Paul & Sue Hazelden
- House Move -
May to November 1999
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(Mostly typed by Paul)
Progress on the move is recorded below in reverse chronological
order (the most recent information first) so you can keep up to
date by reading from the top... I think this is the easiest
The pink caravan - the Europe Now office - moved from 168 to
Abbeywood today. It is sitting on the
patio. I am told it was quite a monumental
struggle to get the thing up our steep drive, but as today was a
Thursday I was working for the eXchange in Gloucester and missed
all the fun.
Paul's parents come down to visit for a few days.
We have been solidly clearing and sorting, emptying boxes and
putting things away for weeks now, and it still seems like we
have boxes everywhere. And we still have to move the
computers, lots of books and other assorted items from 168.
The other half of the store was cleared today, so we no longer
have that additional expense. And once our items
were all moved in, Steve Poulard and his parents started moving
in all his stuff from the big van they had driven
down. The house looks a lot fuller than it did
yesterday. Boxes everywhere, and we can't work out
how to organise the kitchen...
About half the items in store were moved. So we
need to do lots of unpacking boxes and sorting before the second
half is moved.
We have just heard that the first house we looked at in Bristol
(which is now owned by our new Housegroup Leaders) is quite a
mess under the floorboards and behind the pannels on some walls,
and causing the new owners much more work than they anticipated,
... the house in St Edyth's Road - the one where we were
gazumped - has wet rot downstairs. Major
problems. The new owners have not moved in
yet. It did not seem so at the time, but God
certainly knew what He was doing when He stopped us buying
it! And we must confess to a certain quiet satisfied
feeling that poetic justice has been done, after all.
We have cleaned Abbeywood, with some help from the Snowball
students, and Sue has booked a couple of men with a van to shift
stuff from storage tomorrow. We don't know how much
they will manage, or how long it will take to move everything
out of storage and the rest of Steve's and our bits from the
Abbeywood is ours at last. Again, today, it was
quite late in the afternoon that we received confirmation that
the purchase was complete and we could
collect the keys. It seems that packing took the
previous owners more time than they had expected. It
hardly seems possible after all this time.
We have exchanged contracts! We complete on the
purchase of Abbeywood on Monday 8 November. The
money went off to the solicitor in time, after all, but it
seemed the effort had been wasted: there was still some hold-up
at the other end. But we heard around 4:30 in the
afternoon that the final piece had fallen into place.
It has suddenly become urgent. Next Monday is
really the target! We need to get the money organised
in a hurry. I arrange for a CHAPS payment to go to
the solicitor on Friday, but Tesco can't promise the money will be
in the account before the end of the day on Friday, which would
mean everything needs to happen Monday morning.
It appears our vendors have received the formal mortgage offer,
but there is some other minor detail which prevents them from
exchanging contracts. The estate agents say there is
'nothing to worry about' and we can still complete next Monday,
but our solicitor says their solicitor is showing no sign of any
We have a letter from the neighbour confirming the position of
the boundary. The solicitor says this could still be
the subject of a dispute, and is asking the Land Registry to
note the boundary when they update the title. But
our vendors still cannot exchange.
The Land Registry agree with us: the boundary is wrong on their
plans, and the plans for next door show the boundary away from
Abbeywood. We still don't know where the boundary
is, but this is enough progress to go ahead.
Unfortunately, there is a 'minor delay' in getting the formal
mortgage offer to our vendors. It's just a
technicality and 'nothing to worry about'. Except
that this is what we were told about our first failed sale in
Guildford. The offer should come through any day
now, so we hope to exchange by the end of this week and complete
on Monday 8 November.
Another pile of papers from the solicitor through the door
yesterday. The boundary question is not sorted out
yet - clarification is being sought from Land
Registry. No estimate of how long this will
The estate agent says our vendors are only waiting for their
mortgage offer in writing, which should arrive by the end of
this week or early next week. So it is possible we
might exchange contracts on Wednesday 27 October, and move on
Friday 5 November.
Several phone calls to the estate agent, but no information
from them about any progress with our vendors' purchase.
Another visit to the solicitor this morning. Most of
the paperwork looks fine, but there is a real question about the
location of the South West boundary. And the property
on that side is in the process of being sold.
