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  • FIRST POST
    • 1993
    • By 1993 15th May 18, 7:27 PM
    • 8Posts
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    1993
    Are we being unreasonable?
    • #1
    • 15th May 18, 7:27 PM
    Are we being unreasonable? 15th May 18 at 7:27 PM
    Hi All, I'm new to the forum so please bear with me!

    We are in the process of buying our first home and our vendors had already put an offer in on a house before we viewed and offered on theirs. We had our mortgage offer, homebuyers survey and searches all done as quickly as we possibly could to ensure as smooth a transaction as possible, keeping updated with the EA and our solicitors along the process. We were asked by the EA if we could move any earlier than our original ballpark completion date. We had to juggle some finances but we agreed we could move a couple of weeks sooner than originally planned, on a day that suited our vendor. An exchange and completion date was agreed (both within the same week), subject to everything going through ok with the solicitors.

    On the day of exchange, we were informed there is an issue with our vendors' onward purchase and they won't be able to exchange with us for at least another week as a result. By this point we had already booked our annual leave (we work shifts and need to give a couple of weeks notice) and set up buildings/contents insurance on the property (condition of our solicitor prior to exchange) as we were led to believe everything was ok up until this point and given no reason to think otherwise. We spoke to the EA, our solicitors etc. who said they would try to get it sorted for the following week. After several more phone calls to all parties, we are no further and it looks like we can't complete a week later either.

    After becoming quite cheesed off by this point, we have told the EA that we need to move very soon or we will have to push it back to the end of next month when we can next get time off, regardless of whether their onward purchase is sorted out in time - asking them to break the chain and complete with us and rent/move in with relatives until their purchase issue is resolved.

    Are we being unreasonable? I do feel slightly guilty in having to issue an ultimatum as I'm sure all they want is a smooth transition and are probably having a nightmare themselves, but we have done everything we could to get this sale moving in the time frame they set and now it's an issue at their end that's causing problems. We just hate being in limbo not knowing when we are actually going to move!

    Many thanks all
    Last edited by 1993; 15-05-2018 at 7:33 PM.
Page 2
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 15th May 18, 8:51 PM
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    steampowered
    There is no such thing as a "simultaneous exchange/completion" in the UK; exchange has to happen before completion. The question of certainty is a matter of opinion.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    Untrue. Simultaneous exchange and completion is a perfectly acceptable and not uncommon way to do transactions in the UK.

    The way it works is that the solicitors will show each other copies of signed but undated documents, and will then have a completion call to confirm that the signatures may be released and the documents dated. The effect being that exchange of contracts and completion of the transaction happen at the same time.

    Of course either party can back out at any time before that point. Meaning that the risk of the seller withdrawing from the transaction at the last minute is much greater than if contracts had been exchanged previously.

    In fact exchange is no guarantee of completion and anyone who says it is, doesn't know the law. Either side can default on the contract, especially the seller. He'd only lose a couple of £thousand at most if he defaulted. The buyer however would be liable to lose their deposit (usually around 10% the price).
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    I was involved with a case where the seller defaulted on a transaction after exchange, in relation to a flat in London, during a time of rising property prices. The buyer sought specific performance (or alternatively damages). It took some time for the case to work its way through the system - the price of the contract was £300k but by then the value of the flat had increased to £450k.

    As you'd expect the buyer only had to pay the originally agreed price, so were getting a flat worth £450k for £300k (in actual fact they only had to pay £240k or so, as they had permission to deduct their legal costs from the price paid).
    Last edited by steampowered; 15-05-2018 at 8:54 PM.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 18, 8:59 PM
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    bobwilson
    Untrue. Simultaneous exchange and completion is a perfectly acceptable and not uncommon way to do transactions in the UK.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    "Simultaneous" means at the same time. It isn't possible. Exchange always happens before completion, whether it's 1 week before, 1 minute before or 1 second before.

    In fact if you contact most conveyancers or firms that the layman will call when trying to buy a house (which if you're a solicitor, you probably won't have), some but not all will offer same day exchange and completion for an extra fee, but none offer simultaneous, so I'd argue it is indeed uncommon.

