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Selfish sellers

(51 Posts)
Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 13:58:55

So basically, long story short we are buying a house. Only a little chain, first time buyers buying ours, we are buying a bigger house, the house we are buying going into rented while they look for something specific which don't come up often in a certain area. It was agreed from the start that top of the chain would go into rented.
Need to exchange by the start of Jan due to rental terms for first time buyers and mortgage offer for us.
Us needing to exchange by start of Jan has been known for months, which is why top of the chain agreed to go into rental rather than hold the chain up.
We are around a week off of being able to exchange and top of the chain have now found a house and are trying to put it through with our sales, effectively saying that it's vacant so they can exchange and complete in the next 3 weeks hmm
I'm worried that after paying out loads of money in legal fees that they will not be ready to exchange when we are, and will hold us all up.
Legally where do we stand?
My only options are for the bottom of the chain to try and go into another short term rental while we wait for the top of the chain, while we try to get a new mortgage offer if ours isn't valid anymore (or a mortgage offer extension)
Or for everyone to pull out?
I don't understand how a seller can just stick another house on the top of our chain and get away with it?
So angry. Advice please.

Mildura Wed 13-Dec-17 14:53:44

Legally there is nothing you can do. Assuming this is in England or Wales, up until exchange of contracts both buyer and seller can move the goalposts, or pull out altogether.

Very frustrating for you, all you can do is remind them of when your mortgage offer expires, and that is the latest day you will be able to complete on.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 15:05:52

It's so frustrating though. I just feel gutted that they've gone back on their word.
Another problem is schools. We are moving to a different village and it will be after the date of school admissions so our school choice will be based on our current property 30 mins away from our new house instead of the school a 20 second walk from our new house.
The school is so oversubscribed and tiny village so they only have 24 children in each intake.
We may get second refusal if we move before sept, but I'm 99.99% the places will be allocated in the first round.
May as well stay where we are if for the next 8 years we won't even have the local school and have to leave the village each day for schools.
Literally feel like pulling out.

wowfudge Wed 13-Dec-17 15:24:41

The FTBs shouldn't have given notice - you'd only do that once you've exchanged if you're a tenant - and they are under no obligation to sign another AST for a further fixed term. They can simply stay put, sign nothing and their tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy. They would need to give one month's notice normally and their landlord two. There's a risk their landlord may serve them notice if they don't sign up to another fixed term, but it's a very small one if the LL is sensible.

Yes the top of the chain are annoying doing this but otherwise they are facing moving twice or putting things into storage, etc.

wowfudge Wed 13-Dec-17 15:26:11

Well the schools situation doesn't work for you, threaten to pull out. But don't make a hollow threat - you do have to be prepared to walk away.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 15:41:08

I am very prepared to walk away. Even after shelling out almost £1000. If I stayed here then school is a 10 min walk, if we move then school is a 2 min walk tops. If we move and then miss out on a school place then the next nearest schools are a 20 minute drive. I would rather lose £1000 than inconvenience myself for at least 8 years and possibly more if we have more children.
Just so bloody cross.
Can't believe top of the chain have gone back on their word and that this is totally legal.
Their house had been on the market for a year before we bought, so I'm sure it would inconvenience them a lot more if we dropped out of the sale.

bilbodog Wed 13-Dec-17 15:53:37

Its possible they could push the purchase through quickly if the house is empty and they dont have to arrange a mortgage - i would make sure they know how difficult this is for you and your buyers if things dont happen very quickly.

There is always the problem now that the process slows down because of christmas and new year. You will find estate agents open most of the time but solicitors often close over the holiday period.

If this house is your forever home i would try and make it work. Good luck.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 15:55:33

I am going to make them aware of how difficult this has made it for the rest of the chain. They only just found their new house yesterday so I'll be very surprised if they get everything done by the time everyone else wants to exchange.
Going to have a long think about what to do.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 15:56:34

Don't even know if the house they've bought is vacant. This annoys me too as surely we should have been informed? Would this be our solicitors job or estate agents? Just so I can have it out with the correct people.

whiskyowl Wed 13-Dec-17 16:03:51

I think you should try to speak to them (via the EA if need be) and express your concern that there needs to be a plan B in the event that they can't get everything done in this impossible timescale! It may be that they are actually trying to buy this in 3 weeks, but prepared to go into rental for a couple of weeks if it doesn't come off. In which case, you wouldn't have a problem, right?

Misstomrs Wed 13-Dec-17 16:05:36

I so feel for you! We had two horrendous time wasters (sorry, ‘buyers’) when we were moving house. I was pregnant and we nearly lost the house we wanted because our buyers were a complete nightmare.

It is awful but there is literally nothing you can do. Until exchange you have no rights it seems, despite the ridiculous expense. I know it’s hard but try and wait until you have calmed down and then decide what your priority is. You can then instruct the solicitor accordingly.

FWIW in the first instance I would keep it all quite light and just get them to ‘check’ that they will be honouring their existing agreements and will move into rented as planned should their sale not be possible in the timeframes.

Good luck

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 16:08:40

No it wouldn't be a problem if we could all exchange and complete by the start of Jan, then they exchange and complete afterwards and they go into rented in the meantime.
The problem is that they've totally changed the goal posts, gone back on their word, not even told us they've now purchased a property which is adding to the chain and not come back to us to agree to us exchanging and completing without them.
It's like they hoped we wouldn't noticed they were sneaking another house onto the chain.
It just makes you lose trust and faith in people as it's like they've got us by the balls.
We pull out and lose a grand, stay and lose out on a mortgage offer, schools and seriously inconvenience us for the next 8 years. The first I heard of this new house was when I called my solicitors today for an exchange date and heard we couldn't even think about that as the top of the chain had bought a property to add to the chain.

specialsubject Wed 13-Dec-17 16:11:55

The only person at the top of the chain that kept a promise to go into rental that i have ever known ....is me. We got pissed about on our later purchase with this game, although it was worth hanging on.

