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Worst buying story ever?

  • 31-08-2022 6:46pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭

    This might be a bit of a long post (and I'll probably stick it up on Reddit too) but I'm curious to know what people think of our story and if we have any sort of legal recourse.

    Bit of background, my partner and I are both white collar professionals in our late 20s on decent money. We were based in Dublin but I work in the Midlands and she had work-from-home written into her contract on a permanent basis. So we decided to sell up her family home and move to the Midlands. Without getting into too much detail, my partner only owns a share of that house and it's been very messy with siblings who hate each other etc. In any case, we didn't need the proceeds from the sale to buy our new place.

    Okay, on we go!

    January 2022:

    Offered mortgage approval in the first week of January, start looking for gaffs.

    Family home goes sale agreed on the 28th Jamuary.

    Lead bidder on family home immediately pulls out. Second bidder proceeds. We go sale agreed on an apartment in the Midlands town I work in on the 28th January (same day as the family home). Estate agent reckons we'll be in by April. We then find out that the property is a re-posession owned by EBS and administered by their receiver Grant Thornton. Advice of sale isn't issued because Grant Thornton haven't appointed a solicitor yet.

    February 2022: We get the apartment surveyed and valuated. Still no solicitor or advice of sale. Russia invades Ukraine (trust me, this becomes important later).

    March 2022: Still no solicitor or advice of sale. Starting to lose our marbles. Loan offer issued by our bank.

    April 2022: Solicitor finally appointed and advice of sale issued. Family home sale complicated by a few legal issues surrounding planning retention.

    May 2022: Vendor solicitor finally issues contracts. Contract is absurdly lopsided and the package is missing loads of documentation. Our solicitor raises 23 queries with them. The most severe issue is the complete lack of qualification of title. Property is also no registered with the land registry and there are outstanding fire safety issues with the apartment.

    June 2022: Responses to our solicitor's queries are trickling back and are insufficient. Buyer of the family home signs contracts.

    July 2022: Vendor's solicitors finally send the right documentation and our solicitor writes a letter qualifying title to our lender's solicitor on the 15th July. Buyer of the family home is getting impatient. Waiting ages for for the lender's solicitor to sign off on the qualification of title. LOTS of annual leave supposedly.

    August 2022: Our buyer can't wait anymore. We move out on the 8th into temporary accommodation (rented a holiday home). Stuff put into storage. Pets put into kennel. Current burn rate of just shy of €1k a week for three adults plus storage and kennels. Solicitor finally recommends that our lender accepts qualification of title on the 11th August. We sign contracts just to try and get ahead of things. On the 19th August the lender signs off and our solicitor starts the drawdown. Contracts are sent to vendor solicitor. Contracts are forwarded to the vendor on the 24th August for signature.

    So what's the problem? Why have I not mentioned the lender's name? Why does the war in Ukraine matter? Why does the lender have their legal advice outsourced?

    Well, as of today (the 31st August) our vendor still hasn't signed contracts. Apparently only certain people are authorised to sign and because of a combination of annual leave/work from home, they've been sitting on a desk for a week.

    Our lender is ICS. For those who don't know, ICS is a non-bank lender. In other words, they don't lend money from customer deposits. So they have to actually raise money in private bond markets which makes them extremely sensitive to interest rates and broader economic sentiment, especially compared to bank lenders. The flip side is that they're not burdened with the legacy of the crash and large loan books. So when we applied back in December 2021, they were the cheapest available. We locked in a five year fixed rate at 2.55%.

    Since then, Russia invaded Ukraine and the markers have gone crazy. Along with interest rates. ICS have increased the rates twice since then, it's now at around 3.7%. It's gone from one of the cheapest to one of the most expensive. But we stuck with it because we didn't think we could afford to start again.

    However, our loan offer expires in the second week of September. Some of you may have read that ICS (and some other non bank lenders) have recently changed their lending criteria. It's now so strict that very few people would qualify, including us. Those in the know have told us that ICS are effectively closed for new business and aren't able to raise finance anymore to offer competitive rates. They have cut a lot of staff and are basically winding down their lending operations.