This morning, a fat package arrives from our solicitor: more
paperwork to read, check and sign. According to the
estate agent, the people we are buying from are trying to
purchase an empty property - so there is no chain, thank
goodness! - and the survey on it is due to be done this
week. Once that is complete, their mortgage
application can be processed - assuming no serious problems are
I take the morning off work, and we all go down to the
solicitor and work through the details of the lock-out
contract... Begin to wonder if it's worth
doing. Steve transfers £10,000 to the
solicitor as our penalty if we decide not to purchase after
Later in the day, hear that the surveyor has not found any
serious problems, and the owners have agreed to the terms of the
lock-out contract. But they have not got their
mortgage arranged yet, so we may still be in for a bit of a
Put the first cheque (£150 for the searches) and set of
documents into the solicitor's office so everything is waiting
for him first thing Monday.
Their solicitor has been instructed now, but ours has a broken
fax machine, so he cannot get the details from the estate agent
in order to start the searches. I have the afternoon
off work to pick up the boys (Sue is doing the final house
clearance run to Guildford with Steve), so I pick up the details
from the estate agent and deliver them to the
solicitor. He tells me the owners have received
another offer for the house, £30,000 more than our final
offer, but they were still selling to us. It is hard
to believe, but things are starting to go right again.
The surveyor is scheduled for Tuesday next week (28
Much to our surprise, they have accepted our final offer, along
with the lockout agreement. It must be all the
prayer. However, when our solicitor gets in touch
with theirs, he discovers they have not given any instructions
concerning any sale. So we still need prayer to get
Abbeywood is still on the market! The people who
failed to get it yesterday phoned the owners this morning -
after the final deadline - with an increased offer.
We are being asked to increase our offer again (how many times?)
or enter a contract race (with the prospect of being gazumped
yet again even if we do win it). It still seems like
the right house, but we are not keen on either prospect.
Much prayer... again... eventually decide to raise our offer
slightly, but make it clear that this is our final offer, and we
want a lockout contract with them - which would commit us to
buying the house, and prevent them from selling it to anyone
else. Tell the estate agent and also write it in a
letter we drop round to the owners in the evening.
It doesn't look very hopeful.
We increase our offer, on the basis that if we don't and then
fail to get the house, we will really kick ourselves.
Eventually we hear that our offer has been accepted - because we
had increased it. Thank you Lord!
Now we need to pray that nothing else gets in the way of a
rapid move. Mark & Susan Howe would quite like
us to have moved by 6 October, which looks quite tight.
Someone else has put in another offer for
Abbeywood. The new deadline is 6 pm
tomorrow. More prayer... In faith, we
withdraw our offer from the house in Brentry.
We make an offer for Abbeywood, the house in Stoke Bishop. The
estate agent promised a decision by the end of the day, but the
owners are out for the day, so no news until Monday.
We are praying furiously, as Sue has really set her heart on
The owner does not want to take the property in Brentry off the market: he
would like us to offer a bit more. How
much? He won't say. We explain that if
he won't say yes to our offer, we won't stop looking for a
Mark and Steve find another possibility, this time much closer
in Stoke Bishop. Sue likes it; we make an
appointment for me to go round this evening.
Sue likes the house in Brentry - we agree with Steve to offer a
bit over the asking price for it.
Our house in Southway is finally sold... I suppose that means
we are halfway to moving house...
I like the house Mark found. Unfortunately, Sue is
still in Guildford and has not see it yet.
Mark has seen one property that looks eminently suitable, but
it's in Brentry - not within walking distance of school for the two
youngest. I hope to see it with Sue on Monday
evening next week.
We exchanged contracts on Southway today.
Completion is set for 15 September.
Finding a house just for us in Bristol does not seem to be working,
so we are going to look at the possibility of finding somewhere
with Steve Poulard. We are thinking of somewhere
large enough for him, us, the EN office and a place for the
We should be exchanging on Southway today, but Sue gets a
letter from our Guildford Solicitor: the buyer's Solicitor has
just decided to raise some questions about the
boundaries. I phone and clarify the
points. It turns out that the buyer's Solicitor also
failed to include a cheque as promised, and despite faxing them
yesterday it did not turn up in the post today. So
no exchange today: possibly the end of the week if we are
The Bristol Estate Agent rings me at work: the vendors have
withdrawn their house from the market 'for personal reasons'.
We are looking for a house to buy again. This
is getting to be a habit. At least we have not spent
hundreds of pounds on this one before it fell through.
