Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ghosts, love and tristesse

Tuesday 13 January 2015

5 degrees  crisp and clear skies

Mail out two new properties which have just come to market - the old church house with the scary cracks and one that has been bubbling under since before Christmas, and the owner has finally got around to signing the permission to sell document.  

The latter house is in a gorgeous village with an excellent restaurant, a chateau which opens its gardens for visitors and a beautiful river.  The owners are a couple who came together after having had children with other partners.  They then had some more children. The living room and kitchen are massive and the bedrooms are like cubicles as they all have been divided up.  The garden has been intensively trampled, mined with small plastic objects, and has seen many parties. Each house has its own resonance. This house resonates love from every stone and beam. 

It is interesting that some houses sell immediately and yet others stick.  They can be similar in size and location and condition.  They can be similar in price.  And yet the properties which stick sell for significantly lower prices and take much longer before someone is ready to take the plunge and go for it.   I used to have for sale the house of a notary.  He had left his wife and moved in with his secretary.  The ex wife and the surly children were left in the house.  It was in great condition and a great location and a reasonable market price.  Did it sell? - not for nearly three years.   The basement had the worst feeling about it - the notary kept his guitars there and I felt that he had spent many hours, strumming sad tunes down there.  People would see the house from the outside and see the garden and get really excited.  This feeling would dissipate within 2 metres of entering the front door. They would come out and look confused.   The French summed it up in one word  'triste'.  This was a sad house.

Other houses are eery in the sense that it looks as if the owners just upped and left.  Their knitting is still in the basket at the side of the fireplace, their clothes are still in the wardrobe and, in the cases of the larger old houses, the beds are still made.  There is a certain kind of lumpy old bedding which creates the look I call 'dead people beds'.  Yellow, stained pillows and staring china dolls complete the look.  These houses are as cold as the grave, doors open with a small scream as they scrape on the mouse droppings, floors creak when no one is standing on them.

My one experience of a spirit is when I was showing a house to an English couple.  The lady and I were upstairs looking at the bedrooms.  The man was downstairs, looking at the boiler. We both heard footsteps on the stairs.  The lady shouted out that we were in the end bedroom.  Silence.  I was looking out of the window and saw her husband in the garden. There was no one in the hallway or the stairs or the landing.  We closed the shutters very quickly and went back downstairs.

I attempted to fill in an application form for WF for an insurance apprenticeship.  Was defeated by the 'describe a memorable customer experience' and 'what is your motivation' parts so emailed them back to WF.  Dog attempted to run off with group of walkers so OH took him out.  I went into town and had coffee in McDonald's and met couple of partner agents and showed them a country house with three acres of land.  It is a lot better on the outside than the inside.   The animals had better housing than the owner but you can always change the inside is what I tell clients.  Glorious day with wind up from Sahara and 19 degrees.  Snowing in UK where I used to live.  It is grim up East.

Met with owner of property I had spied on the Internet the other day.  The much vaunted 360 degrees in the ad were, sadly, marred by a number of close neighbours and an ugly half built garage.  The owner spent an entire hour talking and showing the house before telling me that (a) he had just received an offer of 6 percent below the asking price and he had refused it and (b) he didn't intend putting it back on sale until April.

I told him that first offers were often the best and he dismissed this.  Oh dear.  He may well live to regret that decision.

It was phenomenally hot in the house and I had to keep on taking off layers of clothing.  I could feel my eyes drying out.  Escaped after an hour and a half and went to big shop and had coffee and biscuit stuffed with white chocolate.  OH birthday Thursday - got chocolates and Armagnac for him.  OH not in good mood when I got back as I had been out nearly three hours.  He had made me a very long list of people to ring but had, in effect, shot himself in the foot as he had to make supper.

He made Cajun black stir fry chicken with stir fry potatoes and tomato sauce.  Yum!!  Dog then ran off into the night.  OH set off in the car and came back 20 minutes later to find the dog sitting by the back door.   He is in the dog house (metaphorically speaking).