Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homeless

We are homeless. At Christmas my girlies don't have a home. OK, so it's not as bad as it sounds, but thanks to the incompetence of various solicitors and estate agents we have now moved out of our old house but not yet into our new house.

It all began when we saw a house we liked back in February or March. It was on sale with Blundells Estate Agents so we decided to put ours on the market quickly in the hope that we could buy it.

Mike Blundell came round to value our house and told us it would sell in no time at all. He said that we should put our house on the market with his company as then both houses would be with them making negotiations easier. He also said that if there were any developments on the house we wanted to buy we would be immediately informed. We signed up that day.

The next day we spoke to the Dronfield office of Blundells and were told that the house we wanted had been sold 3 days ago!

I was livid to say the least. I called Mike 'I sound like David Dickinson' Blundell and told him that he had better not hold me to the contract I signed and that I wanted my cheque back. He didn't argue. This is the first example of how useless estate agents are.

We decided to put the house on the market anyway, this time with Winkworths. They offered us a 1.2% commission and if they didn't sell in 8 weeks it would halve to 0.6%. Idiots! :-)

We finally sold out house in late October. Strangely enough to the same person we bought it off. She apparently loved living there so much she wanted to move back. It's just a 3 bedroom semi in Dronfield. There are hundreds. For fucks sake have some imagination!!! Still her money was as good as anyones so we didn't really care. £50,000 is a lot to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom though!! :-)

So, we had found buyer, we had found a new house we wanted and everyone wanted to move in December. What could possibly go wrong? :-)

Well, firstly there seems to be an old landfill site 40m from the new property we want to buy. This is well known by everyone in the area we want to move to. It had not been used for 32 years and is full of concrete, glass and other inert materials. Nothing to worry about. I did some research online and found the information that we needed to prove it was fine on the environment agency website and thought that was that. Er, no. The lenders for our new mortgage wanted proof from the Sheffield City Planning Dept. Unfortunately they just say that they have not looked at the site yet and will get to it in the next 10 year. Useless. How bad can it be when there have been houses built on top of the old landfill site for 25 years?

Anyway, to get it sorted I decided to just pay for contaminated land insurance. We were in rush don't you know!

So, what else can go wrong? Well, firstly the solicitor working for the person we are buying the house from didn't mention to him that we were anywhere near exchanging and didn't mention any specific dates. Blundells had also told us that the house we were buying was a deceased estate which they also told the vendors solicitor. When they then asked the vendor for a death certificate and there was none due to the house actually belonging to the two sons of the previous (now dead) occupier they went into 'money laundering mode'. When it turned out that one of the brothers lived in Australia and could not be contacted they thought it could also be a scam to con him out of his half of the house. Not a problem, Blundells told us that the UK brother had power of attorney over the property. What? They lied? Surely not!

So, this all needs sorting out before we can exchange.It is all quite innocent and is mainly caused by the vendors solicitor redefining complacent and the total and utter uselessness of Blundells estate agents. The even told us the property was freehold when it was leasehold which caused another delay. USELESS TOSSERS!!!

On the other end of the chain the people buying our house wanted to move ASAP, and the people buying their house were threatening to drop out if they didn't move on the 18th Dec so we made the effort and moved out. All our furniture is in storage and we are living with my mother in law.

We are hoping to sort this out very quickly in the new year. Meanwhile I don't have to pay a mortgage/gas/electric/water/buildings and contents insurance etc and so will at least have lots of beer money over Christmas.

This is a long post but I think it is worth it just to warn you about Blundells and Winkworths estate agents. I post the links to their sites above only so that you know exactly who I am talking about and I warn you not to ever deal with either of them unless you have no choice. They have both shown incredible incompetence and terrible customer service. Saying that all estate agents are probably the same. I would have thought that the credit crunch would have made them improve their service but no. Personally I hope they all go bust and if we ever move again (unlikely after this experience) I will be selling my house without the help of an estate agent.

Anyway, I am sure it will all be sorted at the beginning of January. Fingers crossed. :-)

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