8. Swapping Solicitors for Social Media: Impatient Sellers

With the mortgage in place and all the relevant forms filled in, my solicitors were deployed.

For cost sake, said legal representatives were located nowhere near Swindon, but their website and documentation reliably informed me they had a small office in Suffolk. The price I paid was so low I never questioned my solicitors’ insistence on email and postal communication and in return they didn’t spit in my envelope for paying them peanuts and putting Swindon-based solicitors out of business.

The next day I strolled down to the nearby pillar post box and posted off the initial fee. “Lovely county Suffolk,” I thought, “shame about all the Londoners though.”

For the best part of a month there was little more for me to do. My energies became more engulfed with buying, collecting and, in Mum’s case, painting furniture from around the region and storing it in the furniture warehouse (alias, my parent’s garden room extension).

Meanwhile, at work, people were beginning to realise why I’d been so stressed of late. Although I’d frequently commented on “looking at houses” or “difficulties with the bank”, many colleagues had wrongly assumed I was moving into a new rental property. Given my age and martial status I can hardly say I was that surprised by the confusion, in fact I was more taken aback by the ripple effect my purchase had on these same people.

Suddenly I was the Martin Lewis of home buying, everyone had a question to ask and apparently I was the girl to give advice. The hints and tips recited beside boiling kettles and in toilet queues was little more than a blended mix of common sense and random statistics from The Telegraph, and yet that was enough. I was the Marmite of the organisation, people respected me or envied my very guts. And slowly, oh so slowly, habits of those around me began to change. People stopped buying coffee, packed lunches started making a comeback, and a night in with a made-from-scratch lasagne became the ultimate date night experience. All subtle signs of people putting money to one side for an unspecified goal.

“What have I created?” I thought.

Apart from changing the psychology of my fellow workforce, up until February life was blissful (well, compared to the fiasco with BankUK*).

I suppose I was a bit naïve to think the sellers would let the house sale proceed on my terms. Throughout the entire mortgage drama there had been not a word from either of the two solicitors to suggest concern, so I guess I assumed that with things moving at a normal pace I shouldn’t have the cause to be concerned.

On February 14th 2017 the tenants of the house formally moved out. I knew this because a) They told me this when I met them to discuss buying furniture (of which I bought none) and b) I saw the van on their drive that very evening as I walked back from food shopping. The tenant had wanted me to buy his wares to avoid use of a van, which made me watching him struggle with an oversized pine bed particularly awkward. Unable to commit my vocal cords, I made somewhat awkward eye contact and mouthed “hi” in the winter darkness before scuttling into the house next door and telling myself I was not to go out again that evening.

On February 15th the chasing began. My solicitors informed me that the sellers’ Swindon solicitors were constantly asking for updates at request of their client. This was frustrating my people in Suffolk because they were not being paid enough to care or give five minute updates to first-time sellers who weren’t clients. I thanked them for letting me know and assured them that I’d see any documentation was returned promptly upon receipt and funds were moved into place ready for exchange.

To save boring legal and financial jargon, the planned exchange date fell through. The fault was not down to myself, nor my solicitors, not even the sellers, but due to incorrectly submitted documentation from my old friends BankUK.

I called Katie* to inquire as to the hold up.

“We sent both sets of documentation through, your solicitors should have read them and used the right one.”

“But why wasn’t it made clear?”

“They were sent both the first and second versions because of the difficulties we faced with your application before. If they’d read the figures correctly…”

I was already impatient. “I can’t believe this. At the final hurdle BankUK have messed up. Look, whatever documentation my people have got it’s wrong. They need a different form to either of the two you sent them. If the exchange falls through again the whole house sale might fall through. You can understand why I’m a bit frustrated, no?”

“We are aware of this Miss Bennett and looking into it now. I’ll remind you to watch the tone of your voice on the phone.”

“For Christ’s sake” I said as I hung up the phone.

I never spoke to Katie again.

I cursed under my breath but hoped that the sellers would accept the revised date and understand there was nothing anyone could do until Thursday, two days later.

That was when the seller’s fiancée crossed the line.

Before this situation had kicked off I’d met them very briefly to check out the white goods which were being included in the sale. From that I learnt the house belonged to the man and he and his soon to be wife were buying a new build on the edge of Swindon. In turn they learn my first name and I lived next door. In the world we live in that’s all she needed.

I don’t know how, but she found me. Of all the millions of Alices on Facebook she found my profile that evening and, in blatant convention of legal process and regulation, she sent me a direct message.

“Hi Alice, My solicitors have just told me we are not going to be able to exchange today due to BankUK not being in a position to go forward…We’ve been advised by our sellers that they are very reluctant to continue with the sale to us if the completion date is affected, consequently if they pull out we will have to too. Many Thanks.”

I was stunned. Was she seriously threatening me to pull out on the entire sale, over Facebook? She wasn’t even the owner of the property.

Eventually, after fully processing what I’d read I wrote back a response with the help of my parents down the phone. I sent it thinking it would be the end of it, but no the messages came in thick and fast from her, pouring her heart out with the added threat of turning at any point and making her partner put the property back on the market again. After all I’d been through and money already sunk in, I couldn’t bear the pain of living in the shared house next door, forever watching people go in and out of my ‘could have been’ home. I’d had enough, I ratted them up to my solicitor and under their instruction ignored all of the messages sent from thereon.

It transpired that the real reason why the house sale almost fell through was so petty it was almost a joke. My sellers’ sellers didn’t want to pay another monthly repayment on their mortgage which would happen if the exchange was delayed by two days. The news came to me via phone after we finally exchanged. It was one of the few times I actually spoke with my solicitors.

“But if they relisted the property they’d have to make the payment anyway?” I questioned. Surely no one can be that stupid?

