1 July 2012

Diary of a House Seller and Buyer
Part IV, July

1 July: Just returned from a weekend in Derby. The survey has been received by email, with hard copy to follow by post.  It looks very comprehensive.  Lots of little things need attention.  Some of them urgently. With surveys it's quite a challenge to work out what matters and what can wait - or even be largely ignored.  
Surveys are set out well these days, with sections for each part of the property, so, although it was very long, it was comparatively easy to understand. There was a summary, with recommendations for work to be done.  A section of legal stuff which could be forwarded to the solicitor:  what the surveyor thinks the solicitor should investigate.  Finally there were suggestions about general property upkeep.  So a good aide-memoir for the future.

This morning we re-viewed the property, spending enough time to see everything properly, instead of being rushed around.  Much of the place was better/bigger than we remembered.  Having viewed the survey it was interesting to spot what had been highlighted as important. Also see what we thought of the recommendations.
The owner appeared and we had a useful chat with him about small concerns. He is to sort out some of the problems - and leaving other things for us to do if/when we see fit.

So, we feel much easier now, especially as we can see clearly what needs to be done.  Today we thought about where to put the furniture. Then what needs to be bought, such as fridge/freezer, as the agent's details of what was to be left behind were not too clear.

2nd July: Contacted solicitor to ask him to go ahead with the purchase.

4th July: American Independence Day!  And for us, there's lots happening.  According to the agent, our vendor is sorting out the small outstanding jobs which need doing, such as cleaning out drains, and fixing missing roof tile and securing guttering.

Our solicitor has returned paperwork to our buyer's solicitor and is dealing with the paperwork for us re the purchase.   He seems to think it won't be long before exchange of contracts (I wonder what 'not very long' is in solicitor-speak?).
We are still busy packing up and sorting and getting rid of stuff but it's amazing how much is still to be done.  
It's also frustrating when things break, such as the light in the downstairs kitchen's stopped functioning, so it's had to be replaced (won't be our problem soon ...).

Once it stopped raining, I had a wander round the garden, taking cuttings from favourite plants to put in pots and take with us.  If they survive it'll be a nice reminder of our lovely garden here (see photo opposite and above).
5 July: I've been busy make a mosaic house number for the new property.  The idea was to use broken up crockery with added bought mosaic pieces.
The mosaic house number gradually being cleaned up.
It's very easy to do:  Take a piece of wood, draw a design on it (no need to be too accurate as these marks won't eventually show).  Cover a small area with pva glue then, with a pair of tweezers, place the mosaic pieces, leaving plenty of space for the grout which will ultimately hold the thing together.  When the glue's dried, grout the whole piece, scraping off the excess.  Then carefully remove any grout which has dried on the mosaic pieces themselves.  This part takes ages but it's very satisfying when the pictures eventually revealed - and voila!

6 July: Received a phone call from seller's agent to say that the damp people had detected no damp in the property - very good!

10 July: It's all been very quiet for the past few days.  We've given away lots of stuff on freecycle but it's amazing the stuff which no-one's been interested in.  Perhaps it's because the weather's improved and people are out doing stuff.  

One lodger is departing at the beginning of next week, so we'll be able to sort out his room and give it a good clean.  The other lodger wants to stay until about the 8th August, I said 'fine, but you may find your furniture disappearing under your nose', which he doesn't seem to mind.

11 July:  I'm looking forward to exchanging contracts as then I'll be able to post info on here about where we're going.   In the interim, I've been making sketches on scrap paper of how we could alter the new kitchen.  
At present it's a good-sized room, but there's no utility room for the cats to call their own.  At present we have the washing machine in the utility room, plus scratching post for the cats, together with places for them to sleep and a cat flap for them to come and go as they please at night.

As the new kitchen is L shaped, it's only a matter of putting up a wall (see dotted line on diagram), leaving two oblongs.  There's already a window, which we could alter into a back door (to install the cat flap).  This would make it straightforward taking the damp clothes from the washing machine to hang out in the garden to dry.  It would also mean if someone in the garden wanted to use the cloakroom, they wouldn't have to walk through the house, bringing in mud and dirt.  

12 July: Am feeling nervous as have 'let go' lots of stuff - either on freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org) or to a friend who helps young people starting out who have no furniture of equipment.  
It feels marvellous that these items will now have a new lease of life and be enjoyed and used, whereas here they were 'surplus to requirements'.  But some of these things I loved, am sad to say goodbye to them and hope people like them as much as I did.
13 July (Friday 13th): Sent off deposit to removers, by return they will drop off a load of boxes (included as part of the deal, tape and paper is extra).  
Also heard from the purchaser's agent that the works outstanding will be completed by Wednesday, so someone can pop in and inspect them.

20 July: Outstanding works to new house have been satisfactorily completed.  So am getting excited about moving in and altering new house to suit.  Have been thinking that, if we're going to put a new roof on the kitchen, it might be worth at the same time extending the back bedroom and adding an ensuite.

24 July: We've been down to Cornwall for the weekend, to sign contracts for buying and selling and at the same time saying goodbye (for the moment) to many friends.  However returned this evening to problems with our buyer ... watch this space.  We were to exchange this week and, hopefully, move in two weeks ...  So now may need to cancel the removers, the new talktalk telephone contract - and the new bed!

24 July: Last weekend we visited our solicitor to sign paperwork for sale and purchase of the properties. However, when we saw him on Saturday the solicitor was bemused as he hadn’t received anything from our purchasers. 
25 July: we've just had a call from our agent to say, mysteriously, he can’t get hold of the purchaser(!)

28 July:  Today, Thursday, finally had a call from the Agent saying that apparently the purchasers had had a row and ‘he’ had gone off last Friday – and no-one had heard from him since, not even ‘her’.  So perhaps this sale may be off, unless they (a) get together again and (b) still want this property ….. rather a long short.

31 July: On top of all this, our telephone provider decided to cut us off!? No advance notice.  What they imagined we were going to do until we moved, I do not know.  We have no phone, no internet.  I’m devastated and don’t know what to do! 

I spent nearly an hour, spread over three phone calls, yesterday trying to sort it out – and the soonest we can be reconnected is two weeks’ time!!  Bad management.
They admit their error and have filed a complaint for me.  If we are selling the house – and possibly buying one too – then a landline and email are vital.

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