    I was involved with a case where the seller defaulted on a transaction after exchange, in relation to a flat in London, during a time of rising property prices. The buyer sought specific performance (or alternatively damages). It took some time for the case to work its way through the system - the price of the contract was £300k but by then the value of the flat had increased to £450k, yet the buyer only had to pay the lower price.
    Originally posted by steampowered
    Your post is quite vague- are you saying the seller decided to sell the apartment for £150k less rather than pay damages, or he was forced to sell? I don't believe the system can force anyone to sell, unless they don't have enough money to pay damages.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 15th May 18, 9:04 PM
    • 2,499 Posts
    • 2,418 Thanks
    steampowered
    "Simultaneous" means at the same time. It isn't possible. Exchange always happens before completion, whether it's 1 week before, 1 minute before or 1 second before.
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    I'm not sure whether this is true - why would there need to be a gap? I would have thought the contract and the property transfer documents could be released at exactly the same moment.

    Your post is quite vague- are you saying the seller decided to sell the apartment for £150k less rather than pay damages, or he was forced to sell? I don't believe the system can force anyone to sell, unless they don't have enough money to pay damages.
    I am saying that the seller was forced to sell - after having exchanged contracts but failing to complete the transaction.

    The way it works is that the buyer obtains a court order for specific performance of the contract. This is an order that the seller performs the contract, and is available where you are purchasing property.

    If the seller still refuses to comply with the judge's orders, it is possible for the judge to sign the property transfer forms in place of the seller, and such forms will be accepted by the land registry. This is what happened in the case I referred to.

    It would have also been possible for the buyer to seek £150k in damages (being the difference between the price of the contract and the value of the asset they should have had), but in that particular case the buyer elected to seek specific performance rather than damages.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 18, 9:04 PM
    • 405 Posts
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    bobwilson
    Another p-word came to my mind. Professor. (or wannabe*, anyway).

    * No, not "want to be".
    Originally posted by dunroving
    Not subtle enough.. Have you been acquainted with the forum etiquette?
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 15th May 18, 9:36 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 87 Thanks
    Tiglet2
    1993 - to get back to your original post, much as it is stressful, you are being unreasonable. You don't know what the issue is at the top of the chain. The solicitor acting will not agree to exchange without the issue being resolved. He won't care about your deadlines or annual leave. If he is not ready to exchange, the rest of the chain cannot exchange. It is out of your hands and you will have to try to be patient. Be thankful you are only buying and not also selling. You are the first link in the chain and therefore your transaction is more advanced than the end of the chain.

    My honest opinion: have around two weeks between exchange and completion - much more civilised and gives you time to deal with the redirection of mail, changing adrdess details and organising utility companies, broadband, sky tv etc.

    A simultaneous exchange and completion date is not recommended if there is a mortgage, as the solicitor will have to draw down the funds and they can't do this until they have exchanged. A simultaneous exchange/completion merely means you'll get up on completion day, wondering whether you'll get the property that day. You'll have to wait until confirmation that you've exchanged is given, then another tense couple of hours waiting for the signal that you have completed and can go and get the keys.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 15th May 18, 9:38 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    For the avoidance i dont think OP is being unreasonable to push back exchange/comp by a month; exchange now or never, yes that would be unreasonable.
    • 1993
    • By 1993 15th May 18, 10:07 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    1993
    1993 - to get back to your original post, much as it is stressful, you are being unreasonable. You don't know what the issue is at the top of the chain. The solicitor acting will not agree to exchange without the issue being resolved. He won't care about your deadlines or annual leave. If he is not ready to exchange, the rest of the chain cannot exchange. It is out of your hands and you will have to try to be patient. Be thankful you are only buying and not also selling. You are the first link in the chain and therefore your transaction is more advanced than the end of the chain.

    My honest opinion: have around two weeks between exchange and completion - much more civilised and gives you time to deal with the redirection of mail, changing adrdess details and organising utility companies, broadband, sky tv etc.

