Diary of a high street conveyancer: 14th November 2022

I have been thinking whether there is any other item we buy which has a similar process to buying a house. For example, take a tin of beans. This is often cited when saying, “Well, buying a house is not like buying a tin of beans.” Well, imagine if buying a tin of beans was like buying a house.

Mrs Jones goes into the supermarket to buy a tin of beans. She looks at the potential types of tins on offer: there is the branded tin (we know the one!), there is the cheaper “supermarket own brand” version, there is a family-sized pot, and there are snap pots.

Mrs Jones considers which she wants and decides on the supermarket own brand. She puts the tin in her trolley – as she leaves the aisle, the shopkeeper stops her and says:

“Come with me – you need to decide how you are going to pay for this tin of beans, and you will need to see someone who can help you take out a credit card to cover the cost. And you need to come to the till with me now and buy this tin before someone else wants to buy it.”

Mrs Jones explains that she needs some time to get the rest of her shopping and goes to the next aisle. There, she is greeted by someone who asks her if she wants to make sure that the tin of beans is not damaged in any way – there will be a cost in doing so, but it will be worth it. She declines the offer but looks at the tin and notices that it is dented.

She goes back to the aisle with the tins of beans and remembers that her eldest child has just become a vegetarian which means that the tin she had originally chosen is no longer what she needs.

In fact, with the increase in the cost of living, does she need the tin of beans?

Mrs Jones does not know what to do, so she calls Mr Jones. He really wants baked beans for tea and tells her to just go for it.

The shopkeeper notices her distress and tells her how much better she will feel if she does buy the tin of beans. She doesn’t think that he just wants the sale as it may boost his bonus for the month. He also tells her that, due to the increase in the cost of living, there will be fewer tins of beans available in the next few months so perhaps she should buy them so as not to miss out. He also mentions that the cost of the tin of beans may go up and then she may not be able to afford it.

Mrs Jones feels under pressure. What should she do? The shopkeeper tells her that the store is about to close – this is her final chance. Should she buy?

Is buying a tin of beans like buying a house? Is there anything that is like buying a house? Share your thoughts below…

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

3 Responses

  1. I give the following analogies for buying a house: “preparing for a wedding” – you need to have all the little details correct for the big day, it takes time and careful planning! Regarding “when am I moving?” the analogy is “it’s like waiting for a baby to arrive – I can give you an ETA. The ‘baby’ can arrive earlier than expected but most likely it will be delayed due to complications that arise!”

    You can return a tin of bean (provided is it unopened), but you can’t return a house! Kind of like going to a market place in a foreign country – once you’ve bought it, tough luck! Trying to figure out what a solicitor might charge might be like buying a new car – you have to work out what’s included and what’s not – is it worth paying extra for the “air suspension”? Definitely if you’re looking for the smoother ride!

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