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Seller won't do a pre-exchange visit

(240 Posts)
MidnightDexy Fri 22-Jan-16 01:37:15

I don't know what to do. Sorry this is long.

First viewed house in Sept (twice). First was a cursory run through and second viewing we spent a long time - 45 minutes - taking measurements and so on. Our offer was finally accepted mid-October after a bit of negotiation and a complicated back story (she originally went with another buyer but eventually ditched them because they couldn't get their finances in order and she feared "we'd still be here in March").

We were delighted, instructed solicitor immediately, got mortgage offer and instructed valuation and booked surveyor. Did everything super fast to prove we weren't time-wasters.

Then she stalled. Took weeks (6, I think) to instruct a solicitor. She obviously hadn't paid the money on account because it then took her solicitor ages to finally get in touch with our solicitor.

The Property Information Form came back with lots of incomplete or missing answers, and lots of documentation "to follow". Our solicitor is excellent and has replied to emails same day or next, constantly kept pushing the outstanding enquiries and outstanding documents. Her solicitor has been appalling but we thought we were slowly getting there. The list of incomplete information is dwindling and we're now down to just 4/5 points.

One outstanding question is "can you confirm the property is in the same condition as when the buyers viewed it in September". The other is what arrangements her solicitors will make to deal with the shortfall in the amount needed to redeem mortgage charge on completion (sale proceeds will leave a shortfall). I didn't think there was anything odd about the first question, and the second (I am told) is essential.

We asked to have a final, pre-exchange visit (in particular to take a look at the drains at the rear, as we plan to do an extension). Estate Agent called with "bad news". Apparently the seller won't let us visit again, and won't talk on the phone. She's "offended" and "angry" at the questions we are asking.

Estate Agent told her she'd got the wrong end of the stick and that there was nothing personal behind the questions, they're just standard questions solicitors have to ask, but she's now got the hump in a serious way.

EA tells us she asked seller if she is trying to pull out, or no longer wants to sell to us, but seller (allegedly) promised that's not the case, she is just sick of us "hounding" her.

Has anyone had this? Any advice on how to handle this? I am heartbroken because if this house doesn't go through we'll be lumped with the new additional 3% SDLT and have to face the fact that the market has moved since our offer was accepted.

Paddletonio Fri 22-Jan-16 02:08:03

If she is taking the hump at this question I'd be concerned she actually doesn't have the money to make up the shortfall and so her mortgage will not be able to be cleared at completion and her banks charge won't be able to be removed from the property, which obviously makes the whole thing a no go. If she did have funds in place for this surely she would just answer the question.

She sounds very unreasonable though - no need for her to take it personally. Bonkers.

Good luck anyway!

JellyTipisthebest Fri 22-Jan-16 02:10:56

Don't exchange until you have seen the house again, we did and they had re-panted all the upstairs. It had been white or cream which was fine they then changed it to purple and orange. We had a young baby and not much spare cash to change it. We were so upset

FishWithABicycle Fri 22-Jan-16 05:00:41

Don't exchange! I know it would be awful starting again but it will be even more awful to exchange contracts and then find on moving day that the bank is refusing to remove the charge on the property and (possibly) that there are been some incident that has left a window smashed or a room needing immediate unexpected refurbishment.

SevenOfNineTrue Fri 22-Jan-16 05:43:23

The sellers behaviour is not normal. There is no 'hounding' in the sale and purchase of a property, just the exchange of necessary information. There is no valid reason for her not to grant you a visit and I would not buy without seeing the property again or you might find the extension you were planning is not possible and possibly other issues have happened after the survey that she is not being forthcoming about. What if she had flooded the place by leaving the tap on? You need to be sure before you commit so much money.

I'd give her an ultimatum, either she allows a visit at a time of her convenience or you'll walk away. If she says no to that, keep to your word and walk away. It will be hard but it is what I would do.

Good luck.

JT05 Fri 22-Jan-16 07:41:16

This is unusual. She has either changed something, there be serious damage or, and this has happened to us, she is selling to someone else via another solicitor!

Anyway, it all sounds very dodgy!

zombiesarecoming Fri 22-Jan-16 07:48:55

I would be as worried about damage, especially with all the floods over Christmas and the new year

Her behaviour is definitely not normal and I would say the same as everyone else, if you can't see it again the walk away

TheElementsSong Fri 22-Jan-16 08:23:33

I've never done a pre-exchange visit whether buying or selling! Should I ask to have another look at the house we are buying before we exchange?

Coincidentally our buyers have asked to come and measure up this weekend, and thanks to slow solicitors it is unlikely exchange will be happening beforehand - so this will be our first pre-exchange viewing!

Borninthe60s Fri 22-Jan-16 08:30:09

Pull put, there'll be other houses and you don't want to be lumbered. She could have had a major flood or fire for all you know!

CQ Fri 22-Jan-16 08:30:15

TheElements - our solicitor told us to get in all the visits we wanted (for measuring up etc) BEFORE exchange while the vendors are still keeping things sweet. Once exchange has happened they are under no obligation to let you set foot on the property . Obviously most reasonable people do - but they don't have to.

OP if she won't be reasonable before exchange, things may only get worse. But this is what we pay all these fees to estate agents and solicitors for - send them into battle, and if they don't get anywhere you'll have to walk away sadly.

