Friday, 27 November 2009

Conveyancing Fiasco UPDATE

After lunch yesterday...

Called Helen at POP. She told me that she had faxed Blake Lapthorn (buyers’ solicitor) about the leasehold info and was sure that they would contact POP if they needed anything (thanks for the sense of urgency dear). She said that my solicitor’s partner would be back in tomorrow and the file would be passed to him for action. I asked her whether she felt it was realistic for exchange to happen this week. She said no, probably not. The woman is an effing limp rag, it would be nice to prove her wrong.

Having got such a laissez faire response from POP, I called BL to check that they had received the docs and promptly got a bollocking for ringing them direct. I did however ascertain that they had received the docs and that they would be reviewed this afternoon. I then emailed Tony at Mann and explained all of the above to him and asked him to keep chasing BL as much as possible.

Went into the loo for a little cry and was greeted by a colleague with the words "hey stressypants" which was nice and helped matters loads.

I then called Chelsea BS again as they hadn't returned my call. They took another message, then Mark called me back. He started at Guildford branch yesterday so doesn't know a thing and asked me disturbing questions such as "so how much were you wanting to borrow?".  Not what you need to hear when you're supposed to be at the point of exchange.  Apparently there is a note on my file that POP is not on the panel of approved solicitors - Mark is not sure what that means. He is going to call the underwriters this afternoon, find out what the hell is going on and call me back.

UPDATE 15:45

Utter disaster. Mark from Chelsea calls me back. To inform me that because I have £3k outstanding on a student loan (which they have known for weeks) the underwriters are not willing to lend me the full amount that I asked for. Bizarrely they have reduced the amount they are willing to lend by more than the amount of my student loan, so it seems as though I’m being penalised for having one, which is nice. I ask Mark when this decision was made and he informs me it was made on the 16th November – 10 days ago, and no-one had bothered to tell me. Then Mark starts going on about POP needing to contact the Law Society about a change of address to be added to the panel. It is evident that he has no clue what he is talking about, as he is unable to answer any question I have about this.

So I hang up, go into the car park, call my dad and start to cry hysterically down the phone to him. After about 5 minutes of hysteria, my dad asks me what I would like him to do. I ask him to call Brian Farley – another solicitor at POP and a man that managed my conveyancing last time round without a single issue. I was just too upset to be able to do it. Dad caught Mr Farley just as he was about to go to London for a meeting but nonetheless he found time to look into this beforehand. Within minutes, he has sorted out the panel issue and will be looking at the other conveyancing issues this morning.

And that’s the saga up to date. Will I be able to complete next Friday? Doubtful. But I’m going to keep my chin up and get this bloody job done. Keep your fingers crossed.....

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Conveyancing: An object lesson in how to create an utter fiasco....

Wednesday 10:00. I receive a call from Tony at Mann Countrywide Haslemere – the estate agent who sold my flat back in May. Tony helpfully informs me that my solicitor has swanned off to the Costa Del Whatever for a holiday without having the courtesy to tell me. Usually I wouldn’t mind, we’re not close personal friends and I’m not Passport Control, but given that I’m supposed to exchange contracts this week with a view to completing at the end of next week, this is not welcome news. I call Potter Owtram and Peck and they confirm. He’s sipping cocktails by the pool and the person assigned to my conveyancing in his absence is out of the office until tomorrow. Unamused, I suggest that they might want to locate my file and update me on the current status of the conveyancing. They promise to keep an eye out for it, but I hear nothing.

Tuesday 09:00. I call Helen at POP; she is back in the office and helpfully starts our conversation by asking me whether they have received a response to an outstanding query from HydeMartlet, the housing association who own the lease on my current flat. I patiently point out that it was her effing job to tell me that. I then point out that I had in fact done her job and chased up with HydeMartlet and that it had been sent 11/11 directly to my buyer's solicitors; Blake Lapthorn. I gently suggested that she contact them to confirm receipt and to ensure that they have signed paperwork and are on schedule for exchange.

