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To pull out of our house purchase last minute - WWYD?

(71 Posts)
TheVeryHungryDieter Mon 25-Jul-16 07:41:27

We've been trying to buy a new house for nearly a year. It's taken so long because there were a series of delays. First we tried to buy it while we rent our flat out - but the mortgage valuations came back seriously low (on the new house) so we couldn't get finance necessary to buy it. So we needed to sell ours and that's been a problem- we were already on the market for ages without an offer, then the first buyer pulled out after a couple of months and the second one has taken ages to get in gear, but it finally looks like we will be ready to exchange by the end of this week.

Throughout all of this the seller has held the house for us, including turning down another increased offer from local people (we are moving out from London). And we encouraged them twice to go after another buyer when it looked like we couldn't follow through. But in June once the legal work was underway the report on title finally came through and it appears we'd been misled about the possibility of getting planning for an extension. I called the council who confirmed that planning consent wasn't likely to be granted, and we'd pinned our dreams on this. It was a large part of why we wanted the property. Part of the reason the surveys (we had four!) on the house came back low (all of them!) was that a lot of expensive work needed to be done on the roof, and if extending we wouldn't need to carry out this repair work as the renovations would cover it. And last week the sellers came back saying they wanted tens of thousands more as compensation for the delays. It has put me off a lot, if I'm honest. We said no and we haven't heard back since - we expect (expected?) them to pull out but we just haven't heard.

So to cover ourselves we went to look at a rental this weekend. Same road, closer to schools, closer to station and already extended so we wouldn't need to. It's perfect for us. And the kitchen, omg, it's stunning. I desperately want to live in it. A mortgage would be much cheaper than renting for a year but with stamp duty so high (south east house prices, arrrgh) I don't want to make a nearly £40k mistake on somewhere that's not perfect. Especially if we head into recession post-Brexit and can't sell it easily if we hate it/lose jobs. But I feel like I've basically wasted a year of our seller's time, and very guilty. We've all put so much time and money in to this. WWYD?

positivity123 Mon 25-Jul-16 07:44:41

I'd rent. You've been misled about the chance if extending. Do NOT spend all of your money to appease your guilt. It is a horrible situation but the seller needs to take some responsibility as the should have put it on the open market when you looked like a risky seller

positivity123 Mon 25-Jul-16 07:46:32

I meant risky buyer.

Notagainmun Mon 25-Jul-16 07:47:05

Pull out. They had the opportunity to sell to someone else. I wouldn't hang around if a quicker buyer came along.

elgol Mon 25-Jul-16 07:47:19

I'd rent too. I'd feel guilty, but not enough given how much money is involved.

TheresaMaybutSheMayNot Mon 25-Jul-16 07:48:44

You need to pull out if you need to extend but can't. Personally I think you should have investigated the extension part months ago, I feel VERY sorry for your seller indeed. Why on earth didn't you check about the planning before June? You don't need a title deed to check out planning possibilities.

GoOnThenYouMightLikeIt Mon 25-Jul-16 07:48:47

I'd rent. You were misled. Just remember that when you feel guilty.

TheresaMaybutSheMayNot Mon 25-Jul-16 07:49:32

Who 'misled' you about the planning btw? I missed that bit.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 25-Jul-16 07:49:41

It would put me off that the buyers had mid asked for tens of thousands of pounds. Not sure why they think the price has increased that much.

But are you absolutely sure you won't get planning permissions. The fact that there is one in the road already with it sets a planning precedent I thought.

flumpybear Mon 25-Jul-16 07:50:15

You were misled so no, I'd pull out!!
If you're renting you'll find it quicker to get the house of your dreams!

greenfolder Mon 25-Jul-16 07:55:09

Pull out today. They may we'll have held out for you cos they know that all surveys will highlight costly repairs. Post brexit they are mad to ask for more. If you have been to look at a rental you have already decided.

TheresaMaybutSheMayNot Mon 25-Jul-16 08:00:56

Oh Ffs I should read more carefully - the seller asking for thousands in compensation is ridiculous BUT I can see why they are frustrated. We are selling at the moment and being hugely messed around by our buyers and it is really annoying, we're on hold every few weeks waiting for them to make decisions. If they did that for a year then pulled out... shockI can't imagine why they've let it go on so long TBH unless you were paying grossly over the odds. I bet the other 'buyers' were fictional. There's no way they would have let this go on so long otherwise.

I still think the planning thing is YOUR responsibility to find out about though. If I was (and have done in the past) buying a house, on the grounds I could extend it to get what I wanted I would make sure from the outset that I had talked to the local planning dept to ascertain either way whether it would be likely to be granted or not.

TheVeryHungryDieter Mon 25-Jul-16 08:03:46

When we went to see it we asked about extending. The sellers told us they had applied for it but were refused - and the reason for refusal had since been changed by council policy so didn't apply anymore. This is not true, they were turned down for a different reason which has since been clarified and reinforced by the council's later policy.

