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HOWTO: Not move house (In the UK)

So, you're thinking of not moving house. But you probably have lots of questions - what are the best things not to avoid during your non-move? How can you drag the whole process out as long as possible? What strategies will lose you the most money? Fear not; this guide will guide you.

Preamble: The family's breadwinner should be made unemployed after a slump in the semiconductor industry. After several months of searching, the only job available should be several hours drive away, ideally crossing a toll bridge. Make sure you are spending about £200 a week on travel.

  • First, whatever you do, don't get an estate agent. Instead, do the selling yourself - you can save as much as 2% of the value of your house this way. And it could help cause large amounts of bother later.

  • Next, make sure your house is fairly old. This will encourage your buyers to have three different surveys done, rather than the normal one.

  • Make sure some faults are found with your house. f you are lucky, your buyer will insist you have the repair work done before the purchase proceeds.

  • Aim to make an offer on a house you like around now, and have it accepted.

  • Try to get a buyer who has had trouble selling their house. This will allow them to back out of buying your house after the deal on their house falls through, and they give up on selling it.

  • Don't do any checking on the background of your second buyer. And when accepting their offer, don't make any mention of time limits - let them take as long as they want getting ready.

  • Ideally your buyer should have been bankrupt in the past. Make sure he hasn't have submitted the correct paperwork after paying off his debts. Make sure the paperwork will take a long time to go through.

  • Also, ask your buyer to have lost some important pieces of ID that would be needed to get a mortgage. Make sure it will take several weeks to get replacement documents.

  • Try to make sure both partners have a job at the place you are moving to. The long commute will cut down time you otherwise might spend working on the move. Moving jobs will also help ensure you don't have any time off available.

  • Be sure to spend several hundred having a survey done on the house you are buying. This will provide valuable information about visible faults you already knew about, like loose patio tiles and things that couldn't be checked because they were obstructed by furniture. Hopefully, it will not give you any useful information.

  • Make sure your buyers have not secured a mortgage - this will provide large additional delays.

  • Try to be an accountant, and aim to move at the end of the financial year. This will make it harder for you to get time off work.

  • By this point, you will probably have solicitors involved. Make sure your buyer's solicitor "often goes to lunch at 12:30 and doesn't come back". This will help make things harder for your solicitors.

  • When you are ready to agree dates, try to have work commitments that mean you can only move very soon (when no movers are available, and no-one has time to prepare) or in a long time.

  • By now, it should be at least 8 months since you made the offer on the house you wanted. The sellers should notice that their house has appreciated in value in this time. They should demand an extra £5,000 the day before you exchange contracts. Clearly, you should refuse. They should put the house back on the market at a higher price, making sure you loose your solicitors' fees and survey fees. Make sure you didn't get homebuyer's insurance.

  • You will now need a new house to move into. Make sure you're as picky as possible; take several weeks looking for one.

  • Settle on one that costs £25,000 ($45,000) more than you're selling your house for. This will help up your expenses substantially.

  • When you find a house to move into, make sure it will still take the solicitors several weeks to do all the paperwork.

  • Your buyer should be in rented accommodation. Make sure his lease ends at least three weeks before your solicitor can complete the paperwork buying the new house. Get him to make lots of fuss, even though he's fucked you about for months.

  • Put all your property in storage and live in a caravan for these three weeks. Try to do this in peak holiday season.

  • Try to have a pet you can't keep in your caravan. Foist him on family members at the last minute.

  • Have e-mail as your main contact with your buyers, so that you cannot get it conveniently while your computer is in storage.

  • Try to book your caravan at the last minute. This will stop you getting stuck with one caravan for three weeks - instead, you can be moved between caravans on the site.

  • Aim to stay in the caravan over a bank holiday weekend. This will increase your expenses.

  • Make sure your assigned parking space in the caravan site is underneath overhead cables that birds perch on - that way they can shit on your car numerous times a day.

  • Try to have only one day of time off remaining at this point. That way you can either exchange keys and have your stuff moved in on one day, then work the next, or you can spend a night with no furniture (e.g. no bed) and have your stuff delivered the next day.

  • Make sure the departing family have the phone disconnected and suchlike.

  • Ensure British Telecom have long telephone queues to get connected to an operator who can enable your phone line (Despite the fact their Indian phone operators work for a fraction of the cost of British ones, they should not employ enough to deal with calls in a timely manner; rather they should use the money saved to line shareholders' pockets).

  • Call to get your phone reconnected on a prepaid mobile phone. Make sure the prepaid minutes run out (disconnecting you) before you get through to an operator.

  • Make sure your able-bodied children are at university, and in the middle of the exam season. This will prevent them from helping you move in or unpack.

If you complete all these steps, you will successfully have not moved for almost a year, and you will have spent several tens of thousands travelling to work, renting accommodation, storing your property and paying for solicitors and surveyors. Furthermore, the value of the property will have increased, while you will have paid the current - higher - market price for your new house. "Congratulations".

(Yes, all these things happened to my parents. In the same sale.)

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