I've been rather distancing myself from the house situations (both here and in the UK) in the past few days, as it's all felt a bit overwhelming.
On Monday, Richard met an architect who was involved in the planning of the upper storeys of the house we hope to buy here. He said that he can draw up new plans which match what was actually done, get them inspected and registered, have a certificate of approval created, and ensure the deeds describe the building correctly. It won't be cheap, but he can do that, so long as it's within the next two or three months. He's even put it in writing for us (unusual here, but Richard insisted).
Why can he only guarantee this within the next couple of months? Ah, well.. this is Cyprus. He's one of the people who would be involved in the granting of permissions, at present.
Difficult moral dilemma there, although Richard didn't enquire too specifically about what this would mean. Was he saying that the house can't be made legal but he can get us a certificate anyway by pulling the right strings, so long as we're prepared to pay? Or simply that he knows the system, he can do it all correctly, and he's sure there won't be a problem? If the latter, then that's fine, but somehow we suspect the former.
Still, another architect confirmed that there's nothing actually dangerous about the house, and the only real difficulty is that in a couple of places the buildings are within 3 metres of the boundary. This architect said that that's a new law; for houses 20 years old, it's not relevant.
Our solicitor seems to think this is all fine, and the vendor has apparently agreed to all the terms on the contract. So tomorrow we have to go to our bank when it opens at 8.30 to get a bank draft for the deposit, and the plan is to exchange contracts at 10am.
Oh, and we have to pay the stamp duty at the same time (about £250) although we don't have to pay the vast amount for registering the deeds until we actually get them - which could be as long as the end of June.
Nor do we have any idea when we'll be moving. It partly depends on when we finally get the money for our house in the UK, and on how long it takes for all the paperwork to be done by our solicitor here to ensure everything is legal. Also, I suppose, it depends on when the family want to move out.
As for our house in the UK, it seems as if all should go through within the next few days. The council in Birmingham has said in writing that we didn't need planning permission to turn the house back into one dwelling when we moved in. So that's good. Our solicitor there has pointed out that the area we live in has lots of little semi-public footpaths that aren't mentioned on deeds, and it's not a problem. We may have to take out an indemnity insurance policy, but he hopes not. If we do, it's apparently quite straightforward (and another £200).
Last night Richard spoke on the phone to the lady who's buying the house, and she said she's just waiting for the mortgage to come through. It should be any day now, apparently.
So we hope and pray that all goes smoothly. Once we have a moving date, I shall probably start to panic...