Let down and hanging around

waitingTransport, 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…

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

I also write books
  • Sorry to hear that Amber but I hope you can forget about this whilst you are on holiday and just enjoy your break x

    June 14, 2013
  • Oh Amber, I’m so sorry. I hope that you’re able to rest and relax on holiday, if we lived closer Rubin could have stayed with us for a while. X

    June 14, 2013
  • How stressful. I am sorry that things didn’t turn out the way you’d planned. When we were house hunting we had our hearts set on one house and basically the same thing happened. We put in an offer and waited and waited and waited. In the meantime I decided to keep looking and we found something much better suited for us and cheaper. So although it might not seem like it now, know that something better for you is waiting just around the corner.


    June 14, 2013
  • Oh, I’m so sorry! What a nightmare! Hope when you get back from your holiday you find somebody’s hit the reset button and life gets sorted out. x

    June 14, 2013
  • So sorry to hear this, hon’. What a right bugger this Other has been! I do hope that your USA trip charges your batteries and that things turn out down the track. <3

    June 14, 2013
  • Ugh! That sounds horrible. I have never bought a house before (and it will probably be years before I can, what with student loans and all – thanks U.S. higher education!), but I hope the whole process becomes less stressful for you when you come back! Fingers crossed that you return to find someone has fallen in love with your house and wants to give you a lot of money, and that your dream house comes available in the right price range at the same time.

    June 14, 2013
  • Good grief, that’s awful. It says something (about the situation and your writing skills) that I had to scroll to the bottom to check the outcome. I knew it was likely to be bad but I had to check.

    I hope that you guys are able to just completely enjoy your vacation. Just think, maybe your perfect buyers will come along while you’re in Florida. And in the meantime you are successfully not using the towels in the bathroom! 😉

    June 14, 2013
  • It’s not really my thing to type profanity, but picture me jumping up and down foaming at the mouth and you’ll have the general idea of how I feel. I mean really…what is wrong with these people?!! Your holiday is going to be a well deserved respite from all the nuttiness you’ve been going through.

    I’d happily pop over and dog sit Ruben if I had a wee bit more notice. {Sigh}

    Sue xo

    June 14, 2013
  • Ah, sorry to here about this! It seems mental they would string you along if they knew it wouldn’t go through anyway. Mental and selfish! Just hang in there and try to focus on your holiday!

    Hope everything else that is causing you stress goes away too, and that you find Rubin somewhere to stay! I could look after him but I can barely look after myself, ha.

    Corinne x

    June 14, 2013
    • Aw Amber, I’m so sorry to hear that, it must be soul destroying having that happen, but I’m a firm believer in ‘meant to be’ and I’m sure there’s something better around the corner for you and you’ll probably look back in years to come and say ‘thank god we didn’t buy that house’ x

      June 14, 2013
  • I am so sorry, Amber. I hope your vacation will be as good as you deserve it to be. 🙂

    June 14, 2013
  • Oh no, Amber – I’m so sorry. What a truly horrid and stressful time. I am glad to hear you have a holiday to look forward to; sounds like getting away from it all is definitely a good idea. I hope you can find someone to look after Rubin asap so you can focus on the exciting things about holidays. Like which dresses to take with you. xxx

    June 14, 2013
  • Well, I feel that an end to your days of stress is much better than a failed deal.

    June 17, 2013
  • What an absolute pain in the arse. Not much more to say than that, really! Hope you have some good news soon, goodness knows Karma owes you one by now!

    June 17, 2013