The Frustrations of Buying and Selling Houses

So just under three weeks ago we put our house on the market, and the good news is that as of early last week, we’ve managed to find a buyer! Having said that we’re now onto the traditional merry-go-round of frustration trying to keep the buyer sweet, whilst finding somewhere to move too.

So far we’ve had two likely candidates that we offered on. The first was before we had a purchaser for this place, so the vendor accepted the offer but refused to remove the house from the market – needless to say they had an accepted another offer, frustratingly within a couple of days of us getting a seller for here. Not to worry though as there was another house close by, of a similar design that had just come up. With that one we had a buyer for this place, and put in an offer. However again we lost out. This time we had the highest offer, but they had another offer for less money, but from someone with nowhere to sell, so the vendor went for them.

At this point Beth has seen a lot of houses, and we know pretty well what we want, it’s just a question of finding it! Our criteria are slightly different from others is that we’re not worrying about schools, the main criteria being relatively close to the Church since we’re up there several times in an average week. Also high on the list is relatively good broadband coverage – a lot of Finchampstead being pretty poor in that respect. Dropping down to about a quarter of the current connection speeds, with little prospect of getting the higher performance connections that are coming along on some exchanges is certainly something I’m looking for, although it is perhaps not high on Beth’s list of priorities!

Thankfully this time we haven’t had to deal with an endless parade of time-wasting investment buyers. For those who aren’t aware of the way houses are bought and sold in England, the process is not legally binding until very late in the day. Essentially if somebody makes an offer on a property, they are entirely at liberty to withdraw it for no apparent reason. The problem we had with selling my old flat was that we saw a lot of investment buyers, looking to buy it to let out. Estate agents will always push these as being a good thing, as they have nothing to sell – although the suspicious side of me thinks that it’s also because they see the opportunity for earning some money renting out the same property – however we had four or five of these that would quickly put an offer in, and then withdraw it a week or so later.

The situation is very different in Scotland, here an offer is legally binding, which makes things a lot more clear cut. It also removes the problem of gazumping which is always a possibility when buying a house in England.

Since there is no great demand from the industry to change the rules – indeed parts of the industry are currently campaigning against the Home Information Packs that are a proposal to try and reduce the problem by providing the information usually obtained after the offer has been made before the process begins. Of course with scare stories about agents commonplace, (indeed one of our local agents made the national news for one particular wheeze) and no real effort to sort out the problems in the English housing market, it really seems that for the medium term anyone trying to buy a house in England will be stuck with it.

One thought on “The Frustrations of Buying and Selling Houses”

  1. I feel your pain – no really! My fiance and I are going through the process at the moment and are being royally messed about by my buyer who keeps changing her mind! I have had to put my house back on the market and we now risk losing our dream home. The system is a mess. All you can do is “screw your courage to the sticking place”.Good luck!

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