She then informs me that we couldn't exchange without my mortgage offer paperwork which still hasn't come through. I respectfully request that she call Chelsea Building Society to chase up the docs. Not filled with confidence, I also called the Guildford branch of CBS and actually managed to get through, which made a nice change. I was then informed that Claire, the woman who has been dealing with my application has moved to the Southampton branch. It was at this point that I started to wonder whether a nefarious Bond villain was screwing with me behind the scenes, or possibly that Al Qaeda desperately want that particular flat to construct pipe bombs and are hell bent on not letting me buy it.

I ensured that the chap was aware of the urgency of the situation - that it was the only thing holding up the process and exchange is due NOW. He is going to get Claire to call me back. Have heard nothing as yet.


Mann just called me again. Apparently HydeMartlet have not sent through the info. On the 11th they sent a memo saying that they were processing the query and have had nothing since. Have chased HM again. Someone hates me.

On the upside I have booked a removal van for next Friday from the MVH in Rake. That was disturbingly easy, so no doubt I will show up on Friday and there will be a wheelbarrow waiting for me.


I have dealt with HydeMartlet for over eight years. During this time they have demonstrated time and again a propensity towards bureaucracy and incompetence, however two weeks ago I stumbled upon the lone helpful and efficient employee there. I can’t imagine she will last long, but hoorah for Michelle Tant, I will name my first born for you. She has tirelessly liaised with the rest of the eejits there and it seems that for once it is not HydeMartlet throwing a spanner in the works. Bravo to Julia Morey who did actually send out the information on the 11th November and forwarded on the email that she sent to the solicitors to prove it. It does contain the answers to the queries. Have forwarded this on to all solicitors and copied in Tony so that he can push through.

UPDATE 11:07

Have got delivery failure message from Blake Lapthorn email. So maybe they didn't receive the original email after all.

What next??!!!!

UPDATE 11:21

Spoke to Tony at Mann - they confirmed that HydeMartlet ARE in fact useless tossers who used an incorrect email address. I sent it to the correct one.... and got a ruddy out of office! Thankfully there was a contact listed on it so forwarded the email on AGAIN marked URGENT. Mann is also going to call up to confirm receipt and to ensure that papers are signed ASAP.

I'm tired and it’s not even lunchtime.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

One from the archives....

.... Smackdown

June 2006 - an ordinary morning, just like any other. I had just walked onto the playing field after a stroll through the woods, when Murdoch ran off to the right. I called him to me, and the cheeky little devil started running on a diagonal that would have allowed him to run past in front of me. So I ran forward to intercept him. I foolishly thought that he would have enough sense to stop, but he didn't and ran full pelt into my legs.

He was only a puppy at the time so I don't think anyone could have foreseen what happened next. The impact of him hitting my legs sent me flying in the air and I landed with one heck of a thud on my back. Full body slam. The impact of my head hitting the ground made my glasses fly off my face - I found them on the ground 5 metres away. It may also have caused an earthquake in Tokyo.

To be fair if there had been any casual observers, they probably would have peed their pants laughing, it must have looked so funny - the sort of thing that would have earned me an easy £250 on You've Been Framed. Unfortunately I think that it also earned me a mild concussion (self diagnosed mind you).

I post this as a cautionary tale - anyone who states that having a pet is good for your health has clearly never been mown down by a staffie on full hurtle.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Mortal Enemies

The hound is not the most liberal of creatures.  He knows what he likes and he has even stronger opinions on what he hates.  The list is quite long and includes all other dogs, birds, cats, clothes airers, bits of paper that fall off the table, the man that delivers the newspaper and the postman.

On our recent holiday to Scotland we added another to the list.  We were happily walking out towards the loch for a nice walk (after yet more rain - thought we were going to get washed away for most of the week) when Murdoch made the fateful decision to walk on the other side of a wheelie bin to me.  The lead went taut and of course knocked the bin over.  This scared the jeebers out of Murdoch (the hound is scared of PAPER falling for chrissakes).  He tried to run away but unfortunately the lead had got entangled in the wheel and the more he ran, the more the bin "chased" him.  I was torn between concern, hysterical laughter and physical pain as the bin whacked me in the shins each time Murdoch ran past me.  Eventually managed to get the lead untangled, but was unable to get Murdoch near the bin again for the remainder of the holiday.  Bless him - he really is a dog of little brain.