June 15th, 2019


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Learn from my mistakes #3875: Moving Home Part 2

Previously Part One and Part Two.

So, after my initial worries that a bunch of people came and were enthusiastic, but none wanted to buy it, the following weekend another bunch of people came and were enthusiastic, and none of them wanted to buy it. And in-between three people made viewing appointments, were enthusiastic, and didn't want to buy it (including one person who was 5 days past her due date, looking for a flat for her friend who was moving to Edinburgh, and spent half an hour talking to Jane about pregnancy and Labour after she viewed the flat. She said the place was perfect for her friend. Who never came to see it.)

The first weekend people came to see it because it went on ESPC (the local property website). The second weekend people came to see it because after three days exclusivity it went on Rightmove. The third weekend there was nothing new going on, and so...nobody came to see it.

To people used to the English property system this probably seems normal - things ebb and flow, and it takes at least 3 months to buy/sell. Scotland moves at a faster pace. The average property in Edinburgh sells in a little over a month. And places near the lower end of the property market tend to go in a week or two.

If we didn't have a deadline I wouldn't have worried about it. But as not selling would mean not getting the house we'd bought I was a stress monkey after half an hour of nobody turning up for the open viewing period. Jane, thankfully, was marvellously supportive, and suggested a plan of action. And, chatting to the solicitor on Monday, they basically suggested the same one - go from "Offers Over" (the Scottish closed bidding system) to "Fixed Price". Which we instantly did, at the valuation price of £200k (switching from offers over £189k).

On Tuesday I got a call asking if I could do a viewing on Wednesday morning. So I stayed home while the pair came to take a look. They both clearly really liked it, and then the woman made a point of talking it down a bit in a "This is a lovely place. Except for these 17 things we'd obviously have to do.". And then they asked for my personal mobile number, which I couldn't think of a way not to give them (protocol is to have their solicitor talk to my solicitor), and didn't want to risk scaring them off.

They phoned me that night, and offered £190k. I told them I'd think about it. And then texted them to say that that was quite a bit off, and that I'd see what the next open viewing (on Sunday) brought. They texted me back offering to split the difference at £195k and they'd contact my solicitor the next day. I said I'd look forward to hearing from them, discussed it with Jane, and agreed that in order to get the stress over with we'd just take that, rather than waiting three days to see if another offer came in, and then having to renegotiate from a position of weakness if none did.

The following morning (Thursday) I tried to phone my solicitor at 9am. She arrived in just as I was talking to her officemate, and then when she tried to transfer me over someone came in on the direct line. So I went in to work, and when I tried her from there she was with some clients who had come in to the office. And then I had an hour and a half of meetings. And as I came out of _that_ she phoned me. And told me that they'd had some interest. I said yes, and the offer would probably be for £195k, and we were happy to accept it. She said that they'd come to her direct, so she'd told them to go get a solicitor of their own, and then get their solicitors to put in the offer.

Two hours later, she phoned me back again. She'd heard from their (new) solicitors. Who said that they'd been told that I'd said to the buyers that we'd accept £195k. I said "I'm happy to accept £195k, but I never said any such thing to them." and then forwarded her a photo of the SMS conversation we'd had. She said "Leave it with me." and then phoned me back ten minutes later to say "They've formally offered £200k." and I practically bit her arm off accepting it.

So we move on the 23rd of July. And I'm pretty darned excited about that. And sooooo relieved.

(And I recommend McDougall McQueen as solicitors)

Addendum (I forgot before I posted this the first time!) - things you should learn from my mistakes:
Don't go looking for places you might like before you put your own place on the market.
Definitely don't go and see any of them.
If you do go an see one then really really don't put in an offer on one before your place has sold.
If you're not in Scotland then the property system is different, and none of the above applies.

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