    In other words, it's no longer in their interest to allow us to draw down. They confirmed as much when they refused to offer us a grace period of a week or two. They've now had all of the documents they need to issue funds since the 19th August and haven't finished signing off on our declaration of income. Which is literally a paragraph which states that our financial situation hasn't changed. Our solicitor has dealt with them before and has never seen this kind of delay, he smells a rat and thinks they're just running down the clock until the loan offer expires. Our broker has been unable to get through to anybody in their office. They're not returning messages or calls.

    So now we're in our temporary accommodation which is costing us €800 a week, our storage unit is €60 a week and the cattery is €100 a week. We're homeless and it looks like the sale is about to collapse because our lender is underhanded and trying to shirk their agreement with us which we made in good faith. We're not optimistic that our vendor will wait while we start again with a new lender. We don't have the money to keep staying in temporary accommodation, there's nowhere to rent and even if there was they wouldn't take our pets.

    We're the Fine Gael dream. Young, white collar professionals working hard and trying to get on the property ladder. Not only that, but we're not even trying in Dublin. The apartment we're buying is less than twice our combined income and the mortgage is really small. Doesn't matter. Ireland will still find a way to beat you down. There is absolutely no legal recourse. There is nothing we can do. We have spent thousands already in legal fees, valuations, surveys and temporary accommodation. But everyone gets to walk away and the solicitors get paid. We end up having to try and pick up the pieces.

    Fuck this country. We're probably going to emigrate again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭troyzer

    Contracts are with the vendor at the moment, it's out of our hands.

    Either way, they've been putting pressure on to hurry up. Bit rich given how much they dragged their arse in the beginning.

    It's possible they're willing to wait. But literally everything that could go wrong has gone wrong so far.

    We also don't have the money to stay in accommodation for another month or two. Honestly don't know what we're going to do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9 Likethewind

    How are they putting pressure when they haven’t signed? Surely next steps are for them to sign and suggest a closing? You ask to push that out a couple of weeks and if you go over it’s fine. There’s nothing they can really do in that case except maybe issue a notice of completion which would give you additional 28 days to close.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭troyzer

    Closing date is three weeks after signing. They've been calling our solicitor asking for our signatures on the contract for about a month now. That's been done. They have them now.

    They're not necessarily inclined to wait a couple of weeks, hoping we get it over the line. Not if they think they can flip it for more money to a cash buyer. Similar apartments in the same development have gone for €20k-€30k more since January.

    Contracts are subject to finance. We have four weeks to pay up. I've spoken to a few brokers and nobody is going from zero to drawdown in four weeks right now. Two months is the more realistic (albeit optimistic) time frame. Three months is fairly normal too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9 Likethewind

    In this situation I’d accept their suggested close date and wait for your current lender to come good while applying at the same time to a new lender. Call the banks you’re interested in directly to see if they’ll turn it around faster than a broker.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭Furze99

    The amount being borrowed is relatively small you say. Any chance you can get a loan or loans from within your families to tide you over for a few weeks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 404 ✭✭Kurooi

    You give up too easily. Pretty much every sale had it's hiccups, your now 8 month wait is a norm these days, and yes loan approvals are always dated so it's pretty much certain that they run out by time you're done.

    A good broker will get you sorted with a new approval quickly enough. Your solicitor can delay and buy some time , once you have the paper you can then navigate the conversation. Reasonable people will stick to the buyer and wait a few weeks when they see evidence things are moving and you're not a time waster.

    Crappy time to be buying, but hey, rest of the world is no better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,264 ✭✭✭✭gmisk

    "We then find out that the property is a re-posession owned by EBS and administered by their receiver Grant Thornton. Advice of sale isn't issued because Grant Thornton haven't appointed a solicitor yet."

    At this point you should have ran.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭troyzer

    There is no suggested close date. It's just three weeks from contract signed. And the contract is subject to finance from ICS who have made it clear they're not going to extend the loan offer. We've spoken to friends who work in banks, those were the turnaround times we were given.

