Saturday, 13 April 2013

In which I think we may actually be moving...

I think we may have bought a house. I say I think because I get confused (and Lord knows I don't actually need any help on that score) I get confused because the English system for buying a house is different to the Scottish one.
Do you need an alert that I am about to do a "things are so much better when they're wrapped in tartan" alert? It may come across with a whiff of Scotia, consider yourself warned. Read on McDuff

When I lived in Edinburgh, I moved 3 times so 6 times I bought or sold a house. It seemed quite straightforward to me. Every Thursday there was a newspaper printed by the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre and it had the details of every property up for sale in Edinburgh. They also had a big website but I started buying houses a long time ago as I am a very old auntie, so we started with the paper guide and worked up to interwebs.

All had open viewing on Sundays 2-4pm and some also had viewing on Thursdays 7-9pm. This means you don't have to have a clean and tidy house every day in case you have a viewer, just twice a week, slightly more manageable for the more slatternly amongst us, you know I mean my children don't you? I am a very tidy sort of an auntie, the children - not so much.

The vast majority of people didn't use an estate agent, because you didn't need one, you showed potential buyers round yourself and if people were keen they got their solicitor to lodge a note of interest, when you had enough notes of interest you set a closing date, usually a Friday at 12 noon. Then your solicitor opened up all the sealed bids and you chose the best bid for you. The standard date of entry was 8 weeks and when you sold your house you went and chose your new one. Nobody pulled out or changed their mind or tried to get more money out of you. If you made a bid and it was accepted then you got the house, for the agreed price on the agreed day. Simple.

In the interests of fairness, you might have had to pay out for a survey on a house you didn't end up getting. You may also have paid more than a house was worth but negative equity was uncommon and it's a whole lot cheaper to buy and sell using a solicitor if you don't have to fork out for estate agents commission.

Buying in England seems absolutely fraught with tension and complication. Clearly I don't understand it at all, every time The Beautiful Husband tries to explain it to me, I cry and plead for him not to scare me, so he stops and we go back to drinking wine. He is a very patient and kindly husband, some may even say saintly, for he puts up with a lot.

But people seem to be able to change their mind, often right up until a day or 2 before moving with no financial consequence or penalty. People can offer you 1 price and the come back and try and renegotiate when you are so far in it's easier to take the hit financially rather than try and find a new set of buyers. That is just bonkers. Sometimes they pull out because they can't buy your house as someone has pulled out of buying theirs, so genuinely can't proceed. Sometimes something they like better comes along. Surely there must be a better way?

The house that I think we are buying, we are the 3rd set of buyers, it has been sold very quickly each time but somewhere along the way, the chain has collapsed. They have been doing this since last August. If this happens to me when I am selling this house I will be a gibbering wreck, your auntie is so not cut out for that level of stress.

I have been hugely afeared of this process, I don't cope with house moving stress well at all, which is why I have lived here for the last 13 years. This house was brand new when we bought it and we only bought a brand new house so the chain couldn't collapse. I needed to know I had somewhere to live and I needed to know I could get in when I needed to and I needed to know how much it would cost me. I am sure I have blogged before about my enormous need to know ness, which extends to every area of my life except my children's antics, there I have a definite need to not know.

This time round it's a trickier process as due to my mental need to know that I have a house to live in, we haven't put this one up for sale. I can't bring myself to until I know, definitely and for sure, I have the keys to the other house. This is a financially STUPID decision as we will own 2 houses for an unspecified period of time.

So really this post is to warn you, I will be stressed and skint for the forseeable future. You. dearest readers, will be required to provide consoling words , soothing tones, "there there" noises, cake and gin.

On the upside, when we move in, we will be having A HUGE party/wedding reception for all family and friends who didn't come to The Mother Country for our secret wedding and you are all invited.

17 comments:

Mrs Worthington said...

