In this series I will be detailing the personal experience of trying to buy & sell property throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 weeks ago I shared disappointing news on my Instagram I had received a week prior.
My husband and I were in the process of selling our flat and buying a new family home with a garden in acknowledgement of our son turning 1 and the need to size up.
This all fell through 1 day before exchange was due and 2 weeks before completion was due.
Many had questions, many were scared, many didn’t want this to happen to them, so here we are.
Enjoy the 4 part series.
In March 2020 we put our property on the market. A week later the country was placed in a lockdown due to the rapid spread and threat of the COVID-19 virus.
This was not a great start to a journey we thought would be quite simple given my background and the fact that we’ve bought a property before with ease.
Everything was bought to a dramatic holt. No movement.
Things began to ease and we started to house hunt and made Offers on 2 properties – these were accepted. Now we just needed to find a buyer for our flat. Fast forward a few weeks – we lost house 1 because we took too long. With the seller being on haste, she sold the house to a chain free first time buyer for a lesser amount.
The second house was still in the works and both the agent and seller were patient with us.
In July 2020 the Chancellor announced the stamp duty holiday. This was great news for us. This stamp duty holiday meant that our expenses were to be bought right down. We then understood that we had more money to play with. It was a matter of, do we look for bigger houses? Or continue with what we had been looking at, presenting more deposit bringing our mortgage down/doing a more luxurious Reno job.
At this point we’ve had around 5 viewings. No serious offers and everyone commenting on our slightly dated kitchen.
Aware of the stamp duty holiday potentially coming to an end in March 2021, we started to house hunt in September 2020 with the hope to exchange contracts and complete on our Sale/Purchase around December 2020 – January 2021
The second house we had made an offer on in May had been sold at this point due to our lack of a buyer. We were okay with this as we wasn’t too keen on all of the works the electrics needed. The house was a detached Edwardian home and needed a full rewiring (alarm bells).
Later this month we had a buyer! We began to give up hope until this lovely man came for a viewing with his business partner, shook hands with my husband and determined a gentleman’s contract had been made.
We began to scramble because we no longer had a house we wanted. We immediately started to view properties, short list and then we found the one!
It was beautiful, had a drive, garage and a newly fitted modern wood burning fireplace.
We made an offer, it was accepted and the rush was on!
Days later our solicitors couldn’t get hold of our buyer and he advised that he was no longer looking for an investment flat as he had previously only dealt with houses due to leases bla bla bla.
This was very disheartening and meant that we were now causing delays for the house we were buying.
The agent that was orchestrating our purchase of the house was great and quickly helped us find suitable buyers. We had viewings after viewings and eventually accepted an offer with the condition that things had to proceed quite quickly.
Searches had been paid for. Leasehold paperwork had been paid for. The solicitors we’re going through the motions and satisfying as much as they could.
Everyone in the chain was getting itchy feet. Things were dragging and our buyers were taking their sweet time. Eventually they got their mortgage sorted, searches back and we all awaited exchange/completion dates. Given the festive season, we knew this wouldn’t take place until the New Year
COVID-19 was lurking. Some in the chain became victims and there were layers knocked off of the upper chain – this meant that it went from 6 parts to 4 parts.
It was understood by all parties that completion had to take place 2 weeks after the exchange of contracts due to the top of the chain’s situation.
14th January – the day before the anticipated exchange of contracts. We receive a call from the agent letting us know that unfortunately the sellers of the house we were hoping to buy are no longer proceeding for personal reasons. Everything fell apart.
What is the Stamp Duty Holiday?
On 8 July 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a temporary stamp duty holiday that cut the rate of stamp duty to zero per cent for all properties £500,000 or under until 31 March 2021.
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp duty is the tax governments place on legal documents, usually in the transfer of assets or property. … These taxes were called stamp duties because a physical stamp was used on the document as proof that the document had been recorded and the tax liability paid.
What is a Chain?
A chain is a series of linked house purchases which are mutually dependent for a successful outcome. Your chain consists of the person you’re selling a home to, and the person you’re buying from.
Join me next Monday for post 2 of 4.
There will be a New Post every Monday of February 2021
8th February 2021 – “The evil chain that stole my dream home – House hunting in a pandemic”
15th February 2021 – “The evil chain that stole my dream home – No chain, no pain. New builds”
22nd February 2021 – “The evil chain that stole my dream home – Recovery. What’s next?”