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How do you proceed to buy a house from a seller who appears to have significant mental health difficulties

(27 Posts)
StrumpersPlunkett Tue 04-Nov-14 23:10:06

house is great if slightly over priced, brilliant village, but owner puts SO many constraints on viewings and on visiting today was shouting at us as we were going round because we wanted to use a tape measure, shouted because we touched the side board in the kitchen (to see if it was granite or composite)
She was SO anxious about having people in her house, she is too anxious to let the estate agent do the viewings.
I felt for her, she was shaking and verging on crying all the way round.

Not sure if there is a way of proceeding, she wants to go to her new house which is a retirement property that she has been on a waiting list for (she is only just old enough)

Floggingmolly Tue 04-Nov-14 23:16:16

Assuming you're serious about her mental health difficulties; people who are not totally compos mentis, so to speak, have no legal capacity to enter into contracts, and any they do enter into can't be enforced. Be very careful.

gamerchick Tue 04-Nov-14 23:16:42


Maybe try asking if there's anything you can do to make things easier for her as she's obviously struggling letting go or something? If you've got yourself set on the house that is. She's still a person, you can talk to her.

RandomMess Tue 04-Nov-14 23:19:31

What are you concerned about exactly?

FrontForward Tue 04-Nov-14 23:20:04

I'd avoid buying it personally. House buying is incredibly stressful and people pulling out at the last minute with doubts is a big risk

StrumpersPlunkett Wed 05-Nov-14 00:45:00

Thanks all. I am concerned that if we want a survey that she won't let them in. I tried talking to her about it being stressful for her and she said it was her home and I had no right to ask questions or touch anything. I agreed that I didn't have the right. But that it us slot of money to spend without knowing if the neighbours could see me through the bedroom windows. I do worry that we could get reasonably emotionally invested in the house and she could just change her mind. And although I think she as issues I don't think they are the level that would mean that she wouldn't legally be counted as not having capacity to make the decision to sell.
The house has been on the market for over 6omths in a village where nothing comes onto the market (is usually sold before hand) argh!!!

Viviennemary Wed 05-Nov-14 01:12:41

I think you are being incredibly sensitive and considerate towards this woman which is good but you do have to look after your own interests. If you book a survey and she doesn't let the surveyor in then what. I think I'd be inclined to make this the estate agents problem. She is either selling the house or not. Take somebody from the estate agent with you next time you go to view. And if the difficulties continue I'd be inclined to pull out. You don't want to lose money because of a change of mind at the last minute.

MrsJamin Wed 05-Nov-14 07:13:13

We had a similar situation a few years ago, very odd man but we wanted the house. He was very socially inappropriate in a way I won't go into as it would out me on mn. In the end he didn't accept our very reasonable offer and was clueless about the terrible state of the house, so we walked away. I'm not sure its worth the stress unless you can speak to someone else as an intermediary, like a family member who is looking out for the lady. It was too risky for us to proceed to raise the offer and then risk him pulling out after a survey etc. Have you talked to the estate agent about your experience?

FrontForward Wed 05-Nov-14 07:33:57

I hate having my property on the market, really hate it. It comes from looking around houses with estate agents with no respect for a property or owner who passed personal remarks on decor (laughing) and opened cupboards and stuff that didn't need opening. (Wardrobes that weren't staying etc)

I'm just trying to explore if her behaviour comes from the viewing process and would stop when you move past the viewing stage? I'm sure you weren't inappropriate grin but just wonder if your detailed viewing which is justified, tipped her over

FrontForward Wed 05-Nov-14 07:34:25

The grin slipped in hmm

BatCrapCrazy Wed 05-Nov-14 07:37:53

I have been in the same position. The poor bloke we were buying the house off didn't know whether he was coming or going. He thought the government were watching him and wouldn't speak to us on the phone as he thought the government would listen to the calls.
In the end we pulled out after advice from our solicitor

Footle Wed 05-Nov-14 07:55:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

specialsubject Wed 05-Nov-14 11:03:42

speak to the agent, as frankly as you have here. Of course her mental health problems aren't her fault, but she could cost you a lot of money.

if the agent wants his commission he needs to find a solution.

StrumpersPlunkett Wed 05-Nov-14 11:24:42

Long talk to the agent this morning. She won't let them in the house. This is the second agent she has been with. Eek

specialsubject Wed 05-Nov-14 11:52:44

is she able to have a sensible discussion over the phone, i.e with no-one in the house? In those circumstances is she able to discuss ways round this? Is she able to realise that she cannot sell her house if people can't inspect it?

if none of these things apply - then I'm afraid you can't buy it.

