On moving house

So. Where are we? Three months after accepting an offer on our house, we are still in Islington. We still have not exchanged. We have pulled a lot of hair – very much to the dismay of Big M who didn’t have a lot of hair to begin with. We got in a few silly arguments about how to proceed. And we changed our minds about 100 times along the way.

Finally, we told the buyer to lop off last Sunday.

It has been an emotional three months. The same day we accepted the offer back in February, another potential buyer came forward with a higher offer. £30,000 higher, to be precise. We decided to stick with buyer #1. After all, we had given her our word, and it would have been morally wrong to go back to her and drive the price further up. It would have been bad for our Karma, right?

Well, you know what they say. Karma is a B.I.T.C.H.

We should have been pricking our ears when her lawyer started negotiations with the phrase ‘Oh. That seems to be a very high price for a house.’

Surprisingly, we are not selling our house for a song. It’s a lovely house in excellent condition in Central London. This is reflected in the price.

During the past three months, the buyer’s lawyer turned out to be an anxious, panicky and hysterical wuss. An exchange was becoming more and more unlikely to happen and would have only been possible under an extensive conditional clause, which we weren’t willing to accept.

Plus, where we wanted to buy in Richmond, houses are rarely seen on the market. In fact, there was only one house we liked. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a garden and is 30% over budget.

So. We started to look into flats. But hold on. We are moving from a house into a flat? In Richmond? Nah, I don’t think so. If I am moving to the outskirts of town, I want bigger, brighter, bolder.

Of course, I can do downsizing. But if I do so, I might as well downsize in Kensington. Schools are great, antisocial behaviour is significantly lower than in Islington, and it is… well, it’s Kensington. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. I had enough of intellectual-creative f***ed-up-ness and shabby chic in my life. I prefer much more to be watched up and down by the sloaney ponies than being checked out for my rob-able value by the hoodies in this neighbourhood.

But. The Kensington property market is dried up. Recession? Definitely not here. What about buying a three bedroom flat for just under a million pounds. Oh, and by the way, the lease expires in two years. Why am I not ecstatically thrilled?

A pestering wuss of a lawyer, a property market as dried up as a potsherd and a lack of nerves on my side resulted in our decision not to sell. Yet.

Whist I was typing this, the buyer got back to us and told us that she decided to use another lawyer and to accept our proposed way to proceed. It’s not over yet.


  1. OMG, nightmare!!!
    I know you mentioned Richmond recently but I didn’t realise you already had your house on the market….and that you had accepted an offfer THREE months ago….eeek!!! That is ridiculous 🙁

    I really really really hope for you that the new lawyer does a better job and it works out.

    I have to tell you I laughed out loud at your excellent descriptions of Kensington and Islington….sounds about right to me!! Sometimes too much shabby chic is a bad thing.

    This won’t make you feel any better but we have just sold a house (one that we have had rented out to tenants). We were extremely fortunate….he is a cash buyer and we are not yet ready to buy so there is no chain – we exchanged yesterday, complete tomorrow – and the whole process has taken 4 wks exactly….it can happen, altho admittedly not very often.

    I shall keep everything crossed for you xo

  2. buying and selling houses is such a pain. You have my sympathies. Bid farewell to London and come and join me in the beautiful West Berkshire countryside. Not a hoodie in site. We have 5 bedrooms, a huge garden and a swimming pool for just over half what you would pay for a three bed flat in Kensington.

    C’mon, I need someone nearby who can teach me about fashion and other glamorous things

  3. James says

    Buck up little cowgirl, it may have a happy ending yet! Remember Karma is a funny old dog. Some times she wags her tail after the bite!

  4. Ohhh my goodness….what a serious headache. Sorry about it 🙁 I know how all that can be having sold a house when we moved. Our first offer was like…25,000 less than what we listed it for. I was all offended but apparently that’s how it’s played =) I hope it works out for you soon! One day you’ll back on all of it and laugh…I hope?

  5. OMG, nightmare! Hang in there!!! Housing dramas are the worst…

    And I enjoyed your descriptions of Kensington and Islington. 🙂

  6. Oh gosh, it sounds like a real nightmare although we are currently renovating and moving may have been easier!!! Fingers crossed it’ll work out soon!

  7. AAARggh. That brings it all back. I am never moving again. Trying to move house and having to deal with the holy grail of estate agents, solicitors and vendors is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Hope it still works out for you.

  8. You could always sell and then rent for a while until you find the perfect place? Then you can get to know an area first…..

  9. Sounds like a complete nightmare – they say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can embark on. Fingers crossed it all works out – karma is a consideration…I agree…but as you say, a bitchy one! L x

  10. Crikey bells! What a ‘mare. Don’t give up yet lady.

    I’ve moved three times in eight years and it’s totally stressful, but you get there in the end. I’m sure I’m not done yet but that’s another story.

    Don’t give up on Richmond, it’s a lovely place to live.

    Good luck

  11. Buying / selling a property is supposed to be up there with the most stressful things in life. I sold a flat in the UK recently and had so many sleepless nights over it. It took 3 months, and it was with vacant possession and no change either side!! Hold on in there. Hope your buyer kicks the next lawyer into touch and things move a bit quicker now. Good luck with house hunting too.

  12. Oh, so sorry you are having to go through all of this. Selling a house is such a stressful, emotional ride. Hopefully, good news is on the horizon if the buyer has a new lawyer. And, perhaps karma will get a hold of the other lawyer and do her thing. 😉

  13. selling and buying a home (yes home) is always fraught with emotions. So hard to see it as a transaction. Don’t be pushed into any direction, and stick to your guns! We’ve been through it all but somehow it always worked out in the end – if only the emotions during the process could be turned off.

  14. Isn’t it always us ladies that have to dig in the heels! Well done for getting rid of the wussy lawyer. Hope things improve and you fid the dream home. We’re at month 16 of buying our freehold – i sympathise!

  15. Oh buying and selling houses here is so fraught. Good luck with it, hope the buyer remains sensible and that you find the house that you want! (Richmond is very lovely, but not what you might call cheap!). x

  16. Sometimes I’m glad I’m not into it all yet- everyone I know who is buying or selling has horrible stories really. I really really hope this new lawyer is a winner and you get it all sorted soon- and you find a beautiful new home too x

  17. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe this is not over yet. You guys deserve a happy home and this is not helping matters. I hope you ge this all sorted out soon! What about the bling you bought? what what??? tell me more! x LZ

  18. They do say the process of moving house is up there with divorce and the death of a close relative in the stress factor. There’s a cheery thought for you, sorry – was just trying to say I know how hard it is!

    Confess I am always amazed at London house prices – being a province-dweller, some of the sums involved just seem so unbelievably scary.

    Hope things move forward with the new lawyer. x

  19. Buying our house 4 years ago was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done and I vowed never to do it again! Both buying and selling your house at the same time, you have all my sympathies and hope that it will go wrong now the Wuss lawyer is out of the picture!

  20. Oh no! I was just thinking of you after writing to a friend who used to live in Richmond. What a nightmare you’re having. Hope it gets sorted soon. xx

  21. When we moved into current house, I vowed never to do it again…so so stressful! I hope this works out fine and very quickly. x

  22. we’ve moved within the same area 6 times in eight years. Keep moving and you’ll get used to it .. really! 🙂

  23. sounds awful hope it all gets sirted soon, my house has been on the market for a year next month. The market is as dead as dodo but fingers crossed someone will buy my lovely house xxx

  24. Oh god this all sounds awful – you must be so stressed by it all. Will keep my fingers crossed that it all works out OK in the end for you. xx

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