Art deco and Angst

Sun with lots of wispy white cloud
6 degrees rising to 14

First things first.  Ring up the couple who run the agency with whom I work and explain that the seller of the house is in torment and the buyer has currently refused to pay more than 50% fees.  First round is described in this post

We chew it over and the head of the agency says that the problem is that if we agree to 50% too quickly, the would be buyer may well come back with an even lower offer.  He suggests we knock off another 10 % and see how that goes.  He also says I could ask the sellers to drop another 1000 euros off their net.  I can’t ask them to do this and I won’t.  They are already selling 30% below market value.  Oh if only someone would appear out of the blue with enough cash burning a hole in their pocket!   Decide that, rather than naming the sum, to ask the would be buyers to come up a way and, in view of the fact that they are five hours behind in time zone, sent them a carefully worded email.  I believe that when negotiation is delicate then you need to set out your points and give the parties time to chew over them. Other times, you need to be like a swift scimitar but today was not one of those times.

Another blind offer comes in, again over 30% lower than the asking price.  I ring up the enquirer.  She has no idea how much she can spend because she has not made any enquiries about her lending capacity.  Notwithstanding this, they are out in six weeks.  I pass on our banking and lending partner details and send some details of properties which may fit the bill.  A client from the far plains where once roamed Hannibal emails to confirm our RV on Thursday.  I suggest a property to him that has just come back onto the books.  A gorgeous mill – reservation contract signed 10 months ago – and the buyer has just admitted that he hasn’t got enough credit to buy.  The sellers are fuming with the agent who apparently hasn’t communicated with them, and left them to deal directly with the notary.

This is my second bite of the cherry on this mill.  A couple from the US made an offer on it with me within two months of it coming onto the market.  The notary (with whom I no longer work after this debacle) had one month to produce the reservation contract.  Despite my providing him with all the information and documentation from the parties, four weeks later it was not ready.  The reservation contract is a pro forma into which individual information is slotted.  My clients got on a boat to cruise back to the States.  By the time they got off the boat, they had changed their minds.  If they had signed before they had got on the boat, it would have been too late to change their minds when they disembarked.

This notary was also the one who insisted that another couple of my buyers, come back from the UK to sign the reservation contract, instead of signing a power of attorney.  They duly came back, popped around to see the owner without my being present, and the owner decided to show them all the saltpetre behind the furniture.  They were terrified and didn’t sign.  Saltpetre isn’t anything to worry about and is present in a lot of old houses.

If you have a burning urge to read more about saltpetre, here you go

After lunch I head off south and the mountains are glorious and covered with snow as thick and crisp and glossy as Royal Icing.  The seller contacted me after I had spontaneously contacted all of the local gites and chambres d’hôtes to try and find some interesting new property.  I thought I was going to see a gite so imagine my joy when it turned out to be an early 18th century manor house plus a gite plus two hectares of land!

The owners have a thriving chambre d’hôte business and they showed me around the bedrooms.  Each one had its theme – one was art deco and had life size murals of willowy 1920s ladies painted onto the plaster panels which framed the fireplace.  There were stained glass feature windows in deep river greens and cinammons and oranges and a freehand painted chain of ivy romping around the dado rail.  Another room had special straw plasterwork and the walls had a delightful matt texture and, on close inspection, tiny chips of embedded straw.  In this room, chalk paint had been used on the doors and fireplace.  One room was being made over and the new sink was made of stone which came from Romania and contained many shell fossils.

Typical of a manor house, the tall pitched roof was slate tiled and plaster rendered, with interior shutters as well as exterior.  The windows were framed with substantial stone revetments and some were in original early 18th century style with a thick band of stone forming the base of the upper two panes in a typical two upper/one lower page configuration.

We had coffee in the drawing room and I told them that I needed to go home and think about the price.  It is going to be around a million.

Considerably buoyed by this experience, I went next to see the house of the couple whom I had met whilst walking around the lake on Sunday.  A large contemporary property, it sits on the outskirts of our town, and is on a normally very quiet lane.  A few years ago, a terrorist came to stay with his mother and was hoicked out by the national police, but that is another story.  They have two cocker spaniels with huge doleful eyes.  One was called Noggin, a word which makes me laugh.   The house was well built but suffers from its location on the plot.  Once built, the owners realised that the only way you could see the views was from upstairs, so they have an ‘upside down’ configuration with a huge upstairs room and balcony and bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs.  The kitchen was large and the man proudly showed me how every cupboard and drawer worked.  He must have spotted my huge doleful eyes looking at the De Longhi coffee machine because, after a while, he finally finished showing me the last drawer and offered a drink.  We sat outside and the sun was warm and they told me about their travels and the dogs invited us to throw golf balls.

Home at 6.30 and OH still down the rental units so I whip up a huge Spanish omelette and salad.  Very tired – ran out of my thyroid medication two days ago.

No reply from the would be buyers but, thanks to natty programme called Sidekick, I know that they have opened the email seven times during the day.


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