The speaker sighed. “Yep. You’d think someone would have told her that before she started shouting and getting your sellers into a state. I don’t know what game she was trying to play and we don’t know why it wasn’t handled better as opposed to scaring everyone in the chain. As for the Facebook messaging, well that’s taken us all aback.”

“I suppose it’s the world we live in right?”

“Where rules don’t apply because it’s social media and everyone thinks they can be a solicitor,” there was a slight pause, “I’ll send you the final invoice via email shortly. If you can pay it ASAP we can at least complete on the original date everyone agreed to, even if the exchange was delayed.”

 

I did all that was required by me, signed a few bits of paper, moved a few digital numbers from one place to another and then waited. And as if by legal magic I received an email saying I owned a house.

No big deal.

 

(Names marked * have been changed for the benefit of this article.)

This post is part of The First Time Buyer Diaries. To view the full series (so far) click here.

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Facebook: The Importance of Unfriending

I recently did a feature article for The National Student on the notion of Facebook friends and why a clear out of them every so often is nothing but a good thing.

Check out the article here: Facebook: The Importance of Unfriending

What are you thoughts on friends on social media? Do we have too many? Are they damaging or do you see them as harmless numbers?

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(PS, this is really a more in-depth, more wordy, less bullet pointy version of an earlier blog post There’s a Reason Why I Unfriended You. However these guys wanted something more informative – don’t they know who I am?!)

 

There’s a Reason Why I Unfriended You

If very recent events have taught me anything, it’s this shocking revelation: Not everyone in the world wants to know me.

Facebook in all its wonderfully pointless nature drives us to want lots of ‘friends’, but everyone from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ‘it’s a waste of time’ Mumma Bennett knows that’s the concept of friends on social media is a load of baloney.

Putting one’s metaphoric geek chic glasses on, Google search (because I invest that much time into blog research), defines ‘friend’ as…

“A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.”

Bear with me, just trying to read between the lines here. Does it say “someone who posts ‘happy birthday’ on your profile”? Or, “the cute guy in class whose photos you stalk in an affectionate, totally not creepy, way”? No, no it certainly does not. I mean, who seriously wants even fifty friends nowadays? Imagine all the birthday cards to send, you’d never stop! Therefore around 95% of the people you, I and the butcher’s dog have on Facebook are, within reason, no more than acquaintances. They could be either on the cusp of friendship or a guy you met once in Freshman year. If any of this so far is an utter shock to you then you need to undergo the same experiment/evening wasting activity I conducted a short while ago.

Because I’m a shameless sell out, I’ve been trying to promote my writing/the blog through means of a Facebook page. (Oh, what was that? You didn’t quite catch the link? Here you go: https://www.facebook.com/MyHousematesAMermaid/) In the process I openly went out and messaged every single one of the contacts on my Facebook friend list. For each message I carefully thought about what to write, racking my brains for a shared connection or memory that brought us together in the first place.

Was it a cheap ploy to up likes? Yes. Was I curious to hear what people were up to? Yes, very much so. In a world of enhanced imagery and like-baiting statuses, I’ll take what comes from the horse’s mouth.

Most of the people I messaged did respond positively. I was dead chuffed at that. A fair few commented that they liked my work and they liked the page in turn (thanks guys, big up to your love and support). I got reacquainted with old ties, I told them about my life, they told me about theirs, it was great. Admittedly with 100 odd people messaging me at the same time (for one evening I felt like Beyoncé) most of the conversations tailed off after a couple of exchanges, but nonetheless they were pleasant and interesting. It’s funny to hear what the girl sat three seats down in Year Nine Science is up to now, and amazing to hear tales of Chemistry flatmates saving the world with new research in California.

On the flipside there were those who didn’t respond. Some of which were the people I thought I’d hear back from, even if it was just a quick “sure, done!” Or “no thanks”. A sizeable chunk of the no responders I expected, but for some there was no rhyme or reason. Other than they hate my work, that’s very much possible (and accepted – you can’t please everyone).

The whole experience has lead me to undergo a Facebook ‘friend’ clear out. Man, it feels good to do a social media cull every so often. So, if you’re wondering why I’ve unfriended you, here is a comprehensive list of reasons why:

 

  • We met once and haven’t spoken since
  • You were unpleasant to me at school but 16 year old me felt obliged to have you there
  • I genuinely don’t know who you are
  • You’re my friend’s ex (and we barely spoke when you two were a thing)
  • I don’t like you
  • You don’t like me
  • We wrote a group essay together. That’s not friendship, that’s me wanting to chase you for references at 2am
  • Too many statuses
  • I don’t want you near my holiday snaps
  • I don’t want you near me when I become a super, mega, sensation
  • You won’t even realise that I’ve unfriended you
  • You would have unfriended me yourself if I didn’t do it first
  • When I look at your profile, your photos, job, statuses, partner etc. only three words spring to mind: I don’t care

 

Reasons why you’re still my friend on Facebook:

  • You’re a decent person
  • I could engage in semi-awkward small talk with you (think the conversations you have in hairdressers)
  • You’re family
  • You’re my amazing friends
  • The stuff you post is interesting and/or informative
  • I’m scared for my own safety if I unfriend you
  • I’m on the fence and don’t want to have to awkwardly add you as a friend later on

 

There you have it. I may add to this after a bit more friend culling, wherein I may accidentally delete family members, close friends or quite possibly even unfriend myself in my frenzied state to clear out the baggage.

So Social!

As part of my plans to dominate the world with observational, British, humour and poorly photographed shopping items, I have now created a Facebook page.

To access the dedicated social media page for MHAM, click on this snappy little URL: https://www.facebook.com/My-Housemates-a-Mermaid-413270522389202/?ref=br_tf

Get liking and sharing bloggers of the world, I’m counting on you.