As an Englander who lived in Edinburgh I too enjoyed the simplicity of the Scottish system. The English system has aged me. Maybe Estee Lauder has shares in estate agents or something. good luck and the gin is on hand

auntiegwen said...

Mrs W - I thank you, I will need it!

Andy said...

Your fear of the English legal system regarding house buying works very well for me actually. I start talking about it, you look worried and suggest wine. Lovely.

auntiegwen said...

Mr auntiegwen - I'm sure you make it sound worse that it actually is

Kelloggs Ville said...

I'm with you,the only problem I have is 10 years on and I still haven't got round to selling the first house! I think it's a most excellent way to start a house collection. Life isn't all about gin and cake you know, it is very important you leave enough room for gargantuan amounts of chocolate. Good luck x

Mac n' Janet said...

Oh isn't it fun the uncertainties of real estate. Our last move involved buying a house in Georgia (the southeastern part of the USA) and then going home and selling our house in California. Renting the house in Georgia back to the previous owners, renting our house back from the buyers and then transporting all our worldly goods across the entire USA.
That was 10 years ago and I don't think we'll be doing that again for awhile.

auntiegwen said...

K - a house collection sounds like a splendid idea/excuse for not selling my own house! chocolate always welcome, please come visit x

M&J - that does indeed sound stressful, I bet it has taken you the full 10 years to recover!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I planned to be a proper property person, with tenants and lists of plumbers and other useful people to help, but it all went a little wrong! One house is a lot less stressful.... Hope you get the one you want x

Ayak said...

The Scottish system is so straightforward and much fairer. I can't imagine why it's not adopted in the UK. Having moved many times myself in the UK, I understand how you feel. I always had a nervous breakdown each time.

libby said...

Your emotional rollercoaster just keeps riding doesn't it? When you think of all that you have experienced in the last few years, it is seriously impressive that you a) have no grey hairs b)still retain your sense of humour......well done.
The Scottish system is one that really should be adopted here and I am very excited about seeing your new home! x

Curry Queen said...

I have moved house more times than I care to remember and just the memories bring me out in hives. Some friends of ours had the people they were buying from up the price by £50k (FIFTY GRAND!) on the day they were due to exchange. They had to take the hit otherwise the whole horrible thing would have collapsed. I really hope it all works for you and if you like Gin, have you tried Sipsmith? Like nectar, I tell you!

Anonymous said...
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Working Mum said...

Yep, the English system is rubbish. We lost our buyer two weeks before we were due to move out because their buyer literally disappeared!

It took a whole other year before we managed to sell our house again, by which time we decided not to look for a new house in case our hopes were dashed, but to move in with MIL after selling ours so that we were definitely able to move when we found one we liked.

We will be staying in this house a long time!

Be prepared! Buy in more gin!

Nota Bene said...

I've always adopted the view that there's nothing better in Scotland than England...and I'm not going to let a little matter of our ridiculous house buying/selling system get in the way of that...

Two houses? That's posh...

P.S. The Boy is back performing at The Fringe this year, and is planning to spend his university days and nights here too

auntiegwen said...

LFBS - I am hoping it will work out as I am sure the sellers are as desperate to complete as mr auntiegwen is to buy! xx

Ayak - yep, buying in Turkey was a doddle compared to this stuff!!!

Libs - gawdblessya, hair is completely courtesy of L'oreal these days!, did you want to come for dinner so you can see this house looking decent before we sell? himself has a new huge paella pan he's mad keen to be using? Let me know what night's good for you xx

CQ - ooh new gin? I must give that a go. How awful for your friends 50K is a massive amount of money

WM - I have the big fear, I tell you, I shall be a gin soaked wreck by the end of it

NB - merely trying to keep up with your level of poshness oh Elite one! Lovely to hear the Boy is Edina bound, wouldn't it be funny if he and Jack ended up in the same halls?

Helena said...

LoL....warning heeded! The stress will up and leave itself, someday, just focus on the future and that celebration plan.

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