First post so be gentle.... Here's the story:
Wife and I sat in rented at the moment with capital from a previous sale, nothing to sell and mortgage in principle for an LTV which won't exceed 50% so in this market I would have thought we were a good bet as potential buyers. We want to pick up a bargain, have been waiting for a couple of years watching stuff slide down and though I fear prices will drop further we're building 10% into our offers. It's all a gamble at the end of the day but we'd love our own place again so we can get on with life. Rented is fine but having a mortgage would be a lot cheaper pcm.
A couple of weeks ago we looked at a number of properties and finally had a shortlist. We offered and bartered on the first choice and secured it for a good price a way from the asking price and the property had already been reduced (it's been on the market for over a year). The EA said the seller "had a place lined up" as a previous chain had fallen through earlier this year and this house the seller was after was end of chain. All good as the thought of a large chain (given that stats show 30% of them are collapsing) is not what we want at all, especially as the sector we are in (4 bed detached) is oversupplied with properties and a lot are end of chain.
So we offered and secured (or so we thought) the property. We were told that the seller was now going to make an offer on the property they had earmarked (assumed this was the one they'd had accepted before in the previous chain). However, as we had offered lower than the (recently reduced) asking price the seller had their revised offer rejected. They subsequently found (after a week so no real delay here) a cheaper property and have had their offer accepted.
Here lies the problem.
That new property is not end of chain. The owners say they are now going to look at properties and will "go into rented if need be". However, the EA is now demanding that we start conveyancing. They will not mark the property to show we've had an offer accepted on as "under Offer" or "Sold STC" until we instruct a solicitor. We don't want to instruct (we have one lined up) as we don't want to spend close to a grand on surveys, searches and mortgage app fees (let alone start the clock ticking on mortgage applications) while the chain has no clear end. The EA won't even write to us saying the offer was accepted! It's all verbal only. All we want is a clear end to the chain, then we all kick off conveyancing and if something happens down the line to the chain then that is that, these things can happen - we are fully aware of that - , but at the moment there's IMHO unacceptable financial risk. I don't want to commit £ to this property only to find the chain goes on, up and up for months without a clear end.
We have noticed (with the aid of the wonderful Property Bee) a load of properties "Sold STC" that have been "in stasis" for months. This scares the hell out of us!
We are the ones starting this whole chain off so we should be in the driving seat right? We offered based on the fact the vendor had a place that was end of chain lined up so it would be a quick two house conveyance - that's clearly not the case now.
The EA has been difficult from the second viewing where 10mins in she said "Oh I have another viewing here in 20 mins" and was generally non-plussed about our interest in the property, it was surreal, almost an "anti-sale".. There is a building conversion that had no docs and a fag packet quote (literally just a figure) from a builder on some work that still needs doing. The EA has had this property for over 12 months yet knew very little at all about the building work and it's sign off/permissons. We obviously queried this and it's been like pulling teeth to get to the bottom of whether it needed planning or not. We've finally got some paperwork but there's still a risk involved which we are happy to take for the price. Given all this the attitude of the EA has been quite condescending and totally unlike all the other EAs we've ever dealt with. It's almost like they don't want us to buy it.....
We're now at an impasse. We will not start to spend money until this chain is complete, the EA is now threatening to remarket the property (however nobody has bought it in 12 months so....). They just won't mark this Under Offer even until we "commit" by instructing a solicitor. Of course once we're £1k into fees they'lll have what they think is a safe bet and if it takes months to complete then..... you see the problem?
We will of course be fully committed once we can see a projected end to this chain. We never ever intended (or ever wanted) to be at the bottom of a long chain and in our position and with other interesting properties out there reducing all the time we're happy to wait a few weeks to see what happens but would have to pull out if it's clear that the chain isn't going to 'complete' within a reasonable amount of time.
Unreasonable? or are we just managing our financial exposure to what could be a very long wait, this is supposed to be a buyers market after all...