    A simultaneous exchange and completion date is not recommended if there is a mortgage, as the solicitor will have to draw down the funds and they can't do this until they have exchanged. A simultaneous exchange/completion merely means you'll get up on completion day, wondering whether you'll get the property that day. You'll have to wait until confirmation that you've exchanged is given, then another tense couple of hours waiting for the signal that you have completed and can go and get the keys.
    Originally posted by Tiglet2
    Thank you for your reply, just to confirm we didn't have a simultaneous exchange/completion, it was in the same week rather than the same day and this was only because the vendor wanted to complete on a set day, which we agreed to suit their plans.

    Now that it's gone up in the air, we will be pushing for a delay between exchange/completion to allow us time to get everything sorted as you've recommended.

    The bulk of our frustration has come from dancing to their tune to get everything done for a deadline they set and not being informed of any potential problems until the day we were supposed to exchange. Every step of the way we've been conscientious and met their requirements only for them to push it back at the final hurdle.
    • 1993
    • By 1993 15th May 18, 10:15 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    1993
    For the avoidance i dont think OP is being unreasonable to push back exchange/comp by a month; exchange now or never, yes that would be unreasonable.
    Originally posted by AnotherJoe
    Definitely, we didn't want to back them into a corner and throw our toys out of the pram, we have offered them a choice and left it up to them to decide what they would like to do. Neither option is ideal as they'll either have to move in with family temporarily (very unlikely to happen) or wait another month for everything to work itself out at the top of the chain and agree a completion date to suit us all. Third option is they pull out altogether which we really don't want to happen!
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 15th May 18, 10:19 PM
    • 58,498 Posts
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    Thrugelmir

    On the day of exchange, we were informed there is an issue with our vendors' onward purchase and they won't be able to exchange with us for at least another week as a result.
    Originally posted by 1993
    The entire chain needs to be in a position to exchange. Little point in having closet conversations. The EA should be facilitating communications between all the parties involved, so that everyone is informed. .
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
    • 1993
    • By 1993 15th May 18, 10:25 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    1993
    The entire chain needs to be in a position to exchange. Little point in having closet conversations. The EA should be facilitating communications between all the parties involved, so that everyone is informed. .
    Originally posted by Thrugelmir
    Definitely, we are getting information piecemeal and they don't seem particularly proactive in getting the issue resolved. There's definitely been a breakdown of communication because we were led to believe the whole chain was ready for exchange on that date and that's why our vendors set that date in particular (wishful thinking on their part it's now transpired!)
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 15th May 18, 10:27 PM
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    dunroving
    I know that estate agents often get a bad rap but in my recent experience it's the estate agent who has been chasing things like a dog with a bone.
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 18, 10:39 PM
    • 405 Posts
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    bobwilson
    I know that estate agents often get a bad rap but in my recent experience it's the estate agent who has been chasing things like a dog with a bone.
    Originally posted by dunroving
    bad "rep" not "rap". They get a bad reputation because of their behaviour, not stigma.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 15th May 18, 10:42 PM
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    dunroving
    Give it a rest, pal and stop trying to derail the thread. It's an idiom, not an attempt at Shakespeare.
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 15th May 18, 10:51 PM
    • 405 Posts
    • 110 Thanks
    bobwilson
    Give it a rest, pal and stop trying to derail the thread. It's an idiom, not an attempt at Shakespeare.
    Originally posted by dunroving
    I'm not sure if you're talking to me. Accusing someone of derailing a thread and talking about idioms and shakespeare is quite ironic. All I was saying was estate agents are one of the few demographics who are the true cause of their own reputation; this is partly why the government wants to take action to change the house buying process.

    Are you an estate agent from manchester per chance? I'm just curious. I appreciate it may not have been your intention, but the word "pal" isn't something everybody finds appropriate between strangers (unless you're best friends, which is different). It's considered by many to be an offensive over-familiarity, even if it wasn't intended as such.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 16th May 18, 8:44 AM
    • 9,424 Posts
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    AnotherJoe
    I'm not sure if you're talking to me. Accusing someone of derailing a thread and talking about idioms and shakespeare is quite ironic. All I was saying was estate agents are one of the few demographics who are the true cause of their own reputation; this is partly why the government wants to take action to change the house buying process.

    .
    Originally posted by bobwilson
    No, you werent, you were correcting their English. Which sometimes needs to be done and perhaps should be done more often in these forums , but in this case was somewhat OTT and done in a heavy handed way.

