Tomorrow morning, we meet with the estate agent and the vendor to discuss the draft contract which our solicitor has drawn up (in English, thankfully). It's apparently likely that the vendor will want some changes, and I suspect we may too. The vendor and agent want it signed as soon as possible, and a significant deposit paid. We have some money we can pay at this stage, but until our house in the UK is sold, and all money transferred, we can't pay much. That may be a stumbling-block.
As far as the UK house sale goes, we still have no idea of the timescale. The lady buying it has kept in touch via email: the surveys have been acceptable, the mortgage valuation was as expected, and her mortgage has been approved in principle. The other people involved (helping with the deposit) should have their bank loan approved next week. We signed the necessary documents a week ago and they're safely lodged with our UK solicitor, to be produced as soon as necessary.
But it seems like one step forward, one step back (not to mention swing your partner, do-si-do...). At the same time as encouraging emails from the person buying the house, we've had less encouraging emails from our UK solicitor. He says that the buyer's solicitor is asking for written proof that we didn't need planning permission to change the house back into one private property. He also wants some kind of indemnity insurance since the deeds apparently don't show that there is public access to the rear of the house, and a shared side pathway with one of our neighbours.
I don't know why they aren't on the deeds, or why the solicitor we used 23 years ago didn't mention all these things. Nor do we really know what an indemnity insurance policy is, whether it can be obtained, what it might cost, and (perhaps most significantly) how long it might take to come through. Since we only had the last email from our solicitor this afternoon, it seems unlikely that we'll know anything more before tomorrow morning.
Still, it did make Richard wonder if we should insist on some kind of indemnity insurance policy here, as there are similar legal irregularities with the deeds. Assuming, of course, that Cyprus has such things.
We would still like to go ahead with buying the house we like so much. But even if we can manage to agree the terms of the contract tomorrow, we have no idea when our UK house will actually be sold, and when we'll be able to access the money we'll receive from it. Yet a completion date and final payment date will have to be written into the contract, which is legally binding.
If we decide to pull out at this stage (which might lead to loss of the original deposit we paid) is it common sense and prudence, or lack of faith? If we go ahead with the purchase, is it a step of faith or stupidity?
I wish we had some answers, one way or the other.