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Buying and selling of houses in England

(40 Posts)
grannyactivist Fri 17-Jan-14 00:05:28

AIBU to think the system for house vending in England is ludicrous?
Right up until the day contracts are exchanged either buyer or seller can pull out of the transaction, by which time hefty financial (not to say emotional) costs have usually been incurred.
Picture this: a young couple with small children have an offer accepted on their dream house in another part of the country. They agree a date to exchange contracts with completion date a fortnight later. They pay for a full house survey, they incur mortgage arrangement and solicitor's fees, they hand in notice at work, book a removal van and pay the deposit - and then, on the day that contracts were to be exchanged they receive notice that the vendor of their dream home is thinking of withdrawing from the sale and will let them know in a few days if this is to be the case or not. His 'reason' is not that he can't afford the mortgage on his next (£1.1m) house, but that he's 'not happy' with his bank's current interest rate!!
The couple have also sold their own house, subject to contract, and now are left in the position of having to do the same dirty deed on their buyer, or become homeless.
I am beyond angry! angry angry

Gally Fri 17-Jan-14 01:41:28

Shouldn't be allowed GA. I take it it is one of your nearest and dearest who is going through this? When we first moved to Scotland it was almost a 'gentleman's word' thing. Once you had agreed a sale that was it, but things have moved on and selling a house is becoming more difficult: my neighbour put her house on the market recently and had a good offer from, again, a young couple with a baby who happened to be friends of my DD and then the neighbour decided she didn't want to move after all. So frustrating for all concerned; once you have got past a certain point - the lawyers/surveyor/sale of house/home/bank etc. - the costs should be born by the seller who has reneged. I may well be going through this in the next year and am really worried about the whole process, not having moved for over 30 years shock

absent Fri 17-Jan-14 01:50:00

If a seller can just pull out like that, what happens to the deposit?

absent Fri 17-Jan-14 01:51:03

Come to think of it, if a buyer just pulls out of the deal just before completion, what happens to the deposit?

glammanana Fri 17-Jan-14 07:30:12

absent I think the deposit (exchange of contract) is held by the solicitor once exchange of contracts has taken place and held in a holding account but if the seller changes their mind in the period up to completion they loose their deposit ? up to now until exchange takes place any one of the parties can change their minds,it is sole distroying and I feel so sorry for potential buyers as they are in the hands of the seller up until that point.The seller should be made to sign an agreement to reimburse any costs incurred but in ga's case it doesn't help with the employment situation awful situation to be in and I feel so sorry for them.

petra Fri 17-Jan-14 08:27:44

Going through this myself at the moment. I went to my Solicitor yesterday to offer a large deposit on the property I want to show that I am I good faith in wanting this property. He said: there's no need for that, people don't do that anymore, and you have shown good faith by instructing me.
I would still have felt better if this could have been done.
I absolutely HATE the way we do this.

Riverwalk Fri 17-Jan-14 08:51:49

From what I know, it's rarely buyers who pull-out at the last minute on a whim, because they will have paid for a survey/appraisal and run up legal costs with searches, etc.

sunseeker Fri 17-Jan-14 09:22:43

Some buyers will threaten to pull out just before exchange of contracts to try to negotiate a reduction in the agreed price.

Gagagran Fri 17-Jan-14 09:31:13

The whole system is fraught with worry especially when you are in a chain which can collapse if just one link in it fails. It is incredibly stressful.

Marty Fri 17-Jan-14 10:06:50

I can never understand in this day and age that the buying and selling of property in England is so complicated and fraught with danger. You hear of such distressing outcomes all the time. Here in South Africa if you put in an offer for a house and it's accepted you normally have 3 months to get out. Accepting an offer is legal and binding and that is that. No domino affect, no pulling out at the last minute or selling to someone who has offered you a higher price or anything like that. England needs a total overhaul of the system - it must be very stressful for both buyers and sellers.

rosesarered Fri 17-Jan-14 20:10:16

I much prefer what we have here in England to the sealed bids system in Scotland, I would hate that. have bought and then sold 15 houses here in England with no problems at all. Sure, things go wrong sometimes, but that's life. We were always prepared to go into a rented house if things fell through with the house we were buying, and not enough people are prepared to do that.

jeanie99 Fri 17-Jan-14 20:42:50

Some years ago we accepted an offer on our home we signed contracts on the home we were buying packed up our home for removal carpets up the lot and went on holiday for two weeks by which time the contracts should have been exchanged.
When we got back there was a note pushed thru the letter box saying our sellers had changed their mind.
There were 7 families in the chain all waiting to move.
I could have taken this guy and hurt him when we found this was a regular thing he did putting his house on the market to see if he could sell it and for how much.
We were a couple with two young children had saved hard for the move and had nearly £700 to pay out and we didn't even move.
Our solicitor said there was no compensation we could get from this guy.
So be warned until the contracts are exchanged anyone can pull out.

dogsdinner Fri 17-Jan-14 22:16:42

When I sold in UK on the day of signing the vendor said he wanted 10,000 off the price or he wouldn't go ahead. I had to agree. I agree the system should be altered.