We didn't get further into it until June for a number of reasons - first we had to sort out what was going on with the finance which took us up to Christmas. We realised eventually that all of the surveys were going to come back low because of the roof so we would have to just wait to sell our own flat in order to continue. So we had to market our flat for sale again, then we had a buyer for our own place in January and were working on that, they pulled out in March and over this time we were more concerned with getting ours sold than looking into the details of what we were buying (not wanting to count chicks before the eggs were hatched etc) - all while I had a toddler, new baby, return to work and PND to deal with. It was only when their solicitor finally sent the pack of information on and we started going through the whole lot in detail that I picked up on a few things.

I was prepared to go ahead even knowing that we couldn't extend but the latest demand threw me.

WeatherwaxOrOgg Mon 25-Jul-16 08:07:49

Definitely pull out without a shadow of a doubt - you were misled. YOU haven't wasted a year of the seller's life, they did that themselves by trying to sell you a lie!

However, as someone who has almost always lived in an owned property and is now temporarily in rental - I can't stress enough how horrible it is. I think to deal with your situation you do need to do this short term as it's infinitely preferable to buying somewhere that's wrong (the rental may cost more but think of the stamp duty costs etc and the estate agents cost to resell) but you definitely need to keep looking for a place to buy long term. Just my opinion obviously smile

whois Mon 25-Jul-16 08:07:53

If your mortgage valuation (not your own private survey valuation) came back at way less than the offer price, the sellers have held out for you because no one else will pay more than that. The mortgage valuation is shared so that when someone else goes to get a mortgage offer on the property that valuer will see the existing mortgage valuation.

Pull out - for whatever reason, it doesn't matter. Nothing is set until you exchange. Yes, it's a bit shitty/annoying for the seller but that is life.

Gunpowder Mon 25-Jul-16 08:09:40

Pull out.

TheVeryHungryDieter Mon 25-Jul-16 08:10:46

Yes, the mortgage valuation. We did three of those (two attempts and then changed lender), and appealed the first two. We also had a Homebuyers survey. They were all about 100k ish below our offer price.

LunaLoveg00d Mon 25-Jul-16 08:14:56

If you're going to pull out but are considering a rental on the same street you'll need to investigate in some good disguises ;-)

TheresaMaybutSheMayNot Mon 25-Jul-16 08:16:22

Sorry to hear about the PND, that is very tough.
However, an email to planning could have been done in 10 minutes (maybe by your dh?) at any time during the months you were waiting for other stuff.
TBH the sellers would be shooting themselves in the foot to pull out now if you refused to pay the thousands in compensation and they know it. It was their decision to wait and at the moment buyers are like gold dust.

If not having the extension is going to make the house unworkable I would pull out (others are right, guilt is not a reason to buy) and think very carefully about how you go about buying a house next time. Do investigate things which are deal breakers early on rather than waste your time and other people's. Unfortunately our system does not protect buyers or sellers against last minute changes of mind which is crap all round. I do think rented is the best answer as if you have a buyer now, in these uncertain times, you should finish your sale. If the housing market does drop you will be in a good position to buy later on.

Chewbecca Mon 25-Jul-16 08:17:08

How were you misled? How does the title affect the ability to extend?

CatNip2 Mon 25-Jul-16 08:18:13

100k is massive!

This house was no meant to be, it doesn't suit your needs, it will be a costly mistake and despite feeling some sympathy for the sellers I do question why they didn't sell to someone else when they had the opportunity?

I certainly wouldn't now cough up a load more money. Let it go, rent until the uncertainty is over and walk away.

Chewbecca Mon 25-Jul-16 08:18:22

In any case, if you only want the house on the proviso you can extend and you cannot, well it is no brainer and you should pull out. None of the other stuff is relevant really.

GertrudeMoo Mon 25-Jul-16 08:22:00

If the valuations came back low wouldn't that be a reason to reduce your offer, rather than him demand compensation? I had a buyer pull out after 9 months which was very depressing but I managed to sell it for the increased market value 3 months later, so didn't lose out, thankfully.

TheVeryHungryDieter Mon 25-Jul-16 08:28:35

We did reduce our offer, but he wouldn't accept a reduction and we thought it would be worth it when we had finished renovating anyway.

I could definitely have looked into the planning sooner. I didn't realise how easy it would be, in part. And to be truthful I took the earlier finance issues very badly - to the point of nearly throwing myself in the Thames in winter - so I avoided dealing with anything too concrete before I was sure we were actually in a position to buy.

I could live without the extension, or look into building a basement and moving the TV room downstairs. It's not a huge deal, but it all adds to the bad vibes I'm getting now.

GertrudeMoo Mon 25-Jul-16 08:29:40

Also, homebuyers surveys aren't great. If the property is more than 50 years old (sounds it of the roof is a horror) then you always need a full structural survey.

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