Friday, May 22, 2009

Selling Up

Well a procession of estate agents have paraded through the house and, just to make things nice and easy, came up with a 'big chunk of dough' difference higbetween their highest and lowest guesstimation.

I chose 5 estate agents in all (the scientifically approved method of typing oily, self-serving, robbing bastards into Google and seeing who came top) and they varied hugely from a cursory look through and what turned out to be the lowest price through to a very thorough examination and, of course, the highest price. Everyone else took the middle ground between them and presented with an uneasy mixture of practised over-familiarity and vaguely disinterested professionalism. Even if the 'thorough examination' one hadn't been highest we'd have likely gone with her simply by virtue of the fact she does her homework and (seems to) offer a fairly personalised service as opposed to the cookie-cutter standard set by the rest. Also I wanted to punch her a whole lot less than the others.

So now the fun and games start. There's a bucketload of stuff to do around the place, from the big and 'eek!' kind (extending pavers, scrubbing concrete and existing pavers), to the 'this will cost more than it should' kind such as a few repairs and some redecorating and finally the inevitable, dreaded de-clutter, storage and dress for presentation.

Fiona is thoroughly involved in what I suppose is kind of a homework assignment, immersing herself in tv programmes like The Unsellables and Selling Houses Australia. I don't mind the latter one as it features an English bloke I vaguely recognise called Andrew Winter who goes to houses that have been on the market for ages and not sold. What follows is halfway between character assassination and friendly abuse (well, he is English) as dear old Andrew points out the blatantly, blazingly obvious to the baffled Aus homeowners.

The last episode of SHA featured a biker couple (not a great start) where one was dying and the other had an obsession with all things froggy (ornaments, wall decorations, soft toys, live ones, toys and God only knows what else totalling about 7000 or so), which made you wonder which of them was more deserving of pity.

Though a Kermit-themed house was, indeed, a blatantly, blazingly obvious impediment to a sale, further light was shone on the mystery of the house-that-wouldn't-sell when Andrew Winter went out back and found that the yard stank of dog shit and the back of the house was stained with dog piss. See what I mean? Blatantly, blazingly obvious enough? Apparently not for the bikers who seemed to think that whilst this was a bit off-putting, all it needed was someone to be able to 'see through it' to the potential of the house and everything would be apples (which is pretty much my favourite saying, by the way). The fact that no-one in four years had so much as made an offer didn't seem to give them so much as a pause for contemplation. Even more comically, man-biker sprayed carpet detergent over his garden and plants to hide the smell of the dog-do. Needless to say, grass and foliage looked suitably unimpressive as a result.

The gardener/landscaper bloke on this show is, like Andrew, English and, even more than Andrew, brings a ruthless practicality to proceedings. In the corner of the garden was a small, creeper covered den of sorts, where the biker's (probably mulleted) children would play in. As mum-biker explained this, starting to well up and no doubt consumed a thousand fond memories of good times etc etc, English gardener said a cheery 'sorry!' and laid into it with a sledge-hammer. I think he was smiling when he did it. I know I was. They deserved it for the dog-poo, if nothing else. Also, Fiona reliably informs me, the bikers were fairly textbook definitions of 'bogans', a kind of slang Aussie term that means thick, uneducated, cheaply dressed and uncultured. We have those sorts in England, of course, but we at least put them all in East Anglia, one of the areas most likely to flood due to global warming in the UK, which proves we're certainly capable of forward thinking, if nothing else.
But Andrew and his team sorted it all out and got the place sold, so all's well that ends well, I guess. And now Fiona and I have to do the same thing and, assuming the place sells in fairly short order, we can then turn our attention to finding our dream home.

At least there's no frogs here, aside from the squeaky buggers that Missy drags in.

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