As I mentioned on Friday, we were waiting for a formal offer to be made on our house.
It was supposed to be made at around 4pm so I made sure my diary was free for the latter part of Friday afternoon.
At 4pm – nothing! Diddly-squat, so I waited, checking through my e-mails, conscious of the fact that I needed to pick junior up from nursery before 5:30.
Then, at about 4:20pm, we got the call.
The chap from Halifax estates pipes up with something on the lines of ‘well, we have an offer and its a little lower then we were expecting’.
My stomach sunk to the floor when he confirms that the offer will be £12,000 under the asking price.
Prior to taking today’s call, myself and the missus had agreed the minimum we would accept, in fact we’d agreed and stuck to this figure from the day we were awarded our Visa’s and it’s formed a pretty key part of our ‘plan’ I.e. If we don’t get this much for the house we don’t move.
With this key point in mind, the declined the offer.
The chap from the Halifax remained upbeat saying he thought it was just a ‘shot across the bow’ to test the water. He also asked what the minimum figure we would accept for the property, which I told him.
I also give him an idea of what kind of figure we would accept. Most importantly I told him not to disclose any of these figures to the buyer.
He confirmed that he would go back to the buyer and advise we were looking for something nearer the asking price and happy with this, he went on his merry way.
It was about 4:25pm by this point; I hung around for another 25 minutes without another update. At 4:50pm I tried to call the branch.
Ring ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring, ring ring, ring ring…no answer (very often the case with this branch).
So, off to pick junior up from nursery, 5:20 still no updates so back on the phone again…
Ring ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring, ring ring, ring ring, ring…you get the idea….
The buggers had gone home for the night and I was livid.
To me this is basic customer service. I couldn’t believe that they had decided to go home for the night without giving us a formal update. Even if the update was that there was no update, this would be better then nothing.
What was the buyers reaction to our decline? Were they going to make another offer? Had they decided it was out of their price range?
Who knows, we didn’t and after over 24 hours of emotion and anticipation there was nothing we could do until the branch opened on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning came. One of our son’s nursery chums had a birthday party at one of these wacky warehouse type places so we were all out of the door on the way to ‘Geronimos’ at about 9:45am
Shoes off and away he went with all of his little buddies. Time for a cuppa and a call back into the Halifax.
The chap who I had spoken to the previous night was on the phone but thankfully became available just a few seconds after his colleague answered our call.
He came on the phone.. So what’s happened?
‘Hello sir, well we tried to call the buyer to advise that her initial offer had been declined but were unable to get in contact with her. We’ll be giving her a call later today’.
Phew! OK, the service was still crap (he could have phoned me on Friday night to let me know this) but not being able to contact the buyer was a reasonable enough reason for things not to have progressed at the kind of pace that we wanted to on Friday night. At least the buyer hadn’t been scared off!
Another plus point was the Halifax chap also confirmed that the buyer had referred to her initial offer as being a ‘provisional offer’ which indicated she might have a little more cash to come.
Relatively content with the update, I let the Halifax chap go on his way and I updated the missus.
Time went on, the kids played (I never knew a three year old could sweat so much) and hotdogs/chicken nuggets were eaten.
Back home for Saturday brunch (Sausage sarnies) and back to the waiting game.
Then, at 2:28pm on Saturday the 29th of July we got the call. It was a revised offer! More importantly it was at the bottom of the range that we’ve always said we’d accept!
Now lets just take a few seconds out here. When we planned to sell the house we always had the original asking price at one end of our scale and the lowest price we’d accept if desperate at the other.
Between these two prices would be multiple reductions over a period of weeks to enable those who had shown an interest but couldn’t afford the full asking price to have renewed interest at a slightly lower price.
Only if we were still here at Christmas would we make the final reduction to the lowest possible price we’d accept.
Since putting this faultless plan into action, we’d noticed that the housing market wasn’t as buoyant as we’d expected. Offers that had been made previously were massively under the minimum we’d ever consider selling for.
So here we were, still with a house being advertised at the same price it was advertised for on day one. With a house that hadn’t been re-advertised at one of our incremental reductions.
Here we were at the end of July with an offer we originally said we would only consider if we were still here at Christmas.
What did we do? We bloody bit their hand off, that’s what!
At the end of the day, if we were selling our house for millions then the difference in the top of our range and the bottom could be into the tens of thousands.
With our little home the difference in the top and bottom of the range was into the thousands and we’ve had enough hanging around now. The buyer was also a first time buyer (with a lot of financial assistance from her folks) so no chain = more control over when we need to vacate.
So we accepted their offer with a smile and toasted our new buyers with a glass of champers that very night.
There are still a few more hurdles that we need to get over before we can fully relax. The buyer needs to get a mortgage sorted and then we need to exchange contracts.
Once contracts are exchanged then we can fully relax and I can hand my notice in at work.
Oh yes. I’m sure the Halifax disclosed to the buyer the minimum figure we’d accept just so they could get the sale. Nothing to prove this but just a thought!
Anyway, mustn’t dwell on this. Things are finally starting to happen again so bring it on.