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You don’t have to be mad to buy a folly, but it helps – Part 3

Part 3

By Heather Houlie

[Part1 | Part2]

The morning after the auction I woke with that feeling like somebody died and it wasn’t a nightmare, people were congratulating me but I really didn’t feel good. I was in a sense morning my dreams and a significant part of my childhood. I did not want to cut my ties with the village and had been wondering how my school friends had fared,. We had all moved for work and most houses are now owned by ‘incomers’ or are second and very expensive homes.

I ventured in to the world of ‘friends reunited’ and the two I had been really close to were there. A quick email to them got a rapid response, one now in London and the other had returned to the village. Emails and phone calls followed and arrangements were made to meet up.

There should have been few formalities with the sale of the folly but that was not to be, the buyer insisted on doing her own conveyancing and had upset my solicitor. She was demanding keys to a non existent door, let’s be honest, the place didn’t even have windows. Instead of paying the 10% deposit required she had paid £350 short of the grand total! Odd , but I couldn’t afford to dwell on it. More phone calls followed faxes of 12 pages in capitals and underlined were reaching the solicitors with more demands of keys. The poor girl was called incompetent and accused of lying , I really do not know what the person had thought she had purchased but she obviously did not view.
I was asked to attend the office to sign the exchange papers, the land registry papers were duly presented in hand written in a gothic script with a complete name change , deciding to give the building a form of her own name and varying titles, I gazed in horror to be honest it sounded more like a lap dancing club or a Vegas venue. the long suffering solicitor now had me to contend with as I refused to sign a document that made no legal sense. A compromise was reached when my solicitor decided to do an official draft herself, I left the office quite perturbed, what was going to happen to the place? I then phoned the solicitor asking if there was anything I could do, ‘ sadly not’.
The 28th day was looming I had the crazy idea that she was not going to complete and 5pm that day found me calling again, I now felt as demented as the purchaser appeared to be. ‘ No, she hasn’t completed, we cant get hold of her ‘ we don’t know what to do as she has paid most of it, sympathy flowed but I was told I would have to wait until Monday. Every time the phone went I jumped feet, when the call finally came to confirm that there was no completion I was dancing and whooping only to be told that they had to give her another 10 days. That was a hard 10 days, I never, ever want to relive, eventually the call came asking what I wanted to do, every one in the office knew my thoughts but I was entitled to sue for the full asking price,’ I am not going to sue her’ I stated with feeling.

I still don’t know what happened to her, one year on my solicitors have put a tracing service to try and reunite her with her money, she lost her 10% deposit which resulted in me gaining £2,000 after all the costs.
Maybe she still thinks she will be sued, I just have no idea.
My next trip home was a happy one, reunited with my Wendy house by the sea and meeting up with an old life long friend, he and some of the others have done well and returned home, a phone call to the farmer who has land behind me verified there would be no problem in getting equipment and materials to the folly via his land. The lads will help me and suggested a retired builder who would be happy to renovate the place.
The folly will remain in my ownership until I am just too old to get up that hill, if and when it does go, I will ensure it goes to somebody who will care for it, until then I will work on my retirement plans of returning home with a property near or over looking my little place, which should be completely refurbished this year and it will be for ever known as ‘the folly’.

This is what I have learned

Buy the legal pack or at least look at it in the sale room.
Warn a solicitor that you may be purchasing
Unlike my buyer, view the property , I know she did buy the legal pack!
Remember not only will you lose 10% deposit if you fail to complete, you could be sued for the full amount and costs.

Don’t spend the money until you have it in your hand, well, bank account, they may fail to complete.
Buy your solicitor a bottle of wine.
Unless you are legally qualified, never think of doing your own conveyancing
Nothing is certain in life.

[Part1 | Part2]