This is the second post on finding our dream home journey during the pandemic! If you have just joined us on this journey, don’t forget to read how we sold our house last year and what followed next . In this post I will discuss in detail the time line and how things progressed following our offer*. No need to scroll down, OUR OFFER GOT ACCEPTED!!!! Things of course didn’t go smoothly and nothing was straightforward so I have set out a timeline on the whole process* and the hurdles we had to overcome along the way.
*Please note the process of buying and selling a property is slightly different in the UK and the Isle of Man.
We put our offer in the same day as our viewing as we didn’t want to miss out on our dream home. We literally discussed things in the car just outside the house and agreed I would contact the estate agent with our offer. I didn’t want to appear too eager so waited till the afternoon, but our offer was officially in!! We were good buyers, we had sold our house already in December so there was no chain, we had money in the bank and we were ready to tackle all the issues (even asbestos!). To make sure our offer was accepted, we were happy to deal with any issues to make seller’s life easier (any furniture, items, clear-out, overgrown garden, tree issue with the neighbour etc.). It was now time to wait…
Our estate agent did tell us that may people dropped out as they thought that house needed too much work and as soon as the word “asbestos” was mentioned, they run a mile. We didn’t ! Buyers dropped one by one once they viewed the house (not sure if its a good thing.. hmm)
To cut a long story short, our offer got accepted! YAY!!
We had a meeting with the bank even before we found the house to see how much we could borrow etc. As our offer got accepted, we met with the bank again and went through the whole process of applying for a mortgage, which eventually got approved on the terms we wanted. NOTE to anyone who is applying for a mortgage. Speak to your mortgage provider/financial adviser and come to an agreement that you are both happy with. Our initial mortgage offer was rejected on the terms we requested, because computer said “no”. However, in the end we managed to get the bank to agree on the terms we wanted as we proved we could afford the payments and by doing this we knocked off 4 years from the offer they were going to give us. I cannot stress this enough, but make sure you have done your research and only sign up for an offer you are truly happy with!
Pandemic also went slightly against us when it came to the whole mortgage process, as Shaun couldn’t work during the lockdowns and was receiving MERA payments (which is similar to furlough scheme in the UK). This meant that the payments were minimal and far from his normal wage. This had an effect on the bank calculating our income and we had to wait until Shaun was back at work and receiving his usual wage as MERA payments didn’t count toward the calculations!
We instructed our advocates for the purchase to do the conveyancing and arranged for the searches to be carried out as we were waiting for the survey to come back from the bank. As the lockdown had just finished in the Isle of Man, banks were struggling with the backlog of surveys, this meant that the survey took a little longer than usual.
As expected the bank survey came back with various issues and the valuation (in the current state of the house) was £10,000 lower than our offer. The bank also wanted further expert surveys done – damp and timber, electrical and building/roofer to come in and provide a detailed issues and costs survey, which meant more cost for us! We arranged these pretty swiftly and were provided with an overall estimate of £17,000+ for the initial matters to be rectified. The good news was there was no rising damp, the bad news was there was definitely woodworm and the house needed a full electrical rewire (which we had suspected).
It wasn’t all bad news in the end as we used the surveys as a bargaining chip and managed to get the vendors to reduce the price by further £12,000. This meant that both, the bank and we were happy with the new price!
All systems go! Our advocate was waiting for the title documents, requisitions on title and plans. As we didn’t hear anything from the vendor’s advocates we knew there was some kind of issue.
As it turned out, the house was in the same family for a very long time and has never been registered with the Land Registry which in itself isn’t an issue. Following inspection of the title documents it appeared the the house was still in the name of the vendor’s late husband who sadly passed away in 2004. This meant that the vendor wasn’t actually able to sell the house until the property was transferred into her name. This was not a major issue but meant we would be delayed by a few weeks as the vendor had to apply for a grant of probate to enable them to legally sell the house.
4 weeks had gone by and we were still waiting, finally the application was made in the beginning of July and having received report on the property, together with mortgage documents, checking the deeds and the contract we were ready to go as soon as the Probate was issued…
I kept checking the Probate Office website daily waiting for the probate to be issued. It was finally granted at the end of July. Unfortunately, both Shaun and I got tested positive for Covid two days before.. You could not make this up. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to go to the bank to transfer the deposit and sign the paperwork and complete for 2 weeks whilst we were in isolation. Thankfully, I spoke to our advocate and transferred the deposit in three separate transfers (due to the daily limit on my account!)
Completion date was FINALLY agreed as being (lucky) Friday the 13th August! We were getting our dream home this month!!! The deposit, legal and registration fees were transferred, mortgage drawdown ready, documentation signed and we were ready to finally complete and get our keys on Friday! Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and our new adventure can begin.
We cannot wait to start the renovations and turning “the House with the Yellow Door” our dream home.