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Paul & Sue Hazelden
- House Move -
May to November 1999

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(Mostly typed by Paul)

Progress on the move is recorded below in reverse chronological order (the most recent information first) so you can keep up to date by reading from the top... I think this is the easiest way!

25 November

The pink caravan - the Europe Now office - moved from 168 to Abbeywood today.   It is sitting on the patio.   I am told it was quite a monumental struggle to get the thing up our steep drive, but as today was a Thursday I was working for the eXchange in Gloucester and missed all the fun.

Paul's parents come down to visit for a few days.   We have been solidly clearing and sorting, emptying boxes and putting things away for weeks now, and it still seems like we have boxes everywhere.   And we still have to move the computers, lots of books and other assorted items from 168.

19 November

The other half of the store was cleared today, so we no longer have that additional expense.   And once our items were all moved in, Steve Poulard and his parents started moving in all his stuff from the big van they had driven down.   The house looks a lot fuller than it did yesterday.   Boxes everywhere, and we can't work out how to organise the kitchen...

12 November

About half the items in store were moved.   So we need to do lots of unpacking boxes and sorting before the second half is moved.

We have just heard that the first house we looked at in Bristol (which is now owned by our new Housegroup Leaders) is quite a mess under the floorboards and behind the pannels on some walls, and causing the new owners much more work than they anticipated, and...

... the house in St Edyth's Road - the one where we were gazumped - has wet rot downstairs.   Major problems.   The new owners have not moved in yet.   It did not seem so at the time, but God certainly knew what He was doing when He stopped us buying it!   And we must confess to a certain quiet satisfied feeling that poetic justice has been done, after all.

11 November

We have cleaned Abbeywood, with some help from the Snowball students, and Sue has booked a couple of men with a van to shift stuff from storage tomorrow.   We don't know how much they will manage, or how long it will take to move everything out of storage and the rest of Steve's and our bits from the current house.

8 November

Abbeywood is ours at last.   Again, today, it was quite late in the afternoon that we received confirmation that the purchase was complete and we could collect the keys.   It seems that packing took the previous owners more time than they had expected.   It hardly seems possible after all this time.

5 November

We have exchanged contracts!   We complete on the purchase of Abbeywood on Monday 8 November.   The money went off to the solicitor in time, after all, but it seemed the effort had been wasted: there was still some hold-up at the other end.   But we heard around 4:30 in the afternoon that the final piece had fallen into place.

3 November

It has suddenly become urgent.   Next Monday is really the target!   We need to get the money organised in a hurry.   I arrange for a CHAPS payment to go to the solicitor on Friday, but Tesco can't promise the money will be in the account before the end of the day on Friday, which would mean everything needs to happen Monday morning.

2 November

It appears our vendors have received the formal mortgage offer, but there is some other minor detail which prevents them from exchanging contracts.   The estate agents say there is 'nothing to worry about' and we can still complete next Monday, but our solicitor says their solicitor is showing no sign of any urgency.

28 October

We have a letter from the neighbour confirming the position of the boundary.   The solicitor says this could still be the subject of a dispute, and is asking the Land Registry to note the boundary when they update the title.   But our vendors still cannot exchange.

26 October

The Land Registry agree with us: the boundary is wrong on their plans, and the plans for next door show the boundary away from Abbeywood.   We still don't know where the boundary is, but this is enough progress to go ahead.

Unfortunately, there is a 'minor delay' in getting the formal mortgage offer to our vendors.   It's just a technicality and 'nothing to worry about'.   Except that this is what we were told about our first failed sale in Guildford.   The offer should come through any day now, so we hope to exchange by the end of this week and complete on Monday 8 November.

20 October

Another pile of papers from the solicitor through the door yesterday.   The boundary question is not sorted out yet - clarification is being sought from Land Registry.   No estimate of how long this will take.

18 October

The estate agent says our vendors are only waiting for their mortgage offer in writing, which should arrive by the end of this week or early next week.   So it is possible we might exchange contracts on Wednesday 27 October, and move on Friday 5 November.

15 October

Several phone calls to the estate agent, but no information from them about any progress with our vendors' purchase.

11 October

Another visit to the solicitor this morning.   Most of the paperwork looks fine, but there is a real question about the location of the South West boundary.   And the property on that side is in the process of being sold.

5 October

This morning, a fat package arrives from our solicitor: more paperwork to read, check and sign.   According to the estate agent, the people we are buying from are trying to purchase an empty property - so there is no chain, thank goodness! - and the survey on it is due to be done this week.   Once that is complete, their mortgage application can be processed - assuming no serious problems are identified.

28 September

I take the morning off work, and we all go down to the solicitor and work through the details of the lock-out contract...   Begin to wonder if it's worth doing.   Steve transfers £10,000 to the solicitor as our penalty if we decide not to purchase after all.

Later in the day, hear that the surveyor has not found any serious problems, and the owners have agreed to the terms of the lock-out contract.   But they have not got their mortgage arranged yet, so we may still be in for a bit of a delay.

26 September

Put the first cheque (£150 for the searches) and set of documents into the solicitor's office so everything is waiting for him first thing Monday.

24 September

Their solicitor has been instructed now, but ours has a broken fax machine, so he cannot get the details from the estate agent in order to start the searches.   I have the afternoon off work to pick up the boys (Sue is doing the final house clearance run to Guildford with Steve), so I pick up the details from the estate agent and deliver them to the solicitor.   He tells me the owners have received another offer for the house, £30,000 more than our final offer, but they were still selling to us.   It is hard to believe, but things are starting to go right again.

The surveyor is scheduled for Tuesday next week (28 September).

23 September

Much to our surprise, they have accepted our final offer, along with the lockout agreement.   It must be all the prayer.   However, when our solicitor gets in touch with theirs, he discovers they have not given any instructions concerning any sale.   So we still need prayer to get this house.

22 September

Abbeywood is still on the market!   The people who failed to get it yesterday phoned the owners this morning - after the final deadline - with an increased offer.   We are being asked to increase our offer again (how many times?) or enter a contract race (with the prospect of being gazumped yet again even if we do win it).   It still seems like the right house, but we are not keen on either prospect.

Much prayer... again... eventually decide to raise our offer slightly, but make it clear that this is our final offer, and we want a lockout contract with them - which would commit us to buying the house, and prevent them from selling it to anyone else.   Tell the estate agent and also write it in a letter we drop round to the owners in the evening.   It doesn't look very hopeful.

21 September

We increase our offer, on the basis that if we don't and then fail to get the house, we will really kick ourselves.   Eventually we hear that our offer has been accepted - because we had increased it.   Thank you Lord!

Now we need to pray that nothing else gets in the way of a rapid move.   Mark & Susan Howe would quite like us to have moved by 6 October, which looks quite tight.

20 September

Someone else has put in another offer for Abbeywood.   The new deadline is 6 pm tomorrow.   More prayer...   In faith, we withdraw our offer from the house in Brentry.

18 September

We make an offer for Abbeywood, the house in Stoke Bishop.   The estate agent promised a decision by the end of the day, but the owners are out for the day, so no news until Monday.   We are praying furiously, as Sue has really set her heart on this one.

17 September

The owner does not want to take the property in Brentry off the market: he would like us to offer a bit more.   How much?   He won't say.   We explain that if he won't say yes to our offer, we won't stop looking for a house.

Mark and Steve find another possibility, this time much closer in Stoke Bishop.   Sue likes it; we make an appointment for me to go round this evening.

16 September

Sue likes the house in Brentry - we agree with Steve to offer a bit over the asking price for it.

15 September

Our house in Southway is finally sold... I suppose that means we are halfway to moving house...

13 September

I like the house Mark found.   Unfortunately, Sue is still in Guildford and has not see it yet.

9 September

Mark has seen one property that looks eminently suitable, but it's in Brentry - not within walking distance of school for the two youngest.   I hope to see it with Sue on Monday evening next week.

6 September

We exchanged contracts on Southway today.   Completion is set for 15 September.

Finding a house just for us in Bristol does not seem to be working, so we are going to look at the possibility of finding somewhere with Steve Poulard.   We are thinking of somewhere large enough for him, us, the EN office and a place for the Snowball training.

1 September

We should be exchanging on Southway today, but Sue gets a letter from our Guildford Solicitor: the buyer's Solicitor has just decided to raise some questions about the boundaries.   I phone and clarify the points.   It turns out that the buyer's Solicitor also failed to include a cheque as promised, and despite faxing them yesterday it did not turn up in the post today.   So no exchange today: possibly the end of the week if we are lucky.

31 August

The Bristol Estate Agent rings me at work: the vendors have withdrawn their house from the market 'for personal reasons'.   We are looking for a house to buy again.   This is getting to be a habit.   At least we have not spent hundreds of pounds on this one before it fell through.