    That's something we're looking at. But then how do we pay them back? You can't get a mortgage to pay your parents back.

    The solicitor can't delay. They literally have contracts now. The time to delay and reapply would have been a month or two ago but we didn't know at the time that ICS were getting jitters. Maybe we should have started again back in June when they raised rates. I don't know, hindsight is 20/20. Reasonable people don't list a property with no solicitor or qualification of title. There is loads of other stuff that's gone on that wouldn't lead you to think the vendors are reasonable. Still, we'll give it a go. That's our main backup, hoping the vendor will wait.

    Yeah, probably. A lesson learned. A very expensive lesson.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,130 ✭✭✭Deeec

    Completely agree with this - you should have backed out when you found out it was a repossession.

    To add to this the 23 queries your solicitor raised should have caused serious concern. The fire safety issues alone could end up costing you a fortune if work has to be done on the whole property.

    Is it too late to walk away? You seem to be in a good situation financially so why not reapply for a mortgage with a broker and perhaps think about buying a small house instead of an apartment. Apartments in this country are very poorly built, badly planned and horrible to live in. You would be lucky to be able to sell it in a few years. In my view apartments are a bad investment. You could dodge a bullet here.

    As regards your current living situation could you move in with family temporarily - even live with separate family members if you have to. I know it may be hard for a short while but would be worth it in the end. When you find the right house and your not in a chain it's surprising how quickly things can move.

    Best of luck and I hope things work out for you🙏

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,576 ✭✭✭notAMember

    Sorry it’s gone wrong for you.

    But you’re definitely not new or a special case here. Property purchase is long, complex and difficult. I went through almost the same thing in the 90’s, the 00’s and again in the 10’s. The 10’s was the worst actually, we had 5 failed purchases in a row after going sale agreed. You’re in a pretty good position with an inheritance and not needing a massive mortgage. A better position than I was ever in.

    hang in there, it’s incredibly stressful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,198 ✭✭✭troyzer

    Yeah, would never deal with a re-posession again.

    Fire safety isn't an issue. The remediation works have been done and it's fine now. We know the downsides of an apartment, we were happy to accept them because the mortgage is small. It's a nice apartment and we could always rent it down the road if we do decide to emigrate again.

    Agree with you on the house though. If we have to start again completely from scratch, we probably will just get a house instead.

    Living situation is the main problem. She has no family so it's just mine. We tried it already and it wasn't working, but we might have no choice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 665 ✭✭✭houseyhouse

    You can get a mortgage to pay your parents back. My sister’s mortgage offer went belly up at the start of Covid. She bought with money borrowed from family until she was able to get everything sorted out. Was a bit complicated but got it sorted eventually.

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭kheb

    If there is a delay, could you rent from the Vendor until you can complete?

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,915 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    If I was selling a house, agreed a price with a buyer, and then the buyer turned around and asked me to hand over the keys to let them "rent" it for a while because their finance fell through, I'd be running away quickly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,702 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

    A horrid situation but I'd also caution against buying any apartment with fire safety issues. That could cost you thousands in the future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,954 ✭✭✭✭Giblet

    Apply in BOI, I had a similar situation with Avant not honouring their rates, so had to quickly switch to BOI. They have 2.2% for 5 years at the moment. Took 3 weeks from initial contact to draw down. Get all of your docs ready.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2 out_of_ink

    How did it work out for you in the end troyzer? We're in the final stages of a purchase, not nearly as complicated as yours, but the waiting and silence is incredibly stressful, I hope all worked out for ye

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,758 ✭✭✭✭Thargor

    Was just won

    Was just wondering about this today aswell, did you get sorted?

    Im looking atm too but its just so grim out there Im tempted to go for one of the pharma roles in Amsterdam or Switzerland that are always being offered on Linkedin.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 32,634 ✭✭✭✭Graces7

    Ah good news!


    As it will be...