Friday, January 17, 2014

Real Estate, sales optional

It's been a while, I've been off wandering and it's far too hard to type on my tiny travel tablet.

I got home this week. The catches I'd installed on the cupboard doors had forestalled the invasion of mouse which greeted me last time I got home from a wander. The gas had been cut off in my absence, and because the real estate property person had also been off wandering, it was two days without hot water. Apparently some sort of gas leak had caused sudden interest from the gas company.  Luckily, it was in the high 30's and had been for some time, so a hot shower wasn't high on the list. This house has a fantastic outlook over the harbour, but lots and lots of quirks and foibles. In this case it was a gas bayonet, never used. The gas company was happy to identify that there was a leak, but offered no clues to the plumbers, it must be good for developing their investigative skills.

On part of my wanderings, I did come into contact with real estate agents in another state. The quirks and foibles of this house have led me to crave the relative serenity of home ownership again. I spotted something which fit the bill on the internet, and being in the vicinity, I contacted someone to have a look at the house.

I knew I'd reached a parallel universe when the conversation started with the alleged saleswoman (for she was a woman) sighing heavily and saying that she was awfully busy.  And she didn't work on Wednesdays. And Thursday wasn't really convenient.  I suggested Friday, perhaps first thing.  "What do you mean by 'first thing'?" she responded, somewhat warily. I was on the phone, but I could feel her eyes narrowing. After some negotiation, we settled on crack of dawn: 10-ish. 

Those of you on the big island with me may be surprised by this reticence. Usually, the scream of the german-engineered brakes roughly corresponds with the click signifying the end of the phone call, so eager are operatives to earn their commission. 

At the appointed time, we turned up, eager to view the property. We asked questions, admittedly difficult, such as 'Where is the boundary?' We established that she didn't know that, nor what the applicable planning scheme contained, whether there were any easements (turned out there were) - actually, she knew nothing about the place. She seemed to have found the kitchen by accident. The house generally fit the bill, the price was within the realms of reality, so I suggested that yes, I wanted to make an offer.  You know, to buy the house.

This was greeted with a barely suppressed moan, not, as one would expect, of happiness. Actually, it was more of a groan.  Well. If I could text her sometime next week perhaps she could get someone to type something up and maybe we could do something then.  My sister, always a believer in the work ethic, free enterprise, that sort of thing, suggested that if not later today, perhaps tomorrow, Saturday, we could do something.  The withering response, roughly paraphrased, indicated that work was not her whole life and she had to have some time at home.  And before we even asked, she had ironing to do on Sunday. (What does she do Wednesdays, we asked each other? Apparently not the ironing.)

This was just the start of 4 weeks of my life trying to buy a house in a place where only the owners apparently want to sell. I may have worked out why sales aren't high.

Because no-one there is prepared to share their commission, I had to ask different agents about each different property. One didn't want to show me a particular house because "someone might buy it". Riiiight. If they actually got to look at it. Because there seems to be a surreal, one at a time process in place which no-one explains to the buyers.  Or possibly the vendors.

Only one agent appeared to be operating in the real world.  She was the only one who actually suggested that she might have other houses listed which I might like to look at. This was a concept apparently not embraced by the others, she must not have let them in on the secret to her sales success. 

I still want to own a house there.  I may have to wait till it's my turn to look at something, or put an ad in the 'wanted to buy' column of the local paper, no agent need apply. 

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