Thursday, 13 March 2014

Buying A Flat, Part II (The Waiting Game)

After much stalling, the long-awaited part deux of my blog for buying a flat! I say long-awaited not because I was frequently pestered by people to write this, but because I was long-awaiting a point in time where I'd actually have something substantial to write and proper progress since the first post.

Shit has taken forever. It's been ages since my last post (Railton has made like four whole blog posts in that time), and I still don't own a flat. I actually had to go back and re-read my previous post to refresh what I'd actually said so I didn't miss or repeat anything. And I realised that my previous post was written on 5th Dec - over three months ago!

Probably my least favourite part has been the fact that I have been, and continue to be, asked on a regular basis how things have been going. Not because any individuals ask me really often, just because out of the fifty or so people I work with, various friends and family and such, there are a lot of people who are aware that I'm buying a flat and maybe ask me once a month or so how it's going (usually in the way of "So have you moved in yet?" or "When's your completion date?"), which kind of just brings a terse grimace and explanation that it has not been going, I haven't moved in, and I don't even have any idea when I will besides "not in the next week or two". Or in the occasional case a rant about solicitors taking ages and a far more obvious demonstration that they've touched a nerve by asking (sorry Helen...). I get people are just curious or making polite conversation and it's an obvious question to ask, but damn it heaps on the frustration that things are taking forever (and there's basically nothing I can do about it) to also be asked about it on basically a daily basis.

Anyway, I've figured out that basically what has happened is that lawyers have created a system where you have to get lawyers. Then they charge you a lot of money because you have to get lawyers. Then they just spend all their time rolling around the office in large piles of cash and bathing in their solid fucking gold jacuzzi rather than doing any actual work you're paying them for.

Once I had a place reserved and mortgage confirmed in principle, I figured I was kind of most of the way there. Nope. Not even close. The following gif approximately demonstrates what I thought it would be like compared to how it actually has gone:

Or maybe another gif to demonstrate how utterly cack-handed the selling solicitors have been handling the whole thing:

I did my bit. My solicitors faffed for a few weeks and then seemingly did their bit. And then the selling solicitors seemingly took the best part of two months to actually fucking send over the contract and the lease and all the other paperwork for myself and my solicitors to review. And then that paperwork was wrong so I've had to spend more time faffing around and phoning people to get stuff amended and get the correct copies and now, today, literally like 4 months after I put an offer in for the property, I've finally sent a signed copy of the correct lease to my solicitors for them to hold until exchange.

Also, the contract and lease are long as hell. Sixty-four pages long. And it's all in complicated legalbabble, so takes genuine effort to decipher what any of it means. It contains many eye-glazing clauses such as this one:


But for the most part it's fairly sane. Well, for the most part...

I really want a bird dog reptile...

But in general, I can't keep pets without permission from the building owner (above), I can't sublet until I've purchased the rest of the shares in the property, I can't knock walls down or change the exterior appearance - all fairly standard stuff that I expected. I also have to give my landlord first refusal before I can put the flat up for sale on the open market (which is what Clause 3.19.2 details above), but again I'm not particularly fussed over that.

I will say, in the interest of keeping this informative to people who might get places of their own, that solicitors seriously are expensive. The total cost of mine including the conveyancing searches are like £1100, and they were basically the cheapest I could find (shared ownership bumps the cost up though). And from personal experience and anecdotal evidence from literally everyone I've spoken to about it, you have to harass them over the phone. I swear to god that they basically do nothing whatsoever until you phone them and ask them to do it and then maybe they'll stop throwing banknotes over their head and do some work for a bit. How fast my own solicitors have moved on stuff seems to be directly proportional to how many times a week I've rung them up.

So, as current status I'll hopefully get my mortgage offer in the next week or so, and get most of the land searches and stuff back from my solicitors this week as well, which means actually I'm hopefully (hopefully) only two or three weeks away from stuff being finalised and maybe actually moving in!

There are some up-sides to the whole thing having taken so bloody long, thankfully. Namely that in the three-and-a-bit months since I got my original mortgage quote, Woolwich/Barclays have lowered their rates a bit, and I've also got a few more thousand saved up for the deposit, so I'm actually now paying a good chunk less in interest rates on my mortgage than I would have been if everything had gone super-smoothly.Silver lining at least...

We shall see. But hopefully not much longer until Part III :D

(Also inb4 people like Krit and Aki are ironically all "SO HOW IS THE FLAT BUYING GOING WHEN YOU GONNA MOVE IN?" to piss me off)


  1. Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!! I will come back and consult this blog when I have to go through all this bollocks too.

  2. Holy crap man. I can definitely understand what you're going through.

    And yeah, phoning all the time is the only viable option, unfortunately. Hope it's going to get done soon, but whatever happens, I think you will enjoy your flat A LOT =)

  3. Interesting that it states bird dog reptile and THEN any other animal. That's just a waste of ink. Then I did wonder if your contract of employment contains similar restrictions - worth a try. We used to have a guy in our place who brought a dog in every day!!! There again, he was blind...

    As for changing the external appearance... does that apply to England flags during the World Cup? Surely not...

  4. Yes, I can appreciate what it's like being asked the same question by several different people and getting sick of having to constantly answer it. :/

    Still, good luck with getting your own place!