regarding the shared driveway. Basically, both neighbours have to cross over the other neighbour’s land in order to access their own garage and a right of way should have been included in the property’s deeds to legally allow this. However, there isn’t anything in the deeds. Our solicitor wrote to the vendor’s solicitors on 1st December about the issue and they have just tried to brush it under the carpet ever since, first the vendors said they never had an issue, as if that would suffice, then they said it isn’t a shared drive (any idiot can see it is) then said it was but they couldn’t see the issue.

However, this isn’t something the solicitor can just over-look – it’s a legal issue which must be resolved in order for us to get our mortgage. The quickest and cheapest way of resolving the legal issue is for the seller’s to take out an indemnity policy which would cost in the region of £100-150.

After toing and froing (and much upset) for a couple of weeks, the vendors have finally decided to refuse to pay for the indemnity policy, saying that they don’t see why it’s an issue. Our solicitor rang the estate agents to try and get her to reason with them, explaining that this isn’t an issue which can just go away, they are going to have this issue with whoever they sell the house to, etc. etc. What she got back was that the vendor’s feel they’ve already compromised enough (what have they compromised on???? We didn’t get a penny off for any of the issues our survey raised and no professionals were consulted about any of the issues either), they feel that it should have been a quicker sale (it would have been if they had resolved this legal issue back in December when they were told about it!!) and just aren’t willing to pay. So the top and bottom of it is, we pay or we don’t buy the house, even though, as explained by my solicitor, defective deeds are the seller’s responsibility.

I am now so sick of the whole thing and their difficult and unreasonable attitude that I don’t know if I want to proceed anymore – they were belligerent about the survey and now they’re being totally unreasonable about the indemnity policy too. I just feel like they’re taking the mick out of us!! They’ve been nothing but awkward from day one really – they refused to allow the estate agent’s to put “under offer” on the house’s online details and when we had our last viewing of the house yesterday we noticed they had taken some things they said they were leaving in the contract. If we wanted to, we could be petty about that as it’s in their contract that they will leave these items, but we decided not to pursue it in the hope they would have the same sort of attitude re: the indemnity policy which, at the end of the day, is a much larger issue.

I now don’t know what to do, it’s not as if it’s the perfect house and they have just peed me off so much, a large part of me wants to tell them to shove the whole thing up their backsides!!! The house is in a lovely street in a nice area (our main motive for moving was to move to a nicer location), which is it’s appeal, but it’s really too small for us and needs a fair bit of work. Plus, there are some unknown entities in the sense that we don’t know if the drains are really ok and we noticed a patch of damp in the cupboard yesterday which alarmed me.

We are going to view another house tomorrow as I hope that will help me either realise that the other house is the right one for us and the best we can do considering our modest budget OR that there are other equally as good, if not better houses out there and we should tell them to get lost.

I’m sorry for the rant – would be interested to hear what people think!!!
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby Bel Bel » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:00 pm

Ragdoll you probably remember I had some real issue with regard to moving last year.
I must say none of my problems were ever caused by the seller. We got on well and became a bit of a team against the solicitors who caused the problems. I also had the chain fall apart 3 times. It's a very frustrating process.
I knew from the minute I put my house up for sale I would need to buy an indemnity policy for my buyer and £200 is nothing when considering the cost of moving.

I am concerned that they do not care to correct known problems so what other problems might you find once you get there that haven't been picked up by the survey or are not even covered by the survey. A survey does not always find things that have been well covered up. Potentially you could be entering a money pit.

The fact they are taking stuff is a big warning too.

The other thing to consider is a possible future neighbour dispute if you can't agree on repairs for the shared drive. One may one to bodge it whilst the other wants a professional

Things to bear in mind but it really has to be your decision
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby dayle » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:35 am

Hi Ragdoll,

We pulled out of our first house purchase for similar reasons - the survey showed a severe woodworm infestestation which would require the whole downstairs to be redecorated and they weren't prepared to budge. In the end, we decided that we didn't want the risk.

It sounds like they weren't really happy with the offer they accepted - hence keeping the property on the market (which is my interpretation of not going "under offer" on the website) and saying they've compromised enough. I'd sympathise with this, when we've taken offers under the asking price before, we've stipulated that we won't make allowances for items found on the survey up to £X. But we weren't expecting anything to come up and we still paid for indemnity policies.

