Monday 4 January 2016
Very wet - non stop rain
The thing about being an estate agent is that the show isn't over until the lady (fat or otherwise) has bought something with the opposition.... After the disappointment over the flat which she absolutely loved and which the owner forgot to tell me is actually, and properly, sold - I regroup and show some more houses which belong to my colleague's portfolio and they are similarly rejected so I organise a visit on a private sale and it is the apartment underneath the one she loves. As backup, I have two town houses with shops.
Because the client tells me she is going Monday, I have to ring up the clients on Friday which is New Year's Day but no one seems to mind. We are in the low period for sales and sellers sit at home, looking at the rain, and wonder is this going to be the year when they can move on. A UK estate agent estimates that a property is starting to hang about if it is on sale for six months. Here, if something sells in less than three months, it is nothing short of a miracle. The town houses with shops have been on sale for at least three years. There is demand but the locals are broke and difficult to please and the foreign nationals can choose to live anywhere. It is a fiendish problem and, as a seller myself, I am only too aware of the stresses. We bought an apartment block in town and the top flat, with its 42 stairs, took SEVEN years to sell.
We trek around the town houses with shops and the lady is very excited about the one in town, until she gets through the front door. The odour of dog is still, alas, very strong even though the owners have moved out. It looks dark and sad and as if they just upped sticks and ran South to a drier clime. Dishes on the table, shoes in the hall, a dried up bowl of dog food. The client starts reversing towards the door and we go and see the other town house which is charming but strangely arranged and this one is not a goer either.
The client is naturally effervescent but I can sense she is fading so I whip her around the flat underneath the one she initially wanted to buy and her fizz comes right back and she says she loves it. On goes the happy hat again and I can hear the reindeer bells faintly jingling. She says I need to come back to the house where she is staying and we can discuss the purchase process.
We get back to the house, bought by her friend through me just last year, and still knee deep in wires, cables and paint pots. Her friend persuades some paint off her hands and opens a bottle of rosé (it is 6 pm) and we have nuts and paté and drink. I listen to their phone messages and one of them says that the house owner needs to go into the maternity unit for 9 am tomorrow morning and to make sure she has a shower first. As the lady in question is in her mid 50s and has only ever associated with other ladies, this is quite a surprise and we fall about laughing. My client says she wants to take her friend to see the flat tomorrow, and will stay over a couple of days more, and I go home and OH has made delicious seafood ragout and opened a bottle of Cava. Fall asleep whilst trying to watch Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn...