They say that when you are born you have only two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of being alone. Our parents coupled with our environment, the people we associate with and the literature we read, as we grow older, dictate what we fear.
One fear common in people who are looking to purchase a property either abroad or at home is Estate Agents!
Compact and bijou as we all know means – extremely small and elegant. The reason for this parlance is to cover the fact that the property must be well overpriced. The same as: possesses the patina of a bygone error, meaning run down. On one house viewing in Cowes Isle of wight – several years ago. We were particularly drawn to a property via the estate agents description and within our budget. The main focus was that it needed upgrading, had a large garden and sea views.
When we arrived we agreed – the place did need reforming. We were disheartened by the fact that the large garden was the sole access for the other houses in the street, but what really blew the deal was the sea views. The bedroom to the rear of the property had a mirror stuck on the window reveal and if you looked at it you could just see the sea. The bathroom window had a VW beetle mirror stuck on the reveal – Presumably, just in case you get caught short for a view.
No wonder people disbelieve from the disposition of some estate agents. Another encounter with an estate agent, this time in France – I was sceptical from the beginning. It was in the 80´s, Loire Valley. We were being toured by a French estate agent (immobilier) who had an English partner. The French man was charming, helpful and believable. The Englishman was not, he preferred to radiate a spirit of all-consuming greed, his countenance seemed ugly and put us on a back foot.
We eventually found the perfect property for us, before we told the agent, that night over dinner, he preceded to oversell the property and his final – what he thought was the closer.
He told us that the reason the French owner was selling was that he made a modest living growing fresh produce, but had enough of the constant raiding of the said garden by the wild deer that jump over the fence from the forest at night – in fact, they practically lived on the property. I nearly choked on my Chateauneuf du Pape and my significant other was in fits of laughter. The agent got the hump and left the next day. We signed with the Frenchman, secured the place and drove back to Blighty.
A month later we returned with our furniture and started our dream. Two days went by and one night we came back to pitch black, as I drove onto the land, we stopped and stared in horror, as we looked down the land towards the forest treeline there were eyes everywhere, high-beamed-stunned they eventually disappeared into the forest. I don’t know if the agent knew this for real but it was true. The deer did practically live on the land – at night anyway.
I do not understand why some agents lie (okay to do the deal) but surely most people know the score by now. As an agent myself in Spain before the crash of 2008, I had come across bad agents and good. The bad ones in my experience aren’t necessarily matchstick men, they are for the most part incompetent or lazy, not doing the job of finding the correct information – especially here in Spain, it has coursed myself problems in the past – when I looked to collaborate. It’s not rocket science to read an escritura, apply for the latest note simple or update the status of a property.
On the other side of the coin clients often speak the untruth. We’ve had punters walk in the office pretend they would like to view a property then sit back and enjoy the free tour.
One man said he worked for the Italian government and was looking for ten houses all in the 300,000 range. He wanted us to set up viewings and if he liked them he would recommend them he would also put a hotline in each house so if there were any maintenance they just called us and we would attend to them for a fee. Should have sussed it out then after the second house showing we got back to the office and he said, ‘right all I have to do is write a detailed report and I will send that to the government and hey will send the payment,’ he just needed 300 euros for writing the recommendation. I actually burst out laughing I was that fuming and then launched him out the door including his hat.
There is a saying in the real estate industry in America you are always best to be the first born, the second spouse and the third agent.