Monthly Archives: November 2011

Slow progress in the ST1100 household


It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about recently, but I was rather hoping that this post would be a progress report, rather than a lack-of-progress report. As mentioned in a previous post (which I see is dated 23rd March), our plan is to move to a self-sufficient smallholding in France. So we put our house on the market at a fair price considering the current economic climate everywhere. And we had an offer which we accepted. Two days later the buyer changed their mind, saying they didn’t like the area.

Surely you decide on an area first before you make an offer?

Anyway, shortly afterwards we accepted another offer. This time things were progressing nicely, right up until it was time to exchange contracts some eight weeks later. We were then informed that the buyer wanted to change solicitors. Although this was slightly unusual, it’s not completely unheard-of, so – although slightly miffed – we agreed.

Time passed. Searches were done. The property was inspected by a surveyor who agreed it wasn’t about to fall down.

Eventually we (once again) reached the time for exchanging contracts, another six weeks having passed. We were then informed that the buyer wanted to change solicitors. Again. Oh no you don’t! (We said.) We told the estate agent to put the house back on the market immediately. Unfortunately they refused to listen, and it took a further ten days of them being unable to get any lucid response from the buyer before they finally agreed that yes, it looked like this particular buyer (a certain Mr Ahmed, in case you were wondering) was playing “funny buggers”. (Oh yes – and apparently the excuse he gave was that his financial advisor had told him to change solicitors. Twice.)

So we gave the estate agent their marching orders; and the day before their contract expired they produced another buyer with a somewhat reduced offer, which we accepted.

Time passed. Searches were done. The property was inspected by a surveyor who agreed it wasn’t about to fall down.

However, this time the buyer wasn’t happy with the survey report. Houses like ours which were built in the early 1950’s didn’t usually have a waterproof roofing membrane installed underneath the tiles. (The current trend of thinking is that this is not necessarily a bad thing; as the lack of a membrane allows for better ventilation.) The buyers brought their brother-in-law around to have a look. Apparently he’s a builder. So they said. Well, let’s just say if I wanted a garden shed built, I wouldn’t be hiring him to do it. (My father was a building surveyor, and my brother a civil engineer, so I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way!)

The outcome of this consultation was that the buyers said they were not happy about the “sagging roof”, and so decided not to proceed. (The “sagging roof” to which they were referring was actually the builders’ paper underneath the tiles, which functions as a dust sheet). The roof itself is fine, with the roof space perfectly dry.

Having left a negative Internet review for the non-peforming estate agent, we signed up with a different one (this time having done some internet research on said agent first), and have had some more viewings, although unhappily we’ve once again had to reduce the price. Who says we’re not in a recession?

Unfortunately around this time the father-in-law had a mild heart attack and ended up in hospital for a week, connected to the National Grid. He’s back at home now, glowing nicely, and we’ve just got back from visiting him (of course we took a lot of stuff in the car with us – there’s no point in doing the trip with an empty car, is there?)

The good news is that whilst we were away, another buyer made an offer which we’ve accepted. The only problem with this is – they need to sell their house first! So we haven’t really made any progress…