Month: April 2010

Ten Years Alseep

Ten years asleep in the queue for the late night bus –
With all of us.

Breakfast television is the biggest decision I’ve made
In the last decade.

It wouldn’t happen in another world.
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer planet.
It would’ve happened in another world,
So don’t pretend to care when you don’t care!

I was wondering when the stress of buying would kick in. On Wednesday I had the phone call. My mortgage broker was calling to tell me that there was a problem. The day before he’d called me to tell me everything was OK and the finance company’s survey was going through. This time he was calling me to tell me he’d (inadvertently) lied. Apparently there was a problem with the application. Eight years ago I had a few financial issues, and had a credit card withdrawn. Eight years ago! Apparently they wanted to know why – I could barely remember myself. I ended up telling them how much I’d earned back then, having recently graduated, and they went away again.

Finally the survey was booked in and performed yesterday, but it was a rather nerve-wracking few days. What else would they find in my credit history that didn’t appear on my credit files (I checked them before we even applied)?

Now waiting to hear back from my own surveyor as to the state of the house. Then we’ll see what’s what…

It’s all been done

I knew you before the West was won.
And I heard you say,
“The past was much more fun.”
You go your way, I go mine –
But I’ll see you next time.

It’s all been done,
It’s all been done.
It’s all been done before!

Two conversations of interest this afternoon in the the ever-complicating saga of the house, though this time it’s sheer incredulity that I’m left with, rather than anything else.

The first conversation was a call from my mortgage broker. He’s sent all the paperwork off to the lender and he’ll chase them if he’s not heard anything by the end of the week. Nice, efficient, pleasant, and I trust him. He’s earning less commission than he would have if we’d gone with the original plans, but still perfectly pro-active and helpful. He wasn’t kidding when he said he was after our remortgage business in a couple of years’ time.

The second conversation? The estate agent, phoning to tell me that our vendors have found somewhere to live. First thought – wow, that was fast. They only started looking last week! There was more though. The vendors have arranged their mortgage through the estate agent. Would I care to do so? No. Not even if they can guarantee to beat the rate I’ve been quoted elsewhere? No. Not even if they can give me a fixed rate of 3.2 %? Not a chance, matey. I don’t believe for a second I can get that rate. Even if I hadn’t already paid for the valuation survey, I’d be going elsewhere for my mortgage. Somewhere where they’re up front about how much they earn from my business.

All this, too, after they’d already spoken to my mortgage broker! So far all I’ve got from the buying process is a list of who not to sell through when we come to sell, however many years down the line it is. I think I’ve met at best one even remotely trustworthy bloke so far, and that was because he was a sole trader in a sea of national franchises.

Let me down Easy

At first you smile, then turn away
I’ve been thinking of what I should say
All last night I stayed up dreaming,
I’m still dreaming.

Movement on the house front. On Tuesday the estate agent called me to tell me that the vendors were looking for about 10k more than I was willing to offer. Was I willing to increase my offer?, he asked. The reply was a firm “No.”

“Fair enough,” he says. “I’ll pass that on and get back to you for a final decision.”

I wasn’t hopeful. When we looked at the place originally it was on the basis of  “Slim chance we can negotiate them down”. The initial price reduction was a pleasant surprise – but still no guarantee that anything would happen. I placed the offer fully expecting to get laughed at, and to move on to the house we expected to be able to get. The next day, he called me back.

“Congratulations, your offer has been accepted” was the news on the other end of the line.

Wow. To say I was in shock was an understatement. Didn’t really expect to get the place, happy that we have it. Cue a mad rush to phone a solicitor, phone the mortgage broker, get everything in place. Then to phone the beloved who’s been working away from home and break the good news to her.

It hasn’t all been sweetness and light, though. We met the mortgage advisor on Saturday morning to get everything finalised, and had some news that brought us back down to earth with a jolt. The mortgage we’d been planning on taking out had been withdrawn from the market. That was a problem – in our budget there was a choice of a hike of 0.7% interest (not a small amount of money per month), to try a mortgage provider who was unlikely to take us on, or putting down a bigger deposit. Now, fortunately, we’re first-time buyers so the stamp duty we’d previously allowed for was no longer an issue. With some careful calculations, we were able to arrive at a conclusion. We could just afford to go up to 15%. We’ll spend the summer being very skint indeed, wipe out our savings completely, but on the other hand the combination of bigger deposit and lower interest rate means we’ll be able to save more afterwards (I have a number of guaranteed bonuses coming in over the next six months too). At least the lender seems happy to accept our mortgage request without too much trouble.

So, if (touch wood) we complete, we’ll own more equity in our home than we’d originally intended. Let’s hope this is the last bad news we hear in our journey.

The Boxer

I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles.

Such are promises – All lies and jests.
Still a man hears what he wants to hear,
And disregards the rest

The Home Stretch, maybe (pun not intended). Three more appointments, and further developments.

Appointment 1

The second house we saw last Saturday, second viewing. We’re late because we’re expecting the estate agent to turn up and he doesn’t. The vendors don’t mind too much – they’re friendly people and they answer all my questions. It’s a very nice house, and since it’s been marked down it’s maybe within the realms of negotiation to our price point. Depending on what we see later, we’ll probably make an offer.

Appointment 2

Starts fantastically when we can’t find anywhere to park nearby – it’s all residents’ bays. We end up parking 5 minutes’ walk away, which isn’t so much of a problem. Quite useful to have done so – on the walk back there’s a very rough-looking pub and a 1960s council tower block on the verge of collapse, no more than 100 yards away. When we get to the house, the estate agent’s already there waiting. Unfortunately when he comes to let us in, his key doesn’t work. Cue twenty minutes waiting outside while the vendor rushes back from the shops. House is nice enough, but I don’t like the way the space is divided up – it’s been significantly remodelled, and there’s the parking and neighbours to think about too.

Appointment 3

The second house we saw on the first day of viewings. Pretty much as I remember it. Still nice enough to make an offer on but we liked the first house more. Still a very nice place, mind. If the offer on the first house isn’t accepted (and, being realistic, I’m not really expecting it to be) we’ll be happy to make an offer on this house.

More Conversations with the Damned

Once again I call the absentee estate agent from the first house of the day. “Are you willing to make an offer?” he asks. As it happens, I am. I give him my terms and he says he’ll call the vendors and get back to me. So far, I’m in limbo. As I said above, I’m not really expecting the offer to be accpted, but given I haven’t had a call back yet, I don’t think it’s an outright refusal.

So – might have found a place, might not. Let’s see what happens over the next few days.