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Vendor from hell - anything we can do?

(7 Posts)
MrsMustardSeed Tue 30-Aug-11 17:13:06

Very very annoyed with the house buying process at the moment! Was wondering if anyone can offer any advice on speeding this up. There are basically no words rude enough to describe the vendor of the flat we are buying, we had the offer accepted in May and it doesn't feel any closer to exchanging contracts.

Annoying things she has done:

1. Lied about the length of the lease to us and the estate agent - flat is shared freehold but need the lease in place to define the boundaries - front and back garden and side access belong to us. This was only uncovered when we had already invested £2000 in fees - probably what she was aiming for.

2. We have lowered our offer to reflect the shorter (<80 year) lease which we will have to pay to extend and some faults turned up by our survey (only actually £500 out of £4000 potential costs). She has refused to budge. We were about to pull out when the estate offered to lower their fees to placate her!! Bad when you start feeling sorry for the estate agent.

3. Hired a cheap, crap solicitor. They have failed to answer many of the questions put by our solicitor, despite repeated, clear instructions.

4. Originally lied and said she didn't live in the house so there would be no problem vacating when we wanted to set a moving date. Has now changed her mind and wants to buy a house first... but hasn't even put an offer in on a house yet angry

I mean, what is reasonable when setting a moving date etc? We are not selling our house for the time being, so didn't think we were in a chain, now looks like we will be!

She delays us at every tiny point by weeks refusing to answer the EA's calls. Apparently she had another buyer pull out before now and doesn't seem to care, so us threatening to pull out seems no threat.

Not sure there's anything I can do, but it just feels good to have a rant!!

Thromdimbulator Tue 30-Aug-11 17:26:42

Can think of lots of things.... sadly none of them legal!

Poor you. Is there really nothing else on the market you like more?

cheeznbreed Tue 30-Aug-11 17:32:14

Walk away.

A couple of grand is peanuts compared to the amount you'll spend on the place over the lifetime of the mortgage. The reason many people feel obliged to put up with insane amounts of fraudulent and obnoxious behaviour is because they've spend a couple of grand early on and feel like they have to go through with it, come what may. Well, you don't. Simple as that.

It seems a completely perverse relationship: the more dishonest the seller, the more likely the buyers will take it. It's crackers, don't put up with it!

In this market, there are loads of places screaming for buyers, remember that. As an aside, unless you really need to buy, give it a miss. Flats especially.

PS I hope you've done your homework on the place or any other place you are considering.

1. Last sold price- find out how much your seller paid for the place (sales since 1995 only):

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/

2. Use Firefox we browser and install Property Bee (google it), it adds a history of the listing which has useful info that you normally are prevented from seeing eg first listing date, price changes, any sales fallen through previously etc. Use it.

3. For leasehold flats especially, find out about those service fees, they can easily run into over a grand a year and be over £2 depending on where you're looking at. Nuts.

Apologies if you know all this stuff already, but it bears repeating in case others do not.

In summary: don't take it. Friends of mine had a similar experience, basically the agent cottoned on to the fact that they are quite nice people and took advantage of their good nature. Eventually they called it a day and withdrew from the sale. It's still available a couple of months later (Surrey).

MrsMustardSeed Tue 30-Aug-11 17:43:08

Thanks guys.

Yes, used property-bee etc... very good add-on!

Unfortunately, there is not a lot for sale in the area (desirable part of South London with a new transport link), I think people are waiting for prices to go up before selling. It took us a while to find this place and we have not seen anything we liked as much.

There are no service fees by the way as we are the (joint) freeholders too... so should only cost £1000 or so to extend, we already have written agreement fromt he other freeholder, he will probably be happy to get rid of her too if she is this difficult and penny-pinching when it comes to everything.

I can't face going back to looking again now... sad

cheeznbreed Tue 30-Aug-11 17:47:57

Apologies, I see it's a shared freehold rather than a leasehold. My bad.

mylovelymonster Tue 30-Aug-11 19:11:14

Can you start to set timelines with financial penalties? Are people queuing up to buy it?

narmada Wed 31-Aug-11 14:15:43

If I were you I would also be very tempted to pull out. I would be worried she'd lied about other things that might only come to light further down the line. I am wondering, for example, if she has contributed to any of the upkeep of the structure of the building during her tenure.

If there are no service fees, is there an agreement in place with the other shared freeholder about how the cost of any major/ minor refurb work will be split?

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