Warlingham Close – Part 1

Listening to Your Heart & Being Bold

Background

In 2018, I started my house search in Strood and extended it towards the Medway towns of Rochester and Chatham in Kent A newspaper article and some good advice caused me to extend my search towards Sittingbourne. After much viewings in the Sittingbourne area, I decided to consider Rainham in Kent which is a stop away on the South Eastern High Speed line.

I love Rainham – at least the parts I know of; 0.7m radius from the station. The high street is quiet and people are friendlier than other towns. I had viewed a few houses on Granary Close and Solomon Road before chancing on this 3-bed mid-terraced townhouse situated on Warlingham Close.

This was the house I placed an offer on and started the legal process on.

The Agents

Advertised and sold via Mann Estate Agents in Rainham it was finally sold through the Gillingham branch which did not make much difference to me except change of liaison agent and finally reverting back to the original a lady named Amanda.

The agents were professional. My only comment was they could have worked harder with the negotiation. I will speak a lot more on this later.

After offer was finally accepted, they created a Memorandum of Sale asap. This experience was much more favourable and pleasant than one I had experienced earlier.

Here, I will tell you a story, A few months earlier, I had met a vendor selling property 5 Regent Close in Sittingbourne who had ended up sending me a Memorandum of Sale and requesting for a non-refundable 10% of the deposit to take the property of the market. Thanks to a solicitor, I learnt that no deposit should be paid until at Contracts Exchange. That was a very good lesson.

The Property

Originally priced at £265,000, I had gone to view a few days after being on the market. My budget for a home was £240,000 which meant I could put down 25%, and still manage to keep my current savings rate whilst being able to afford a season ticket and living.

It was decently refurbished with a low minimal garden. The main bathroom had been modernised with a free-standing bath and the kitchen had also been upgraded with underfloor heating.

Downstairs, you had an enclosed porch which opened directly into the dining room with floor to ceiling sash windows and ceramic tiles. The stairs to other floors separated the dining room and the kitchen which was at the rear of the house. There was no downstairs cloakroom as the layout meant that the living room, cloakroom and small bedroom were on the first floor.

On the second floor was a double bedroom, a small bedroom and the main family bathroom.

The owners had constructed an off-road parking providing parking for a single family car and it had had a detached garage on one of the adjoining roads.

Work Needed

My immediate plans were to:

  1. Convert the downstairs dining room into a living room by installing a partition wall to enclose the area whilst getting rid of the enclosed porch
  2. Making the first floor living room into a guest bedroom and changing he upstairs cloakroom to a shower room whilst keeping the small bedroom as a study and prayer room.
  3. There were no major works needed to the upstairs space apart from flooring and painting which was going to be done for the entire house i.e. changing the dining room from light green and the overall cream walls to solid white.
  4. In future include an extension so we could have a downstairs cloakroom which means that garden space would be small.

Main Issues

I was so excited the first day I saw the house.

It was the best I had seen in my price range. The vendors’ partner was quite amiable and when we had established similarities of both working on the railway, he had escorted me to the station; showing me an alternate route.

He asked how much I would offer for the house and although my gut said 236k, I ended up saying 240k. I guess that sealed the figure in his head. He told me his partner wouldn’t accept that amount and they were looking at a minimum of £255k. I was honest with him and told him, I needed to be able to put 25% down to get a 15yr fixed rate with YBS who were at the time offering 2.89%.

I presented my offer, formally in writing (you can read it here) to the agent and sent a copy to the Vendor. I always send a copy to the vendor cos I have learnt that agents, although it possibly the law for them to present all offers AND to prevent bidding wars, will sometimes not present offers. They may not present it for a number of reasons:

  1. They have seen your AIP and proof of funds and know you can afford more so will try and drive you higher
  2. Vendors would have told them their minimum and they wouldn’t want to waste the vendor’s time despite the fact that they may never know if a vendor may take a liking to a particular buyer based on financial status etc and change their minimum asking price
  3. They need to make the most commission by getting the highest price. Albeit some agents will be willing to make a sale and go with a lower offer from a buyer in good standing.

Offer was rejected and soon as it was, the price was also reduced. I went back with the same offer and it was once again rejected. The asking price was reduced further. It kept being reduced until it got to OIEO £240K. I spoke to the agent who said the vendor was expecting £245k.

Somehow the male vendor had gotten upset with me, cannot recall exactly what happened. So, whilst talking to my prayer partner one day, I felt a nudge to call the man and speak to him. I did whilst my prayer partner was on the call and he asked my best and final offer. Again, I felt to say £236k but ended up saying £240k. I think I said £240k because I really wanted a house and was scared he would not accept £236k despite being led to say so. I was also worried he will get upset.

He accepted the offer and told me to call the agent. But it was after 5pm hence I sent an email. The agent replied soon after confirming it was the man’s partner who was selling the house, therefore, the man had no right to agree a sale. I always thought couples should be on one page with such matters.

Finally, a few days later after convincing the agent to speak to the lady I got my offer of 240k accepted. I had raised the question to her, “Will she be willing to lose a sale because of 5k when I am ready to go?” That made the trick. I was elated – finally could see my dreams of being a homeowner in 2019 coming true. I had it as goal on my insta profile.

To be continued next week…

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