All I seem to do is moan these days but when faced with nothing but stupidity, con artists, bad customer service, then every day becomes a trudge. I try and smile and maintain my sanity I really do, but you simply could not make this up.
All we wanted to do was to sell a house, get it valued by an expert and put it on the market, how difficult could that be, really. OK so it’s a big bloody house with a lot of bedrooms and bathrooms and, well, rooms really, tons of em!! So you call in an expert that deals in big houses, and boy do big house sellers charge big prices. Anyway we go on the market with a lovely colour brochure that we have to cough up a couple of grand for and we wait, and we wait and wait.
We wait for five sodding years, with every excuse as to why it is not selling, the election, inflation, the weather, school holidays, Brexit….. and while we wait and the excuses pile up we reduce the price the same price that expert told us would be a price to attract buyers but it didn’t. We attract day trippers and dreamers along with a Chinese investor, an Iranian princess, a celebrity chef, and we had some offers along the way. We arrived at the point of exchange of contracts no less than three times, I kid you not. Each time we thought that’s it we’ve sold yippeeeeee !! we had counter offers such as, ‘we’ll give you half the money now and the balance in four years secured or unsecured’, yes that happened to us twice can you believe.
We are not interested in bloody deals we just want to sell the house. Now it is at this point that I have to inform you, the reader that living in a house with almost 11,000 sq ft of space is sometimes not practical, especially when there are only two of you. So a few years back we decided that we should run part of the house and grounds as a wedding venue and offer some corporate facilities. We applied for all the planning and spent over two years getting things in order. For example fire exits, smoke detectors, disabled loos, fire retardant, new fire doors, non slip mats, low headroom signs, protecting baby maple trees, bat surveys, owl surveys, great crested newt surveys, health hygiene assessments, food and beverage assessments……… Well you get the idea don’t you, we live in a country that makes it as difficult as humanly possible to start, let alone run a business, we have so many men with clip boards nowadays that we run the risk of halting new enterprise but that is another story. I just hate bureaucracy, red tape, stupidity and generally being treated like a complete moron, oh and by the way whilst we had great crested newts we did not have bats or owls, I did tell the inspector that but he insisted sitting in our stables all night to double check and billed us £2,000 only to tell us we didn’t have bats or owls, bites curled index finger !!!!!!!! ggggrrrrrrrrrr
So eventually we get all planning in place and off we went for a few years. Then when we decided to sell we closed the business and put the house on the market as residential but thought (stupidly it seems) that just in case someone would want to run a business again we would maintain all the paperwork and the licenses, just to be on the safe side, and yes that was in 2013 so five years ago.
Finally having reduced the price as advised by the expert that told us we would have no problems selling at £2.8m to a staggering £1.75m as advised by the same bloody expert and I shall not name the expert for legal reasons although a certain little ‘Row’ in central London famous for it’s tailoring expertise, shares a similar sounding name to them. Anyway I digress, we finally get the offer way back in December 2017 and we are set. The buyer organises her survey and has her designers and architects down a few times and things are finally starting to look hunky dory…. her plans include some conversion work on the stables and eventually she wants to run a health spa from the house, sounds good to us. Good job we kept the necessary plans and licenses in place eh !! phew !!
Our buyer has a huge building to sell in Chelsea but in the meantime will take a bridge loan to finance the deal so once the survey (no problems, phew again) is completed the searches commence, gosh these things take months. That was when we hit a bit of a wall. It seems that whilst we ran a business from the house but we also resided at the house and we paid the local council mixed business and residential taxes, the search only showed the property as commercial. A bit of an error either on our part or indeed the councils but hey it’s just administrative right? can’t cause any problems this far down the line can it? And this is where the ‘stupid’ really starts.
When the buyers lender explained to her that he can only loan the funds against the property, and based on the survey that would not be a problem, but as the search has come back showing the property as commercial, well he can’t lend against a business. So what is needed is a mixed use, this would mean the lender could loan against the property and the buyer could, if she wanted to, resurrect the business element without having to jump through years of planning applications.
A simple phone call to the council planning office should do it. WRONG!!! it was never going to be that simple was it. This is England, a country that manufactures nothing but creates red tape for red tapes sake and to keep pen pushers in jobs….. ‘You will have to apply for planning permission, and you will have to provide proof that you have been living there for the past fifteen years and that you have been running a business alongside it being residential, we will need to see receipts and full proof’
Hang on a minute, we have been paying you, the council, mixed taxes for all fifteen years, you know that we have lived there and run it as a business because that is what we have been paying you, the council for!!! isn’t that proof enough? apparently not. But you the council are also one of our corporate clients you use one of the reception rooms for council meetings isn’t that proof that you have witnessed that we also live there, I mean you’ve even met the sodding cat !!!!! NO IT IS NOT ENOUGH……
After searching the internet and reading legal advice pages because solicitors want £150 an hour just to talk to you, I find out that what we actually need is something called a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’ what a pile of bloody crap. I have to fill in the application form, order drawings from Land Registry, outline specific areas in red and in blue, submit receipts for things like installing a kitchen, electricity bills, and even council tax bills for fifteen bloody years proving to the bloody council that we have been paying mixed tax use to them along with…….yes you guessed it…….a cheque for £650 !!!! well someone has to pay for these idiots.
Then we are informed that although it is a rubber stamping procedure and it won’t have to go before the planning committee, it can’t be rubber stamped until the next planning meeting which is in six weeks time. Oh come on, please, just stamp the bloody thing now so that we can sell the house, no, they have to follow procedure.
The 6th June, just two days ago, was planning day and we waited six weeks for this to happen. Finally we called planning and were told that yes it will be approved but in order to get it on record we must provide an Affidavit. I know, what the F… Why didn’t you tell us this six weeks ago, why wouldn’t you do that….. I then get the old chestnut “I will put the phone down if you continue to be aggressive or abusive” I bloody hate that, I am not being aggressive I am being assertive and I am not being abusive because believe me if I were you would most definitely know it!!
So a ‘written sworn statement of fact’ and we have to go to a solicitor to get the job done by yet another bloody jobsworth. I start calling round and I found the cheapest one prepared to do this quickly for us at a cost of £432 for two hours work even though we have to pay Land Registry again for all documents on top and provide yet again everything that we have already provided to the council planners. Of course the solicitor will do the paperwork for us as soon as we have paid up front by transfer into his ‘client account’ cheating bloody profession, I honestly wish I had trained as a pen pushing waste of space there’s money in it for sure.
Then just as I am about to send the money, I get a frantic phone call from him that I own the house with saying ‘STOP don’t do it’ seems that he had just come off the phone with the boss of planning, someone that he knows, somehow or other, anyway she says, we don’t need that at all……. yes we need an affidavit (what a stupid word) but we can download and print one, fill it in, take it to a solicitor and just get him to witness you signing it…… she says, we already have all the proof you don’t need to send it again, it was just a new recruit in planning being a little over zealous……… really, over zealous was he, told me he was going to put the phone down on me if I continued to be aggressive, I was this close to sending £432 to a bloody solicitor because of you, you twat !! and all you cared about was my attitudinal tone !!!!
Contacted another solicitor and we are going today to sign the downloaded free from the internet affidavit form and the signing fee……. just £5.00. Can you believe it… The things we are put through in society today is enough to give everyone heart attacks, oh wait a minute, oh yes !!!!!
Now of course we have to see if the buyer will proceed with the purchase or of course whether we have just wasted more weeks, more stress only to be hood winked again, and if the expert tells us to reduce again I swear I will go completely mad. In the meantime if anyone wants to buy a huge house do let me know it’s a bargain !!