Select Page

We have said for a long time now, that when Nick goes to University and leaves home we would probably sell our home and downsize a little. That time has come, in fact Nick is in his second year at Leeds College of Music already.

So we came home to the UK from Spain for a week in September. It was Nick’s birthday and we wanted to see him, and help him move into his new apartment in Leeds. We again talked about selling the house, and decided to put it on the market. We already knew that a gentleman, who had already sold his house, had been looking at properties in our street. Our Estate Agent came and measured up and promised to tell him that our house had just been put on the market. He told him, the gentleman and his wife came to see the house that same day and put in an offer which we accepted, that same day! We urgently started looking for a new house and found one, quite quickly actually. We went to see it, liked it, and put in an offer that was accepted. Excellent. It can’t be that easy can it?

No it can’t.

Lower down the chain from us a buyer had already moved out of his house and into rented accommodation. So there was a sense of urgency to get the sales completed and everyone moved. The date of 24 October was given to us, a date only five weeks after we had sold our house. All continued seemingly well, but without the exchange of contracts.

One week to go and Nick arrives from Leeds to empty out his room. Five days to go he leaves the only home he has ever lived in, for the last time. We take him to the station for a train back to Leeds, and we go for a pizza. Having eaten I checked Facebook on my phone, only to see the above photo of our house and this comment from Nick:

I’m not usually one for posting on Facebook. However, today I left my house for the last time. This was my home for 20 years, and it was the best! It was sad to see it go but here’s to the future!

I don’t mind telling you that brought a lump to my throat. You ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. Nick and Helen both assure me that we are. We don’t need a house with a garden and a double garage this far down the Tyne Valley anymore, we want to be in the city. So doubts dismissed, we move closer to moving out.

Three days to go and an early evening phone call to tell me that my buyer does not have permission from his local Parish Council to build an extension to his house, an extension that he built years ago. The Parish Council assure us there is no problem at all and permission will be granted, it’s only a formality. However the solicitor for my buyers buyer will not accept that and has said that formal permission must be granted at the next Parish Council meeting; that’s not until 10th November. So the move is delayed and frantic calls are made to furniture removers. The following morning, two days to go, our buyer phones to say that his buyer has changed his mind and has pulled out completely.

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Devastated doesn’t even start to explain how we feel. Two days to go. We have sold some of our furniture, given away all our gardening tools and most of the house is in boxes. We have gone to considerable expense, Liz, the lady whose house we were buying, has put a non-refundable deposit on a new build, a house she now cannot buy. So our house is back on the market, our Estate Agents are doing all they can to sell our house and we would like that to happen soon, so at least Liz would be able to move to her new house. I feel really bad for her, it’s not my fault of course, but she must be cursing me.

In Scotland the rules are different. You have to commit to buying a house long before the actual move and you cannot back out. We HAVE to do the same thing in the country. This has been one of the worst weeks in our thirty year marriage, I cannot believe that so many people have been so financially and emotionally violated, just because some selfish imbecile, and I hope he reads this blog, changes his mind with two days to go. I understand completely why they say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you will ever do. It’s even more stressful to have the whole thing collapse with 48 hours to go.

It simply should never happen, but it happens too often in England, and it’s just happened to us.