27 August

The vendors say they will accept £124,500.   We decide to offer it, so we are buying a house again.   According to the Estate Agent, they are willing to move as soon as possible, but hope to have at least four weeks to get organised.   On past performance, this should not be too difficult.

26 August

Sue comes down to Bristol with the boys and looks at two houses - the one with the larger garden I saw two days ago, and another.   We decide to make an offer of £123,000 for the one I saw.   It is in Groveleaze, a mile or so from St Edyth's church where the Snowball training will be based, but closer than several other properties we looked at.

25 August

We accept the revised offer of £105,000.   The Estate Agent says that they checked the impact, and it will not delay exchange of contracts next week in this case.   We are now expecting to exchange by 1 September, and complete on 15 September.

24 August

I look at two more properties, both of which I like, but the garden of one is much too small for football.

The Estate Agent in Guildford says the survey showed major problems with our roof: all the tiles need to be replaced.   Our buyer wants to reduce the price by £5,000 as a result.

Our solicitor in Guildford says we could exchange contracts early next week, but not if the price is going to change.

21 August

We are back from France, and dash down to Bristol to look at three properties.   None of them looks hopeful.   It is hard to decide just how low we need to set our sights in order to find something within a sensible timescale.   Steve says that we can move in to the house he is renting (he will move out for the duration) in order that we can be in Bristol for the start of the school year, which is a real blessing.

I leaflet all the properties in St Edyth's Road (except one!), asking people to contact us if they are thinking of selling and don't already have a buyer.   Have a number of conversations with people, who are very sympathetic and friendly, but nobody knows of any suitable properties.

17 August

The Estate Agent in Bristol knows nothing of any problem, but promises to contact the vendors.   A little later, he calls back.   They have accepted a private offer, £5,000 more than ours.   We have lost a house, and he has lost the commission - after putting in a good deal of work to earn it.   We all feel rather sick.

16 August

While in France, we get a message from our Solicitor in Gloucester: our vendors have pulled out!   We cannot get in touch with anyone to find out more.

11 August

We phone from France: the survey on our house is being done at midday.   The Estate Agent is getting a builder to come round and look at the points which may be raised in the survey report, so we have the answers ready when the questions come, and save some time.

6 August

Spent most of the day on the telephone to everyone.   Our vendors and the rest of the chain are willing to move everything back, and the chain has held up - just.   The new plan is to exchange 23 August and move 27 August.   We can go on holiday to France on 7 August without causing any problems.

2 August

We accept an offer of £110,000 subject to the buyer getting a mortgage offer.   The 'confirmation of finance' is due on 5 August.   Our vendors and the people further up the chain are extremely insecure.

31 July

We have now had two people who have viewed the house, and three or four who have arranged to come round but failed to turn up.   The house is a complete tip with boxes and piles of things everywhere - we were expecting to have moved by now - and it is all very depressing.

26 July

We hear that our buyer cannot get a mortgage, and we have to find another buyer.   Moving on 6 August is looking rather dubious, and our vendors say that the whole chain is threatening to break down.

12 July

There is a delay in our buyer's mortgage offer - 'technical details' according to the Estate Agent.   Moving by the end of July is looking unlikely, so we now plan to exchange on 29 July and complete on 6 August.   It is very tight, but everyone still says it can be done.

10 July

We have the legal documents relating to the purchase at last, but there are at least half a dozen significant errors which we find.   They can be sorted out, but it will involve a small delay.   We might be able to complete before the end of July, but it is looking less likely now.

1 July

Our Solicitor in Gloucester is waiting for information from the vendors' Solicitor.   They say they have not got the deeds yet, so cannot pass the information on.   But they do have a photocopy of the deeds, and that supplies all the information they need at present...

18 June

The legal parts of the purchase are going through now, but there is a delay in getting our mortgage offer because the Halifax did not read our application form properly, and have made an error in the offer letter.

11 June

Our Solicitor in Gloucester has not heard from the Estate Agent yet.   The Estate Agent is waiting for the vendors to tell them who they will use for their Solicitor.

2 June

Made an offer of £115,000 on a house in St Edyth's Road, Bristol, which was accepted.   The vendors are willing to complete by the end of July.   It's all looking rather good.

28 May

Accepted an increased offer of £106,000 for our house.   The buyer wants to complete by the end of July.

27 May

Turn down an offer of £105,000 for our house.

24 May

Our house in Guildford goes on the market at an asking price of £110,000.


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Copyright © 1999 Paul Hazelden.

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