‘Hopeless solicitors will cost my son £29k in interest by delaying his flat purchase’

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Dear Customer,

My son recently graduated from college and I wanted to help him get a foot on the property ladder. This it’s not easy for young people these days, especially with interest rates rising rapidly.

In February, we accepted an offer for a flat, and then in March, we took out a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage with HSBC at a rate of 1.6 percent. As my son was a first time buyer he was at the end of the chain so we had to wait for everyone involved to find a place to shop. This happened in June.

We were keen to exchange and complete as soon as possible, however the attorneys we were using said they could not proceed with our purchase as they were in the process of being acquired by another firm, Axiom.

The attorney who was handling our file left and passed it on to another attorney. The second attorney said that he couldn’t work on our file because of the acquisition. Because of this, we waited and waited, then missed our target trade and end date two weeks ago.

We are now in a position where our mortgage offer will expire on September 10th. If we miss this date, we will have to get another mortgage offer at a higher rate. It will cost more than £29,000 in extra interest over five years because rates have risen sharply in the last six months.

The lawyer who is handling our file now is also leaving on August 31, so we will be transferred to another. A sum of £29,000 is a ridiculous amount of money for my son to pay for someone else’s incompetence. I asked HSBC if they would extend the mortgage offer under the circumstances, but they said they couldn’t, which I can understand since it’s not their problem.

I tried calling Axiom’s head office to talk to their partners and they promised to call me back, to no avail.

– DG, by email

Dear reader,

Being in a chain of properties is stressful enough at the best of times, without transferring attorneys failing to perform the basic tasks for which they are paid top dollar.

This acquisition was not a reasonable excuse for the impact these delays appear to have had on his son’s purchase of the property. He paid good money for this transfer service, and when he bought this smaller company, the newly named AxiomDWFM would presumably have agreed to honor the contract. However, due to the apparent chaos unfolding behind the scenes, the purchase of his child was now on the line.

Sensing the urgency of the situation, I contacted AxiomDWFM in late August to ask what the hell was going on. Although he never responded to me, you told me that since my involvement he had greatly intensified efforts to move things forward and close the deal before September 10th.

On August 31, he sent a message to say that he had finally exchanged contracts. He received assurances that completion by September 7 seemed safely feasible, but after the poor service he received, he didn’t want to hold his breath.

On September 7, he informed me that the purchase was complete and that his son was now the proud owner of his first apartment. She made me very happy to hear this and I wish her all the best. So, in the end, AxiomDWFM helped him, but he’s still very unhappy with the way he handled his son’s mortgage, and I can’t blame him.

I contacted AxiomDWFM, but they declined to comment on the matter.

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