The vendors say they will accept £124,500. We
decide to offer it, so we are buying a house again.
According to the Estate Agent, they are willing to move as soon
as possible, but hope to have at least four weeks to get
organised. On past performance, this should not be too
Sue comes down to Bristol with the boys and looks at two
houses - the one with the larger garden I saw two days ago, and
another. We decide to make an offer of £123,000 for the one I saw.
It is in Groveleaze, a mile or so from St Edyth's church
where the Snowball training will be based, but closer than
several other properties we looked at.
We accept the revised offer of £105,000. The Estate
Agent says that they checked the impact, and it will not delay
exchange of contracts next week in this case. We are now
expecting to exchange by 1 September, and complete on 15
I look at two more properties, both of which I like, but the
garden of one is much too small for football.
The Estate Agent in Guildford says the survey showed major
problems with our roof: all the tiles need to be replaced.
Our buyer wants to reduce the price by £5,000 as a
Our solicitor in Guildford says we could exchange contracts
early next week, but not if the price is going to change.
We are back from France, and dash down to Bristol to look at
three properties. None of them looks hopeful. It
is hard to decide just how low we need to set our sights in
order to find something within a sensible timescale.
Steve says that we can move in to the house he is renting (he
will move out for the duration) in order that we can be in
Bristol for the start of the school year, which is a real
I leaflet all the properties in St Edyth's Road (except one!),
asking people to contact us if they are thinking of selling and
don't already have a buyer. Have a number of
conversations with people, who are very sympathetic and
friendly, but nobody knows of any suitable properties.
The Estate Agent in Bristol knows nothing of any problem, but
promises to contact the vendors. A little later, he calls
back. They have accepted a private offer, £5,000
more than ours. We have lost a house, and he has lost the
commission - after putting in a good deal of work to earn
it. We all feel rather sick.
While in France, we get a message from our Solicitor in
Gloucester: our vendors
have pulled out! We cannot get in touch with anyone to
find out more.
We phone from France: the survey on our house is being done at
midday. The Estate Agent is getting a builder to come
round and look at the points which may be raised in the survey
report, so we have the answers ready when the questions come,
and save some time.
Spent most of the day on the telephone to everyone. Our
vendors and the rest of the chain are willing to move everything
back, and the chain has held up - just. The new plan is
to exchange 23 August and move 27 August. We can go on
holiday to France on 7 August without causing any problems.
We accept an offer of £110,000 subject to the buyer
getting a mortgage offer. The 'confirmation of finance' is
due on 5 August. Our vendors and the people further up the
chain are extremely insecure.
We have now had two people who have viewed the house, and three
or four who have arranged to come round but failed to turn up.
The house is a complete tip with boxes and piles of
things everywhere - we were expecting to have moved by now - and
it is all very depressing.
We hear that our buyer cannot get a mortgage, and we have to
find another buyer. Moving on 6 August is looking rather
dubious, and our vendors say that the whole chain is threatening
to break down.
There is a delay in our buyer's mortgage offer - 'technical
details' according to the Estate Agent. Moving by the end
of July is looking unlikely, so we now plan to exchange on 29
July and complete on 6 August. It is very tight, but
everyone still says it can be done.
We have the legal documents relating to the purchase at last,
but there are at least half a dozen significant errors which we
find. They can be sorted out, but it will involve a small
delay. We might be able to complete before the end of
July, but it is looking less likely now.
Our Solicitor in Gloucester is waiting for information from the
vendors' Solicitor. They say they have not got the deeds
yet, so cannot pass the information on. But they do have
a photocopy of the deeds, and that supplies all the information
they need at present...
The legal parts of the purchase are going through now, but
there is a delay in getting our mortgage offer because the
Halifax did not read our application form properly, and have
made an error in the offer letter.
Our Solicitor in Gloucester has not heard from the Estate Agent
yet. The Estate Agent is waiting for the vendors to tell
them who they will use for their Solicitor.
Made an offer of £115,000 on a house in St Edyth's Road,
Bristol, which was accepted. The vendors are willing to
complete by the end of July. It's all looking rather
Accepted an increased offer of £106,000 for our
house. The buyer wants to complete by the end of
Turn down an offer of £105,000 for our house.
Our house in Guildford goes on the market at an asking price of