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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

Best Laid Plans

Tim Hodges of Vincit Group comments on his latest activity in property development

In any business, plans are laid down which could be anything from diarizing the calendar for tomorrow to a 5-year forecast. As developers, we plan for the future in all aspects from acquisitions, funding and sales and have plans for the next 10 years so we like to think we've got everything covered. Cue North London deal!

I mentioned briefly a few months back about an exciting deal that we exchanged on in North London which was a site of four houses with a car park that had planning approval for nine flats. We had realized the site had a lot more potential so our CEO, Prab Paul, went to work to secure an exchange at £800,000. Fast forward a year and we exchanged at £900,000 with a three-month completion which enabled us to start the process for the enhanced planning process. All good so far, but a day before completion our solicitor contacted us to say the necessary transfer documentation hadn't been signed and the owner was not replying to his solicitor's calls. At this point we weren't overly worried as we presumed all of the necessary paperwork would be in place; why wouldn't it be, right? Why would you want a £900,000 payment coming into your bank account to be delayed?

So the day of completion in June came and went with no sign from the vendor! Now, I have heard of completions being delayed but always from the buyer, never from the vendor. This completely threw a curve ball at us especially when we had NatWest lined up for the first charge lending and debt investors who were costing us money whether or not we completed. After many phone calls and emails the vendor's solicitor contacted us to explain there had been two deaths in the family so could we please be patient and the vendor has promised to respond shortly. Obviously, that's terrible news and completely understandable so we didn't want to push it but at the same time we had an unsettling feeling something else was up.

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