It has dawned on me over the past few months that selling a house is very much like Brexit.
First of all it takes forever. Much longer than anybody either estimates or claims at the outset. Of course nobody tells you it will take that long, that you will wonder if you should book things for weekends in the future. If you can book a foreign holiday because a) will you be welcome; b) can you afford it; c) will you need a visa or a new passport or d) will that be the weekend you have to empty the shed, the garage and that cupboard that nobody ever goes in. Everything in your life will be in limbo for the best part of forever.
It will all also directly have an impact on what happens to your spare bedroom. In the case of Brexit it is where you start stockpiling tuna and long life milk. Twice because the stuff you bought the first time will have gone off before you know it and you have to start eating it or donating to food banks before you start again. When you sell your house it is where you start hoarding boxes as you clear the attic and where you put the empty ones you have been scavenging off Freecycle to use when you eventually move, if you ever do.
“If we ever do” will be a phrase that runs through your head alot. Yes you think it absolutely has to happen because some has triggered something in a faceless office, either Article 50, or your accepting an offer but months later the “set in stone” deadline comes and goes and you begin to think of alternative outcomes.
Just like Brexit I can’t help but feeling that the whole selling thing would be much quicker, and less stressful if everybody were permitted to sit around a table together at the outset. But no. Nobody really talks to anybody other than their direct nearest contact, in my case my estate agent, in Teresa May’s case a Frenchman called Junker. My Junker is a man called Englishman called Graham. I am not permitted to know what anybody else’s Junker is called, nor where they live and there is no Barnier.
As the weeks have turned to months I have realised there is a reluctance from some parties to even entertain the idea of a no deal offer being on the table. I have been pushing for that this week as a member of my negotiation party gets stuck on a clause in a contract. I have told them to ignore it, take out an indemnity policy, do something, anything, I don’t care what, and that if it means there is no deal when we leave well that is fine. They can sort it out afterwards. Yet in the same breathe I scream at the people pushing for a No Deal Brexit to stop being so farking ridiculous.
Whilst I am firm remainer when it comes to Brexit I am firmly in the other camp on the house sale. I want out and I want out now. I have wanted out since February and yet here we are approaching June and I am still in. I can kind of see Farage’s point (though it’s fleeting and the only time I can mention him without a string of expletives).
There are probably others in this chain who are reluctant leavers, I even had an offer from one in January, She wanted to leave, voted along with her husband to leave, but then after I accepted her offer she changed her mind and decided to remain, much to her husband’s anger. And mine.
There are also reluctant leavers, those for whom this is not their decision, I get that, Downsizing after the death of a partner, selling the family home after a divorce, a reduncancy or change of job, any number of scenarios where you know leave is the right choice but it doesn’t make the process softer. If you are a fierce remainer there is nothing worse than hearing the relentless banging of the “we need to leave” drum. As anyone who has also watched Question Time will attest.
But those of us who are banging that drum are wishing we could have a wider audience than our solo Junker. Why can’t we have some kind of conveyancing committee where we can all sit down and work out who is the leaver, who is the remainer, who is holding onto the no deal contracts? If we all sat down together with tea and cake I am sure we could get the whole thing settled in an afternoon rather than the months, or years, it has taken.
When it comes to Brexit I am a firm remainer but when it comes to selling a house I am determined leaver. But I am not prepared to wait until 31st October to leave this one, I have issued a deadline of this Friday.
I need a Barnier. I need my spare room back.