In our sale we had a spoilt princess further down trying to dodge cgt. It only held together because the buyer at the bottom went into a travelodge.

Your ftb s were daft giving rental notice before exchange. As all work will stop mid next week at latest , exchange early Jan is unlikely. Get your estate agent to light a rocket under your sellers, telling them you may well walk.

Sadly there's no legal defence against being treated as little people, which is what is happening.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 16:14:30

I think the first time buyers rent from family which is why they've given as much notice as possible. And I think new tenants are due in at the start of Feb. It's just all a mess.

bilbodog Wed 13-Dec-17 16:50:50

People do this type of thing all the time (i work at an EA) and is why moving house is so stressful. The problem is that people move house so little during a lifetime and most dont understand the process particularly if they havent moved for a long time. The paperwork is so much more complicated these days and a lot if people have too high expectations of the process. Speak to whoever organised your mortgage to see if it would be straightforward to get another offer if the old one expires and how long it might take.

Mildura Wed 13-Dec-17 17:17:16

The problem is that people move house so little during a lifetime and most dont understand the process particularly if they havent moved for a long time.
Along with the fact that moving house seems to bring out the irrational selfish side in many.

It may be worth seeing if you can get an extension to your mortgage offer.

Whyisnothingeasy Wed 13-Dec-17 17:18:09

Either way, even if we get an extension we will be stuck with a school a 20 minute drive away from our new house, all because the sellers have gone back on their word.

Pixiedust1973 Wed 13-Dec-17 22:43:34

@Whyisnothingeasy, I take it this is a primary school application & you are talking about the deadline for applications? If this is the case then all may not be lost as far as that is concerned & it may be worth contacting the LA of the area you're moving to for complete clarification of their rules.

When we moved we had a similar scenario, but it was with secondary applications. Application deadline date was end of October. We applied for the school in Surrey using the form sent out from our then current LA in East Sussex using our current ES address. Not everyone knows, but there is another date after applications go in where you can amend your address. We exchanged contracts the day before & completed on this second, final deadline date of 16th December, 6 weeks after the deadline date they tell you about.

I was on the phone to my solicitor & Surrey LA screaming down the phone for the solicitor to confirm to the LA that we had indeed moved & what our new address was. It got done with minutes to spare & my daughters application was processed using our local address, despite the fact we didn't move until 6 weeks after the deadline everyone believes is the cut off date! Please look into this. It could be you have more time than you think! flowers

BackforGood Wed 13-Dec-17 22:55:08

Thing is, they are seeing from their pov, it will obviously be easier for them to move once, than twice.
What you need to do if formally tell them that is you are not in by {insert date} then the offer has expired. Don't get all emotional - they won't realise all the ins and outs of Primary admissions dates. Just be really clear that you weren't saying "by start of January" as a random date, you were saying it, because, if you aren't in then, then there is no point in you buying their house.
Of course, you have to be prepared to walk away then, and you will still not get into the school nor get the house you presumably want.
It's a ridiculous situation in England, the way we buy and sell house, but that is the only system you can work with - what is in place.

SkyIsTooHigh Thu 14-Dec-17 00:28:54

It's massively stressful but it's not that unusual for dates to shift. I don't think we've ever exchanged by the first agreed target date. You are in a strong negotiating position if you truly are prepared to walk away, but of course you can't force them. Explain the house is no use to you after the primary cut off date, and you may well convince them to split the chain.

I really hope Pixiedust's experience mirrors the rules in your county - it could make a massive difference.

My question is whether the 3 week delay is realistic, or if it's likely to get extended again.

Mxyzptlk Thu 14-Dec-17 00:41:14

I'd look into the school cutoff, as Pixiedust says, but still tell the sellers that you will walk away if your purchase can't be completed by the date you chose.
They won't want to go back to having their house on the market, now that they've found what they want.
Good luck.

Whyisnothingeasy Thu 14-Dec-17 06:16:44

I've phoned up to clarify the school situation. If we move after the cut off date then we can change our address and put a new school on the application, but the new address will only be considered in the second round of allocations in June. If all spaces have been filled in the first round in April (highly likely as tiny village school which is very oversubscribed) then we've not got a chance.
For context we had friends who moved to our area in July and applied for schools. There were none available in the closest 3 villages and they were given a school a 30 minute car ride away. They moved again in the end to be closer to the school they were given.
Also friends who moved here in June from Australia.
They have 2 children and were allocated 2 schools 15 mins in opposite directions.
School situation here is dire.

didireallysaythat Thu 14-Dec-17 06:29:49

Do you know for certain you'll get a place in your desired school if the move goes through ? We were in a similar position but another family moved a little closer to the school than us with twins ! Didn't see that coming...

You can look up how the school has gone down their selection criteria (SEN, siblings, distance, I believe faith in some cases).

insancerre Thu 14-Dec-17 06:34:59

Your school situation has nothing to do with the sellers of the house you are buying
I think they see it as only having to move once and not having to pay out for rent
You can't really blame them for that
The people who are buying your house will just have to rent somewhere else or delay their moving out

frenchfancy17 Thu 14-Dec-17 06:37:41

If you exchange as planned would you meet the deadline for schools?

If so, be firm with solicitor that if you're not in by that date then the deal is off. If the house was on the market for a year before then hopefully they really want a sale.

You need to benable prepared to walk away though. Do what's best for you xx flowers

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