2 May 2012

Diary of a House Seller - Part II
1 May: Yesterday the estate agent visited and spent two hours going round the house taking photos and then wandering around talking to himself into a machine.  The house is so big that the machine ran out of tape!  The resultant photos - and a floor plan - are now on the internet, with house details to follow.   See: 
2 May: We still have a few jobs to do, such as painting of some outside walls and securing some brickwork on a garden wall which people repeatedly knock with their cars - me included!  The workshop and store room need packing and tidying too.   The jobs seem to be ongoing - and never-ending.
4 May: Busy day today, painting outside - mainly workshop and steps, shown in pic above.  Also applying preservative to decking and hot tub and bitumen to tarmac near front door where a certain person had been mixing concrete and some of it had stuck.  What a job it was applying the bitumen!  It's thick sticky stuff and was reluctant to go into the cracks.  Result - two ruined paint brushes!
The draft details arrived this evening, plus contract and information sheets.  We spent ages going through the details, checking they were correct and making adjustments.
5 May: Our first viewer is coming today.  Is it an auntie of one of the estate agents - or a serious viewer?  Let's hope it's the latter.  So tidying up, but not too much as we don't want to get our hopes up too much.  Unfortunately rather drizzly day with grey skies, so the view of the Bay isn't looking at its best.
10 May: I've just returned from a few days away and much has happened.  Following the viewing on 5 May we were made an offer of £370,000 - and this was before the house officially went on the market! 
This was rather low, so we immediately refused. The following day the offer was raised by £10,000 - still rather low. A couple of days later another £5,000 was offered - the final offer that they were to make.  This was still £10,000 below the price we wanted, although perhaps we would have met them half way.  Unfortunately, they have now walked away.  
Apparently they felt that offering £45,000 less than the asking price was quite alright but we were rather shocked.  If we'd known this was considered the norm perhaps we would have asked more in the beginning!
11 May:  I spent this morning tidying up the garden as it's amazing how much everything's grown over the rainy weekend.
Yesterday the Energy Performance Certificate person came.  He was a little precious and made it clear that we were in the way, so we left him to get on with it and went out for lunch.
We wonder if these EPA certificates (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/
BuyingAndSellingYourHome/Energyperformancecertificates/DG_177026) are worth the paper they're written on because it looks like a lot of box-ticking.  Looking on the internet these certificates seem to have a mixed reaction.  The good news is that they only need to be renewed every ten years. To see what one looks like see: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/
14 May: We have received a copy of the draft details and spent a long time amending them, ready to return to the Agent for printing.
15 May: Had an email today from the agent, saying that someone had see the ad in a local magazine and had requested a copy of the details.  Fingers crossed.
17 May: Well, heard no more from the person who asked for the details.  But ... today received a slightly higher offer from the original people.  Have decided to provisionally accept this offer, although it's lower than we wanted, on the proviso that we can gain a similar reduction in the property we'd like to buy.  
18 May: We've had a busy time looking on the internet, contacting agents and looking through details of suitable-looking properties.  Funnily enough, although there are masses of houses on the market, not one is exactly what we want.  That begs the question of 'do we know what we want?' and "if we get what we want, will 'what we want' change?"  Perhaps it's best in life not always to 'get what we want'!  Or in the words of The Rolling Stones: 'You can't always get what you want, but if you try some time you might get what you need'.
21 May: I'm off up to Derbyshire tomorrow to look at properties and am being joined by David on Thursday evening .... watch this space.  
27 May: Just returned from Derby after a whirlwind six days looking at properties.  I was completely unprepared for the change in weather, where it went from being 10C down here at 6am on Tuesday to 27C up in Derby at lunchtime.  As the previous day in Paignton had been about 17C, I packed gloves, coat, scarf and warm woolly jumper, presuming that it would be colder up in the East Midlands. After all, the last time we went up there it was about 17C here and the next day, in Derby, it was snowing with horizontal sleet and absolutely freezing.  NB Next time, before we set off, will look at ukweather.com.
But I digress.  
I, and later when David arrived, both of us, viewed several bungalows and houses around the edge of Derby.  Each one had it's merits but none were perfect - probably just as well - as they were all priced rather higher than we thought they should have been.
We have now settled on one which ticks lots of the boxes and plan to investigate further - look at energy performance certificate (epc) - then put in an offer which we can afford.  The house we're interested in is confidential at present for obvious reasons.
However in the interim I've found some interesting sites: http://www.police.uk/ gives crime figures and information about local police; to get an idea of house prices in the area you're interested in (but take their ideas with a pinch of salt!): http://www.findaproperty.com/house-valuation. and someone recommended upmystreet.com but that seems to be have been taken over by Zoopla so not sure how good it is.
28 May: Having looked at the epc for the house in question, we have put in an offer which understandably was rejected, so have upped it to our top limit.  Now all we can do is wait.
In the interim I've been busy starting tidy up the shed, rather a daunting job so best done in stages. Also putting lots of stuff on freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org), most of which has magically disappeared within an hour or so. 
We're still sorting and packing at least two boxes of stuff a day, cupboards are beginning to be bare. Wouldn't it be great if cupboards were half full all the time, it'd be so easy to find things!

29 May:  With proposed new house we have upped the offering price by a little - and it's been accepted, subject to our moving within two months.  
So a cautious: Yipee!  
But's it's rather daunting as it's happening so fast...  Will put a link to our new house (!) on here soon and continue to pack and sort.
30 May: Today we hope to instruct a surveyor to have a good look at proposed new property.
31 May: We have decided that the house is going to be too costly and a little small (!) (money will need to be spent on the property make give us more space), so are going to pull out.  Have informed both estate agents and the solicitor accordingly, no doubt making ourselves a little unpopular in the process. .... and now we're back to square one.  Luckily we're going 'up the line' this week so can start looking again but at least we have more idea of what we want.  We've viewed rather a lot of properties which may well have disappointed many people.  But on reflection realise that viewings of some of those houses could have been avoided if either 
(a) the estate agents' blurb/photos had been more accurate (wide angle lenses have a lot to answer for); and
(b) I had taken the time to carefully read every detail before requesting a viewing, not easy when there's so much to read and so many properties, 'now which was the one with the tiny bedrooms?'.  
Fortunately these days, by law, estate agents have to be more accurate that in previous times and it's easier to read between the lines, such as 'easy to manage garden' = 'small' which does help a little.

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