Viviennemary Wed 05-Nov-14 12:59:34

The agency would be absolutely within its rights not to sell the house and to charge her for expenses so far. Don't know how far they'd get in a court of law. But legally speaking she is hindering the sale. There is absolutely no way you can guarantee she not cancel the sale at the last minute. I know any buyer can but really you've got to think of your own interests. It's a shame if you like the house. Can you not get your solicitors to approach her solicitor about these problems. But also the agency should get a grip of things and not just hand wring.

UriGeller Wed 05-Nov-14 13:07:55

If you really want it, you're going to have to persuade her you're going to have it. It IS For sale after all.

I'd go slowly. Write to her detailing the process, that the next step is to take measurements to make sure your furniture fits, then a man needs to come in to do the survey so that you can buy the house and she can buy her house.

Let her contact you, build up a rapport so she trusts you. She might have lived there for years, had her kids there etc.

Otherwise, like others have said. Forget the house.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Wed 05-Nov-14 15:53:10

Unless it's a unique house, I'd look elsewhere.

fromparistoberlin73 Wed 05-Nov-14 16:37:36

I would move on and maybe accept this house is not the "one" as you miught need to wait until she drops dead! seriously you face massive stress- keep looking and aceept it is not "the one

burnishedsilver Wed 05-Nov-14 17:04:29

I wonder would she relax a bit if you told her that you'd love the opportunity to look after the house and that you'd love it as much as she does. It might help if she a really wants you to have it.

There's a real possibility that she's not going anywhere.

Footle Wed 05-Nov-14 17:17:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AMumInScotland Wed 05-Nov-14 17:39:07

Do you love the house? Or at least the village it is in?

Do you think you could ask to visit an extra time and then just sit and talk to her? Maybe if she felt she had a chance to get to know you as a person/people then she would be able to get past the anxiety of having 'strangers' touching things. Then you could think about exactly what else you would need before you could decide whether to buy or not, and say something like "It's such a lovely dining room but I just don't know if the sideboard my granny left me would fit there" or wherever you feel you need an accurate measurement. Make it about things like that, not just 'judging' the house.

Seeing people measuring up can feel quite impersonal, where her home is obviously something personal to her - she may have moved there when she married, and been widowed there, and even though she wants to move it will be difficult and emotional.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 05-Nov-14 17:59:08

I've moved many times. I like the house no one else seams to be able to buy.

One house i brought from a very lovely elderly couple was rather tricky because the man was no longer terribly with it (a series of strokes etc) and the very lovely women didn't do men stuff and paperwork.

I used to write everything down for them. One step at a time. Big bullet points and then read it through with them and explain. I was heavily pregnant by the end overdue and living three hours away. It meant multiple visits.

In the end they gave me a key and said they'd booked the removal van for the Friday. Only problem was they hadn't signed the paperwork. That took two more weeks after they gave me the key and moved out. Happened at the same time as I had a section with DS2. It was a very odd situation that nothing was signed, we hadn't even exchanged, even though my solicitor had all the money for the house and they'd moved out giving me a key and could still have just changed their minds.

If you're convinced this women wants to sell and it can be presumed that she hasn't sold a house before could you do as previously advised up thread and write down the whole moving process for her. Detailing visits from surveyors then any specialist reports, what is likely to be done at each stage etc. don't forget a pre exchange visit for yourselves. Also list the points where its costing you money so she's aware.

I find having direct contact when buying and selling can really help smooth the process, also following up anything agreed verbally in writing.

divingoffthebalcony Wed 05-Nov-14 18:03:53

I think you have no chance, to be honest. There are countless other things this lady can (and probably will) refuse to deal with. Solicitor questions, searches, surveys, exchange and completion dates... It's sad for her, but it sounds utterly impossible.

StrumpersPlunkett Wed 05-Nov-14 21:55:22

Thanks all,
We do really want to proceed, so a bit like the above suggestion I wrote to her this afternoon, thanking her for the opportunity to look round her wonderful home and gushing about how much we would love it and look after it.
then we will sit tight and wait to see what she says to the estate agents. We have sold and now not in a chain and she has no upward chain so no one is in a rush, if it is easier for her we will take it v v slowly.

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