Here we go again

Friday January 13, 2006

It was a rerun of yesterday, with one rather significant addition.

About nine-thirty this morning the phone rang. The agent informed me that yesterday’s viewers would like to take a second look. Fine. Eleven-thirty.

They came. They enthused. They drank coffee. They left.

“Whaddya think?” I asked Graham.

“Wouldn’t like to say.”

“No. No more would I.”

About an hour later, just as I was getting lunch, the phone rang again and there ensued a short period of negotiation between the agent, the buyers, and me. They offered, lower than our asking price. I rejected. They offered again, at our asking price. I accepted. Honour was satisfied and the deal was struck.

Graham peeled himself off the ceiling, carefully.

“I couldn’t do that,” he said.

“I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it for too many more years.”

“Well, you did fine. That’s why I keep you around,” he said.

“Thanks. I think.”

And so, it was done. It ain’t over until we exchange contracts but I think the buyers’ enthusiasm and determination will see them through and there’s every chance the business side will go to a satisfactory conclusion. Time scale? Hard to say. Not less than six weeks, unlikely to be more than twelve.

What happens now? Ok, here’s a brief lesson in the way a house sale is managed in England:

  1. The offer is accepted and the agent sends out letters to both the seller and the buyer, and to their respective solicitors.
  2. The solicitors open a file each, and exchange initial letters, including a draft Contract.
  3. The buyers initiate a property survey, if they so desire
  4. The buyer’s solicitor initiates standard enquiries from our local council, to see if there are any planning and other similar problems that may affect the sale.
  5. The buyer’s solicitor sends a list of questions to the seller’s solicitor, for completion by the sellers.
  6. Providing the survey and all enquiries and questions are satisfactory the two solicitors exchange formal Contracts of sale, the buyer pays 10% of the agreed price, and a date is set for completion, usually within 28 days of the exchange. At any time prior to the point at which Contracts are exchanged, both buyer and seller can cancel the whole deal with no penalty; once past it, the cost of withdrawing is prohibitive.
  7. On completion, the remainder of the price is paid, the sellers move out and the buyers have free title to the property.

We plan to move out the day before completion, putting our furniture and stuff into storage, and moving down to the caravan in Somerset. The day after the money is in the bank, we’ll start searching for our next house. Once we’ve found it and agreed a price with the seller, the process is repeated, with us as buyers.

I’ve heard the whole thing described as being the next most stressful event in life after childbirth. We shall see. Certainly there’s that “Oh, no, now I remember!” feel about it.

While we’re living in the caravan I’ll not be able to update the journal but I’m not going to go on to a hiatus. Rather, I have created a blogger account where I’ll be able to post from the Internet terminals in the Somerset public libraries. It’ll not be on a daily basis, of course, but I’ll do the best I can. After the switch-over I shall modify the present notify mailing to point to the blogger entries. I’ll not be able to post pictures or keep the XML feed going, I’m afraid, but you can’t have everything.

My email access will be strictly limited, but so far as I know the commenting system on blogger is pretty good.

How do I feel about it all? Reasonably happy and calm. I had a wave of the “I don’t want to go!” feelings just after I clinched the deal but that’s par for the course and I recognise it. It’s gone now. This evening, I just want it all to be over. There’s a lot to do between now and moving day. A heavy duty de-clutter. Packing. And then, once we’ve exchanged contracts, all the formalities of cancelling utilities and such, and sending out address change letters. I’ve done it before, and have no doubt I can do it again, smoothly and without too much hassle.

So, once more, with a self-caution about counting chickens, all I can say, really, is “Here we go again.”


January sunrise



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