Cliodhna O’Donoghue I had enough and wanted to pull out

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property 2018 -

We had spent eight months trawl­ing the south Dublin res­i­den­tial mar­ket be­fore we came upon a lovely home in Shankill that met most of our cri­te­ria and ex­ceeded oth­ers. Our de­light, how­ever, was soon cast in doubt by the sur­veyor’s re­port.

Three weeks from the mov­ing in date, our sur­veyor un­cov­ered that the land bound­ary on the of­fi­cial land registry map in­di­cated a much larger gar­den area than in real life. There was also no com­pli­ance cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from an en­gi­neer, or ar­chi­tect, who had worked on the mas­sive ex­ten­sion to the old cot­tage. In con­trast, we had all of this pre­pared be­fore our prop­erty went on the mar­ket for sale, along with rev­enue, RPT, and lo­cal au­thor­ity charges re­ceipts. In­stead, the ven­dor’s so­lic­i­tor “de­clined” to pro­vide the doc­u­men­ta­tion we needed.

Al­most daily con­tact en­sued with the sell­ing agent, my so­lic­i­tor and sur­veyor as we tried to re­solve this mess in time to meet the mov­ing in date. Some 48 hours be­fore our sup­posed big move, we were still un­signed on our new home and we dis­cov­ered the ven­dor had not even be­gun pack­ing. The ven­dor’s so­lic­i­tor was not re­turn­ing calls, or mails, be­cause he was at a con­fer­ence with no email ac­cess for sev­eral days. Re­ally?

My sug­ges­tion that we move in on a care­taker’s agree­ment un­til the mat­ter was re­solved was re­jected be­cause the ven­dor wanted a con­tract signed and large de­posit paid over first. But we could not sign a con­tract with­out the bound­ary is­sue first be­ing re­solved, or at least ev­i­dence that it was in train. It was a vi­cious cir­cle.

To ex­ac­er­bate mat­ters fur­ther we dis­cov­ered that the site in­cluded own­er­ship of an ad­join­ing laneway used by the pub­lic to ac­cess the vil­lage and the Wick­low Way walk­ing route. What would be our li­a­bil­ity if some­one hurt them­selves in this laneway?

And only the ven­dor could get the bound­ary re­drawn, but when we asked to speak to him this was de­nied. We be­gan to won­der if the cot­tage was re­ally for sale at all. Per­haps he was just test­ing the mar­ket.

It is im­pos­si­ble to com­mu­ni­cate the level of stress and upset we en­dured. It is quite mad­den­ing to be so help­less and vul­ner­a­ble. Be­cause of these de­lays we would have to fund stor­age and then pay the same again to have it taken from stor­age and sent to our new ad­dress. This was cost­ing us dearly.

Fi­nally I had enough and wanted to pull out of the deal. Some­thing was wrong, maybe the cot­tage was not meant for us af­ter all. I place a lot of store on “gut feel­ings” and right then my guts were at best queasy. My hus­band pro­vided com­mon sense: “This will pass,” he said, but I drew the line at his sug­ges­tion that we would look back on this and laugh.

I com­mu­ni­cated to the sell­ing agent how I felt. To her credit she pulled out all the stops, again. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­sumed with a flurry of com­pro­mises and prom­ises on the part of the ven­dor. He also sug­gested we meet to dis­cuss these. It was as if we had not sought a meet­ing sev­eral times over the pre­ced­ing weeks. I was so cross I nearly didn’t go.

But I am glad we did. We met a pleas­ant young cou­ple who seemed as trou­bled as we were by the whole sce­nario. They blamed poor com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the mess.

Though ini­tially we were dis­trust­ful, this dis­solved quickly fol­low­ing our dis­cus­sions. Kindly they pro­vided their large shed and a bed­room to store our be­long­ings and, as a to­ken of their re­morse, they gifted us house­hold items we ad­mired. Be­fore I knew it my rock of sense was bar­gain­ing about the fridge, TV and shed.

Ul­ti­mately we were de­layed by 10 days while the bound­ary was be­ing re­drawn, but the deal went ahead and, in the end, we didn’t have to pay dou­ble re­moval costs. Though this

‘‘ It is im­pos­si­ble to com­mu­ni­cate the level of stress and upset we en­dured

was agreed only the night be­fore our pro­posed move, be­fore that I could not tell the re­moval com­pany whether to bring the two mas­sive truck loads to our new house, or stor­age.

In those few months we had aged a decade, lost weight and al­most killed each other. Buy­ing was much more com­pli­cated than sell­ing, but we had ac­com­plished our ob­jec­tive at least. We had sold our home seam­lessly and found an­other less eas­ily. But, im­por­tantly, we had sur­vived the process and now had funds to in­vest in a re­place­ment pen­sion scheme. We can also fine-tune the cot­tage to our per­sonal tastes.

The whole process was dif­fi­cult emo­tion­ally, as well as phys­i­cally and fi­nan­cially. It seemed re­lent­less and over­whelm­ing at times so we are very glad it is be­hind us now.

Now we are ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to a fu­ture full of new chal­lenges and joy in our new abode. It’s like start­ing all over again and is ex­hil­a­rat­ing too be­cause this time around we should be a bit wiser.

There was al­most daily con­tact with the sell­ing agent, my so­lic­i­tor and sur­veyor as we tried to re­solve this mess in time to meet the mov­ing in date

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