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In desparate need of advice

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  • In desparate need of advice

    I was not sure which board to post this on, but myself and my husband are at the end of our tether regarding our house move. No doubt the forum moderators have heard this tune before.

    We had made the decision in June to take our house off the market, because it had been for sale 2 years and we had no reasonable offers. We began to look at doing home improvements, when one of the very last people who viewed the property made an offer for the full price. The only condition was that we had to move out the property quickly.

    Although at this stage we had no property in mind, we felt that their condition could be met in a 8-10 week period. The offer came just as we were about to take a weeks holiday, and on our return we viewed intensely and found a property, and made our offer the second week in July. We stressed to the people who we were buying from that we wanted to move as soon as possible and were looking at the end of August.

    The first problem arose with the solicitors that were recommend by the Halifax. After a week of trying to get buying and selling proceedings initiated they said they could not find our details on their system. After a number of calls we had to change because we were worried about getting the tractions done in time.

    We changed to a local solicitor, and week after week from mid July, we were called in to the offices to attend to queries that our buyers solicitors were asking. There was this pattern that the buyers solicitor would just ask a couple of questions and our solicitor would not phone us but sent us a letter to discuss the question. We started to get anxious that the August moving deadline would not be met. When we were called into our solicitor's office we asked on a couple of occasions how our purchase was proceeding. We were told the people we were purchasing from were providing the details needed. We were given no reason to believe there were any problems and in fact on the 17th August our solicitor intimated that the signing of contracts should be occurring soon.

    20th August we have a call from our vendor's estate agents to say that they had pulled out of their property purchase, because they were not happy with the leasehold conditions on the property. They had put another bid on another property. This meant the August deadline would not take place, but we then insisted that if they still wanted to sell to us, we need to be in by the 4th September. We had no progress reports for the next couple of days, then on Monday 24th we were told that they had started renegotiating about the leasehold condition.

    While all this has been going on, we have had our buyers contact us to discuss matters. I have been made redundant, but we calculated that we could still do the move. As moving is very stressful to some people my Husband has been on medication since June, and has now this week had to have further medication, to cope with what is happening. We have put a deadline on our Vendor's today to sort their problem out once and for all. We can no longer bear the strain this is putting us under. I know this means we will lose out but we want our sanity back.

    My husband and I feel that we have been let down atrociously, by the attitude of not just the estate agents but by our own solicitors and conveyancing solicitors in general. Today also we got yet another letter from our solicitor saying he would be away until the 1st September. This was not mentioned at all in our crisis conversation on the 20th August.

    I am well aware that solicitor fees, will need to be met even though the move at this point seem certainly off. Is there any official body, I can complain to about the whole affair. Considering that estate agents and solicitors want to improve their sales figures. It appears they are totally ignorant of the need to be more considerate and more humanistic to the clients they appear to be serving.

    Any advice will be gratefully be welcomed.

  • #2
    I am very sorry to hear that you have been let down by the system and by your solicitor in particular - as you say, some solicitors do not seem to care what reputation they get!

    As far as complaining about the level of service is concerned, you should first use the solicitor's own complaints procedure - they must give you details on request. If that does not satisfy you, you can escalate the complaint to the Legal Complaints Service: LCS: Legal Complaints Service home

    However, if it not already too late, you may be able to save your sale by moving into rented accommodation, and buying as a separate process from selling. It puts you in a much better bargaining position and reduces the stress enormously!

    Also, when instructing a solicitor, remember that he/she is working for you, not the other way around! Tell them how you want to be contacted (phone, email, SMS, etc); even if something has to be in writing, a phone call or SMS saying a letter is going to be posted to you enables you to call in and collect it instead if you want - then you can deal with it overnight and reply by hand the following morning! Also, it should be very easy for your solicitor to copy letters, etc, to you by email so that you can email or phone replies - this is what we do routinely

    I hope this helps. And remember - not all solicitors are the same! ;-)
    This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum


    • #3
      Thanks for the advice you have detailed JustinN. We have now switched to moving into another property, which was a second choice. But in the long run a better prospect than the first. You mention going into rented accommodation to relieve some of the pressures, but this would mean double removal costs. And if you are a pet owner, it is very very difficult to find landlords who allow pets on their premises.

      Nevertheless your information I have found most useful and welcoming.