Much easier when I sold abroad. The vendor puts 10% down as a deposit immediately, held by the solicitor. The seller gets this if vendor pulls out. Sale usually goes through within 8 weeks. I had the full amount less hefty taxes in my bank account two weeks before the solicitor actually signed the final papers for me.

grannyactivist Tue 04-Feb-14 00:14:27

The couple in question have, this afternoon, had the sale finally given the go-ahead and big sighs of relief were heaved all round, but then, out of the blue this evening the seller has pulled out! angry angry
The family will be homeless as they won't pull out from the sale of their house and leave their buyer in the same predicament. The husband works away from home (in the area they hoped to move to); the wife has given up her job; their four year old son has given his notice at school, and as of Friday this week his place has been allocated to another child and they have to move out of their home by the third week in February.
It's not as simple to rent a home and move all within the space of two weeks as roses implied ^^ and the financial implications are disastrous. I am so angry with the seller that I really would like to tear him off a strip personally. I'm praying that tomorrow he may see that he is being totally unreasonable and have a re-think, but I won't hold my breath.

harrigran Tue 04-Feb-14 00:57:42

That is awful ga, how very annoying.

Tegan Tue 04-Feb-14 01:05:45

I've known this happen to several people, but not ones with a young child etc. It's disgraceful. A thousand curses on the seller if he doesn't change his mind; very bad karma methinks.

Grannyknot Tue 04-Feb-14 11:08:15

Hi Marty wink

The system here is beyond ridiculous. The contract should be legal and binding from the moment the offer to buy is made and the seller accepts.

Buying a house in SA is a pleasure, and it is not unusual to make direct contact with the seller, usually because you are so excited at the thought of your new home, and "Can I come round so I can measure up for curtains?"

The first time we bought a flat here in the UK, I did just that and the woman we were buying from reacted with such shock and surprise that I had contacted her directly that I very soon realised it just wasn't the done thing.

J52 Tue 04-Feb-14 12:13:30

I sympathise, greatly. In the past we have had every awful trick played on us by sellers and buyers. We once "sold" a particular house, in London 6 pointless times! Eventually, we told our solicitor that he had to have solid proof that buyers had the money or we refused to proceed. Also, if moving out of the area, arrange to rent before buying.
Recently we bought in Scotland. A great experience, the solicitor did everything! No worries! X

granjura Tue 04-Feb-14 13:21:01

It is a really dreadful system- and has caused us so much hearthache (and quite a few bob too). Our buyer strung us along with all sorts of excuses, shook hands and assured us that solicitor was a bit slow, but all will definitely go ahead on time. On day of exchange, we sign contracts and got a call from his solicitor saying he was ready to sign, providing we dropped the price by 15% (:

We told him to 'take a running' jump- but it meant we could not move in time to spend a bit of time with my mother before she died- and as the market fell after Christmas (exchange was in November)- we ended up losing more than 15%- but not selling to this monster was worth it.

We had a similar problem when we moved from Staffs to Leics, with me 7 months pregnant and with a 2 year old and no family to help... with people letting us down at last minute and OH having to move into digs and leave me and little one(s) on my own to organise a new house before the birth (having had an emergency ceasarian for first). Stupid, stupid system.

grannyactivist Tue 04-Feb-14 13:43:33

Just heard that the seller has been contacted, but is adamant that he's not selling. sadangry
On the positive side, all credit to Hearnes Estate Agency (the seller's agent) who have bent over backward to try to help; including....... wait for it....... waiving their fee of £7,000+ to assist the seller. shock Sadly, all to no avail, but the estate agent has been exemplary throughout.

durhamjen Tue 04-Feb-14 14:14:12

Sorry to hear about that Grannyactivist.
It is possible to rent in a couple of weeks, because we have done before. We paid 6 months rent up front so it did not have to go through all the financial checkups. I realise not everyone can do that, but it is possible.

Galen Tue 04-Feb-14 14:18:51

The same thing happened with my daughter. She was pregnant and had a toddler and they had sold and completed on their present house. It involved them having to stay with his parents then a flat for several months while they found and completed on a new abode. This constant moving and the arrival of a new sister to boot, has really unsettled DGD who is now having tantrums at the drop of a hat! (It would probably have been better if mummy had had a helicopter rather than!)

grannyactivist Tue 04-Feb-14 14:45:36

They could rent, but mostly it's six month tenancies and that would mean doing it all again in six months with all the upheaval that that entails. Plus two lots of removals costs etc. The poor children are already getting to be clingy and anxious. sad

MamaCaz Tue 04-Feb-14 16:06:43

It stinks!

DS and DiL put in an offer on a house. As soon as it was accepted they paid for a survey, and almost straight after that the sellers pulled out!

Nowhere near as bad as people pulling out last-minute, I agree, but it still should not be allowed!

There should be clear rules on what can / can't happen once an offer has been accepted.

I've said before that I tend to be rather sceptical by nature, so not surprisingly I suspect that the current method makes a lot more money for someone who is favoured by our ruling class - most probably the legal profession!

Grannyknot Tue 04-Feb-14 16:50:31

But MamaCaz the system was the same under the previous government ... why didn't the Labour government get a grip on something that is so clearly a huge problem? because their lawyer cronies like money too