Tuesday 16 September 2014

In an utterance that is unlikely to inspire people to gasp I keep saying, “buying a house is a fucking con.”

It is though. Everyone involved supports a massive ecosystem of reports and quotes that stand for as little as…deary me there are a lot of ends to that simile that are all truthful. Oh go on then: stand for as little as a Duke and Duchess entering a parlour. That’s right: etiquettely maybe.

We paid someone some money to value the house and they said that we needed to pay someone else some money to look at the drains. The estate agent said that was OK because they knew someone who could do it for three times what almost every other service provider could do it for.

The drainage investigator said there was something amiss in the drains but it was in drains where the responsibility didn’t lie with the property. So not our problem? Well apart from they said we had to pay some money until United Utilities has sorted it.

Then the mortgage people said I had a gambling problem so they would only lend us £30. Well they didn’t use the phrase gambling problem. And it wasn’t as low as £30. They offered us £46.

They did cite my gambling activity as a reason to reduce the loan to a level that made it pointless. Let’s put this in perspective. I can prove that my net loss gambling* is £120 in the last TWENTY-SIX months. That’s £4.62 a month.

I realise £4.62 a month was enough to sustain a household in the late century but these days it’s not. An absence of £4.62 is not enough to damage a household income. Can you imagine the embarrassment if I went to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and come out with that?

The conclusion one can draw is that it was the number of occasions on which I place wagers that caused alarm. Seems a bit to me that the broker would prefer to lend to someone who loses a million pounds at a casino once a year than to someone who puts 2ps on those moving shelves three times a week.

And what can you do? The fees we had paid to do with this lending were lost. Fees far in excess of my gambling debts I would add, noting the ‘free’ irony.

Was there a right of appeal? Well, maybe. Perhaps. But there was also a house to be purchased so we moved on to another lender.

A few days later and they have already agreed to a mortgage. Only for a small amount under the value of the house. Like a pointlessly small amount. Pointless as a fraction as a cost of the house but not an insignificant amount as, for example, a proportion of one month’s income for two people.

The reason for this is something not even mentioned in a report we paid for when we were doing the original mortgage. That report cost nearly £600. But it didn’t mention some damp issues. Apparently we have no recourse to the man who charged £600 to look at a house and make some comments valuing it that would be the basis of a loan for thousands and thousands of pounds.

But the report was the reason we paid someone else to the drains report (£200). But it’s not enough to do/prove/support anything that involves us NOT paying out more money.

The new report saying that there is damp – but not mentioning anything to do with the drains is, of course, on our tab. And our – very helpful and supportive – adviser just agrees that some of it is shitty but it’s just what we have to do.

“We’ve had a phone call from the lender. They want to punch you right in your fucking cock, you bastard.”
“What about that contract they signed in blood – that cost us £34,000 – that said they definitely would not ask to punch me in the fucking cock?”
“Yeah…well, there’s small print.”

I mean I could make something up that would be ridiculous to exaggerate it but the above DID happen.

*”Prove”, “net loss” are just words. If we are going to get legal or proof-y about it then then I can change prove to suggest in that sentence.

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