I would look and see if this is good value for your budget. If it is, and you can afford the work / indemnity policy, then I would go with it. Though, I'd check when you need to pay for the indemnity policy as I'd be concerned they are still looking for a better offer. If you find something you prefer, then go for that.
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby RagDoll » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:28 am

Thanks for both of your comments :)

dayle wrote:It sounds like they weren't really happy with the offer they accepted - hence keeping the property on the market (which is my interpretation of not going "under offer" on the website) and saying they've compromised enough. I'd sympathise with this, when we've taken offers under the asking price before, we've stipulated that we won't make allowances for items found on the survey up to £X.


I totally agree, but what gets me is why they weren't more upfront and honest about it. I wish they had explained (like you obviously did) that they would begrudgingly accept the offer, but they will not make any further reductions at any point, regardless of what the survey reveals etc etc. We were told they were happy with the offer we'd made.

The other thing which gets me is that whilst they might not be 100% happy with the price they're getting, that's the same with the majority of sellers these days due to the housing market. We sold our house for a loss and made peace with that decision. I think they would struggle to achieve more than what we're paying in this current market.

dayle wrote:and we still paid for indemnity policies.


Yeh, this is what gets me, it's the principle of it. It's the seller's responsibility to pay for indemnity policies - not the buyer's. It's just an unreasonable stance to take.

Anyway, we reached a decision yesterday - we reluctantly said we would pay for half of the indemnity policy if they would pay the other half. They have begrudingly agreed to pay half as long as that is no more than £75!!! It's progress but I'm not happy we've had to pay for that. We've swallowed a lot already. Nevermind, I guess the bigger picture is that we will be getting a nice (albeit small) house in a great area. With regard to payment, the indemnity policy money is settled on completion, so it won't get paid until we've completed and own the property.
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby dayle » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:22 pm

Hi Ragdoll,

I'm glad you've made a decision. I didn't mean to say I thought their behaviour was right - they should have been upfront about it when accepting the offer. Also, you're right it was a different market when we sold - house prices were going up so we could have got more by holding on, but we wanted a quick move.

Good luck with the purchase. We love our small flat in the right area more than our huge 1st house in not-so-nice one (though we are about to move now we can afford a house in this area).

Dayle x
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby Bel Bel » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:26 pm

I would check and make sure about that Idemnity Policy, I had to pay for it immediately. Have you had it in writing how much it will cost too. As they have only committed to £75 you may well end up paying more if it cost say £200.
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby Bel Bel » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:33 pm

Regarding the owners taking things they agreed to leave I think you should get a camera that has a date on it and take hotos as you enter the house. Take every room and you can use this as evidence of what they have taken which they should have left
You may want to find out now what you can do about that.
I have heard stories of people taking radiators, light bulbs, carpets and even kitchen sinks :o
It would be best to be prepared if you already know they are likely to do this sort of thing.
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Re: House Dilema - HELP!!

Postby RagDoll » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:38 pm

Bel Bel wrote:I would check and make sure about that Idemnity Policy, I had to pay for it immediately. Have you had it in writing how much it will cost too. As they have only committed to £75 you may well end up paying more if it cost say £200.


It's my solicitor that told me it would be paid on completion. I haven't had it in writing, but it's my solicitor that is sorting it, and she's acting on my behalf, so there's no reason to not trust her. They've found one for £120, they just need to check that our mortgage lender is going to be ok with it and then pass it on to us for us to have a look at it.

Bel Bel wrote:Regarding the owners taking things they agreed to leave I think you should get a camera that has a date on it and take hotos as you enter the house. Take every room and you can use this as evidence of what they have taken which they should have left
You may want to find out now what you can do about that.


I think that's a good plan. So far, they had just taken curtains and things - nothing major, but it's annoying all the same. It's most annoying that they're clearly doing it out of spite (which is unjust) and that they're so arrogant that they think they can do what they want, even though what they've detailed they'll leave is contractual. I have raised the issue with my solicitor and she said she could bring it up with them and insist that they're put back/replaced but she said it's probably not worth it unless we really want/need the curtains etc. I said we'd leave it alone, however, if I find out that they have taken major things I will definitely be pursuing it.
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