    IMNSHO of course


    Edit: to pile on the irony, if you do some research is seems that "bad rap" is (a) perfectly valid and (b) an older phrase than "bad rep" which may even be derived from it, LOL.
    Last edited by AnotherJoe; 16-05-2018 at 9:27 AM.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 16th May 18, 9:18 AM
    • 15,623 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Obviously you aren't!!

    You've already changed things to accommodate their request and did so even despite that leaving a very short gap between Exchange and Completion.

    The least they can do is reciprocate the favour and do what you want now - 50/50 power-sharing.
    Like Frankie said - I did it my way.
    It's MY life......
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 16th May 18, 9:45 AM
    • 10,528 Posts
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    hazyjo
    I don't think anyone's being 'unreasonable' as such, more 'naive'.


    I say on here time and time again - the only thing that causes stress with buying/selling is deadlines. Often unnecessary ones.


    You should never book anything until after you have exchanged. It is just an aimed for date, it is not set in stone. There are loads of things that can still delay it. Everything should be booked or held provisionally, not confirmed.


    And just because you've thought all was okay, doesn't mean the rest of the chain did. I remember speaking with my vendor a couple of months in who said something about completing on X date and exchanging by I think the end of the week. I went back to her and said it was literally the first I'd heard of it and I didn't know who'd told her that, and that there was no way in hell we'd be exchanging that week. Our buyers still had loads to do and ended up commissioning a report and survey before that (I seem to remember) and I'm pretty sure it was around when my OH and I were going on holiday (which we'd booked over a year before and had told everyone about from the beginning). It's all a blur now lol. It was about another 4 or so weeks after I think.


    It is happening, it will happen, but it might not if you keep pushing too hard. You don't want your vendor throwing their toys out the pram and re-marketing or taking it off for a year before trying again!


    It's a very stressful time - try not to add to it. As suggested above, try and have two weeks between the two. If exchange is a few days late (as is often the case), it won't matter.
    2018 wins: Single Malt Whisky; theatre tickets; festival tickets; year of gin(!); shoes
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 16th May 18, 9:58 AM
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    ReadingTim
    To be somewhat fair to your vendor, you don't know if they themselves are also being messed around by their vendor, so they're merely passing the delay down the chain.

    Anyway, what's reasonable, and unreasonable, is utterly subjective. There are no objective rules, only what the parties agree between themselves.

    Furthermore, from a negotiating position, don't issue threats or ultimatums you aren't willing to follow through on in the event things don't pan out in the way you want them to, or the other side calls your bluff.
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 16th May 18, 2:00 PM
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    gingercordial
    OP, where are you living now?

    Would it help to remember that you aren't obliged to move on completion day? Say you complete on 1 June but can't get annual leave until 14 June, that's fine, you own the property from 1 June but don't actually pack your things and move in until two weeks later. In the meantime you have the keys, can visit, run around naked in it if you like in celebration of owning your first property, but no need to take time off to do anything else.

    Downside: you'll draw down your mortgage and start paying from completion day so that'll be two weeks before you move in, but on the other hand you'll pay it off two weeks earlier in 25 years' time...

    Upside: plenty of time for a thorough cleaning, repaint or whatever before you start moving furniture in.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 16th May 18, 2:03 PM
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    dunroving
    OP, where are you living now?

    Would it help to remember that you aren't obliged to move on completion day? Say you complete on 1 June but can't get annual leave until 14 June, that's fine, you own the property from 1 June but don't actually pack your things and move in until two weeks later. In the meantime you have the keys, can visit, run around naked in it if you like in celebration of owning your first property, but no need to take time off to do anything else.

    Downside: you'll draw down your mortgage and start paying from completion day so that'll be two weeks before you move in, but on the other hand you'll pay it off two weeks earlier in 25 years' time...

    Upside: plenty of time for a thorough cleaning, repaint or whatever before you start moving furniture in.
    Originally posted by gingercordial
    +1

    That's exactly what I'm doing. Except the running around naked bit.

    I think most people can't do it financially (I'm getting a moderate interest-free bridging loan from a relative so that I didn't have to cash in S&S ISA holdings). Can't tell you the extra peace of mind it's given me.
    (Nearly) dunroving
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