I am having a fraught time with my attempted house move. It is so strange that I thought I would blog about it. The strangeness may be only a product of the years since I last bought a house.
I saw a lovely old home – a Grade 2 listed building, very dilapidated – earlier this week. It was advertised at 289,995, and I put in a bid of 275,000. The agent told me that a cash offer of 250,000 was already in, and that the seller was inclined to accept it for a quick sale. The house ad, he said, been repossessed. In these cases, the rule was that no offer was accepted until contracts were completed.
That sounded very unpleasant and I wished I was in Scotland where the law enforces some honour. But even more strangely, the estate agent said he had no idea if it was a listed building, and went on to deny my suggestion it had at some stage been converted to flats, despite the fact that it has three floors, each with its own recently but horribly installed kitchen and bathroom.
A phone call to the council confirmed it is indeed a listed building and it appears there was no permission for those changes, though I have to visit the Council to make certain of that last. But my several contacts with the estate agent since then have left me with the strong impression that they have a real desire not to sell to me.
In short, what they have said to me is that the 250,000 cash offer is going through, and they will not inform the seller of my higher offer unless I can show the cash. I have said I will be able to show the cash within seven days. They have said that if I show the cash before the 250,000 transaction goes through, they will tell the seller about me. But otherwise not.
That seems to me crazy. I should have thought even a corporate seller would want to know somebody had offered 25,000 more, and be given the option of waiting a very few days to see if he could show the money. The house has only been on the market a fortnight.
This is my email exchange with the estate agent today:
I presume my 275,000 remains the best offer?
I today paid over 125,000 in cheques into my current account for the
deposit. These will take a few days to clear.
I have a second meeting with my bank (Natwest) on Tuesday morning to
finalise the offer in principle. So the finance will be fully in place
before the end of next week.
I have instructed, and paid, Mr … to carry out a structural
Please inform me of any developments.
Thanks for your email.
We cannot put your offer forward to our corporate client till we have seen the following documents
Agreement in principle from your bank
proof of deposit
Incidentally, the house plainly has not been a happy family home for many years so I don’t have qualms about buying a repossession.
Am I being paranoid? I have half convinced myself the estate agent is trying to sell for 250,000 to a local developer they know, avoiding stamp duty, not advertising the listed building status and suppressing higher bids. Or is this all innocent and normal?