Let down and hanging around
Transport, motorways and tramlines / Starting and then stopping /Taking off and landing / The emptiest of feelings /Disappointed people clinging on to bottles / And when it comes it’s so so disappointing… [Radiohead, ‘Let Down’]
Last Wednesday we got an offer on our house.
It wasn’t a great offer, to be honest, but we did the maths and worked out that it was possibly enough to allow us to offer on the house we’d set our hearts on, so we crossed all of our fingers, toes and paws, and Terry called the seller to make a verbal offer.
Well, we waited, and we waited, and finally we got The Call. The seller would accept our offer, he said: all we had to do was put it in writing the next day, and he would instruct his lawyers to accept. We were overjoyed, except… not really. Really, we were dubious. We LOVED the house – we’d loved it from the first moment we saw it – but there were a few things about the deal which made us suspect things might not run smoothly, so we kept the champagne chilling in the fridge and tried not to get too excited.
The seller was absolutely insistent that everything would be fine, though, so we took him at his word and the next morning we called our lawyer and the bank to get the paperwork started on the mortgage and the official offer. We didn’t start celebrating, though, and it’s a really good job we didn’t, because up until 3pm yesterday – 8 days after our verbal offer was accepted, and a full week after the written offer had been submitted – we were still waiting for the seller to respond to our written offer.
Folks, it was one of the most frustrating and stressful weeks we’ve ever had to endure, made worse by the fact that we also had a few other Really Bad Things go down at the same time (I promise I’m not being deliberately vague here, they’re just Bad Things that don’t really belong on the internets…), so maximum stress levels were engaged, basically. Although the seller hadn’t accepted our written offer, he was in frequent contact with us, and was constantly assuring us that everything was fine, and that he would DEFINITELY be accepting. Meanwhile, our buyer had requested a super-fast move-in date, so we also had to start thinking about packing up, and making all of the other arrangements that needed to be made to allow us to move ASAP. (At one point the moving date we were working to was just a week after we’re due to get back from vacation, which would’ve given us less than three weeks to pack up the house, and make all of the other arrangements for moving our life.)
We still didn’t get excited. Every day, the seller assured us we’d have written acceptance of our offer tomorrow. And every tomorrow, the written acceptance didn’t come, and instead we got more empty promises, and more assurances that it would be the next day, the next day, the next day.
It was horrendously stressful. We were trying to deal with our seller, prepare for our trip, run our business, oh, and get ready to move house in just a few short weeks. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say that I’ve had so little sleep over the past week that I’m now at the point where I actually feel jet-lagged. I mean, who even AM I? Why am I here? Where’d all these shoes come from?
Every night we’d go to bed and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that the situation couldn’t POSSIBLY go on for much longer. “The offer will be accepted tomorrow,” we’d say, and then, as time wore on, “The offer will be rejected tomorrow, and then at least we’ll be able to put all of this out of our minds.” By the time we got to the weekend, and we were still no further forward than we’d been on Wednesday night, even that had started to seem preferable to me to the idea of the suspense dragging on any longer, but drag on it did. For eight whole days. Eight days of waiting, hoping, wondering, speculating, planning, worrying. Eight days of having our hopes repeatedly raised, then dashed. Eight days of opening up that folder on my laptop and going through the photos we’d taken on our second viewing of the house, imagining what it would be like to live in it, to own it, to know it was ours. It was a long eight days, let’s put it that way.
By yesterday morning, we knew we’d basically reached the end of the road. Well, to be honest, I’D reached the end of the road a long time before that. I was sitting there in the sun, just waiting for Terry to catch up with me, but he’s far more patient than I am, and luckily, so were our prospective buyers, who’d given us until the end of the week to get back to them. Because their offer was lower than we’d really wanted to sell for, we knew we wouldn’t be able to accept it unless we had somewhere to move to: we would’ve made just enough to buy the house we wanted, at the lower price we’d agreed, but it probably wouldn’t have been enough to allow us to buy a different house, or to rent indefinitely while we searched for something, so we knew that unless our offer was accepted, we wouldn’t be able to sell. GOD.
It took until yesterday afternoon for us to finally get our answer. Up until then, the seller had been constantly reassuring us that everything was absolutely fine, but we’d started to notice numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in his stories, many of which turned out to be outright lies. So we knew what was coming, basically. In fact, I was so sure of what was coming that at 3pm yesterday afternoon, I opened up my photos folder and deleted the one containing all of the images of my beautiful would-have-been house. Then I cleared the recycle bin. Twenty minutes later, Terry finally got a hold of our seller, who told us that the deal was off: and, actually, could never have gone ahead anyway, despite all of his previous assurances otherwise.
Although we knew it was coming, we were still gutted, obviously. This is now the second time in this whole house selling/buying fiasco that this has happened, with someone choosing to string us along for days on end, only to let us down at the very last minute, which begs the question: WHY US? Why do WE get all of the crazy Others to deal with? I mean, I know buying and selling property is NEVER what you’d call “easy”, really, but at the very least, we’d hoped that people wouldn’t actively LIE to us, you know?
So, basically we’re right back where we started, only this time without a house we want to buy, and while, once again, we know there will be other houses, we’d invested so much emotional energy in this one, that we’d come to think of it as “ours” – particularly during those 8 days when it ALMOST was. It was one thing to miss out the first time, because we were unable to offer on it, but it’s a whole different thing to actually have an offer accepted, and then to fall through, and to lose the same house TWICE. (I mean, once would be a mistake, but…) Having said that, though, the worst part of this week wasn’t the loss of the house: it was the constant raising and dashing of hopes, the endless waiting, and the knowledge at the end of it that it was a week during which we COULD have been offering on other properties, if our seller hadn’t decided to keep us dangling for such a long time.
On the plus side, we have our vacation to look forward to next week, and although that has been somewhat eclipsed by everything that’s been going on (I haven’t even started to think about it, to be honest, and our dog-care arrangements for the first few days have unfortunately fallen through too, so we’re still trying to sort out something for Rubin, and worrying obsessively about it…) we’re hoping it will give us a chance to recharge, take our minds off things for a while, and then come back ready to press the reset button and start all over again, as depressing as that thought currently is.
And hopefully the next house we find won’t be owned by Others…