So stressful for you flowers

PettsWoodParadise Fri 22-Jan-16 08:35:33

I bought a house once that had a charge on it and it really slowed things down. The owner was also embarrassed about it too so they got all defensive and awkward. Not as unreasonable as your vendor but not far off. They tried to argue that there was no need to remove the charge at exchange but would do it between exchange and completion and my solicitor said under no circumstances as then they just won't do it and I will be left with the charge. It then turns out that they were also stalling until early March as they had school offers pending and they wanted to keep the address until the spring for that reason. It took about seven months from first viewing in which time the garden was a mess and the wooden floors ruined by their dog. If they are being defensive then there is something behind it. EAs are good at smoothing things over (at least some are) but your EA asking if they are doing this with a view to pull out is just asking for trouble. Perhaps see if there is a more senior experienced member of the EA staff to explain that things have changed since maybe they last moved and try and put your side across. You can always blame third parties like it being a requirement of the insurance to do these questions and the site visit too as you need to be able to answer their questions honestly as you are sure they are honest people who understand that sort of situation.

slicedfinger Fri 22-Jan-16 08:37:16

When we bought our first flat our solicitor was worried when they suddenly started dragging their feet, and suggested we go back to have another look. We arranged it twice, and both times they were in but didn't answer the door. Third time they were out, and on looking over the back fence we could see that water was pouring through the glass roofed extension! Buckets everywhere. We renegotiated, and spent many happy years there. So very glad we had that final look though!

JT05 Fri 22-Jan-16 09:03:38

Just to add, our current buyer is coming back for the fourth time. She is very excited and wants to show her Dad, who is on a visit. We are happy to oblige because we have nothing to hide! smile

MidnightDexy Fri 22-Jan-16 11:49:38

Thanks all - I am so confused I thought we were being unreasonable. I am at my wits end. The EA (her appointed EA - we don't have a buyer's agent) has told me she resents the implication she would have done something to the property since we last viewed it. I assume she's mortally offended that we think she's 'dirty' or something.

The money thing is obviously a sensitive subject for her - she must feel embarrassed about people poking their nose into her business and I would too in her circumstances, you can tell from the price she bought it for and the price we're giving her that she's massively fucked up financially - but our solicitor won't let us exchange without it being sorted. It's obviously in our interests, but it's also in the bank's interests (our solicitor acts for our lender, as they do).

Does anyone who has had this scenario (buying from someone who needs to use other funds to discharge mortgage) have any insights?

HelpfulChap Fri 22-Jan-16 11:55:02

I have moved many times and to be honest I have never done a pre-exchange visit. Usually do One initial viewing then one more if we like it and want to/ have put in an offer. Occasionally we do a third.

Anything serious should have been picked up by the surveyor?

NoSquirrels Fri 22-Jan-16 11:57:01

If it were only the one issue - the pre-exchange viewing - I would probably try to get in touch myself, bypassing solicitors and EAs, so you can be personally conciliatory and explain about the drains/extension issue. Write a letter/card if you don't have her number to call.

But the financial aspect is very worrying. If she delayed so long about having funds to pay to instruct the solicitor, then it is pretty unlikely she'll be able to find funds to cover a shortfall. So honestly I suspect that it may go tits up whatever you do. Is the shortfall a lot?

HelpfulChap Fri 22-Jan-16 11:57:36

And it has never occurred to me to worry about whether the vendor was in negative equity. Maybe it has never been a prob I really can't remember.

NoSquirrels Fri 22-Jan-16 12:03:14

Here's what the CAB say about mortgage shortfalls

Twistedheartache Fri 22-Jan-16 12:03:37

No charges/negative equity issues but to give you an insight, my buyer wanted to do this and although I let them I was terrified I was going to lose another buyer/they were going to get ftb cold feet & walk away even though nothing had changed about the flat.
If she's got massive financial issues she's probably stressed about everything.
It's a difficult one but I guess you're getting a bargain & need to have patience that balances that out

PeppermintPasty Fri 22-Jan-16 12:06:20

I'm a conveyancing solicitor and this is one of those cases where your solicitor needs to get on to her solicitor and lay it on the line about her strange reaction to normal questions. Her solicitor needs to manage her better, tell her not to be so daft.

The mortgage issue is very definitely essential, there must be sufficient funds available on completion to discharge the charge(mortgage) that is on the title to the property. This is her and her solicitor's responsibility and they must give you and your solicitor written confirmation that this will happen. Further, her solicitor will have to legally undertake (a big deal for a law firm) to pass the property to you free of the mortgage. She cannot, and you shouldn't, exchange contracts unless this point is sorted.

You have not done anything untoward either by asking for another visit, particularly as you have a very legitimate reason for doing so, ie, the planned extension.

If your solicitor is good, get them to fight the good fight for you. Good luck.

EssentialHummus Fri 22-Jan-16 12:06:28

I'd always do a pre-exchange visit! What is there's been a fire/flood/squatting? Fixtures removed? Extreme examples, but it's just less worry-inducing to check that everything is roughly as you last saw itbefore you're on the hook to buy the bloody place.

aginghippy Fri 22-Jan-16 12:13:18

Going back for another look before exchange is entirely normal. You are not being unreasonable in the slightest - the seller is.

Her feelings are not relevant. You are only making assumptions about what you think she 'must be feeling'. You don't really know, she is a stranger to you. And yes it is odd behaviour.

As pp are saying, get your solicitor to fight your corner.

specialsubject Fri 22-Jan-16 13:06:13

I looked at a house where the seller didn't like exposing deeds, plans, 'personal stuff' like that before exchange. No sale.

tell her that you won't exchange without that visit. Because you won't.

bibbitybobbityyhat Fri 22-Jan-16 13:12:38

But why do you need to see the drains?

Baressentials Fri 22-Jan-16 13:16:12

bibbitybobbityyhat Buyers in one of our old homes needed to see the drains, and have a drain examination thingy technical term literally 3 days before exchange.

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