Monday 13 July 2015
Warm getting stickier later 25 degrees
Very long day of visits today. The couple were English and have been out with my major competitor who, fortunately, didn't grasp well what they were looking for, and only managed to show them one house that they really like. They are guilty of showing the client what the client said they wanted. In my experience, for non French clients, they never buy what they came to see - they often buy something which bears no relation to their original enquiry. French people, on the other hand, if they buy will buy just what they asked to see and cant be persuaded to see anything else.
Talking to my colleague the other day, he remarked that a good French client is the best of clients and it is true that a French person only looks at houses where and when and for how much he can afford. They don't look all over the place and then go home and think about it for months. They have an imperative to get on with things. And there is no endless translation and wrangling about details. They know the rules of the business and they respect them. They are infuriating with their obsession about double glazing and full central heating but it is possible to sell to them houses on main roads, houses next to farms and houses so ugly I would need a blind fold to exist in them. But there you go. The difference between local and foreigner demands is marked and at the beginning of my career, the only way I could sell to a French person is if they came through the agency door and insisted on buying something.
French agents, conversely, have trouble understanding the anglophone love of old stone and our disregard for double glazing, full central heating and the impracticalities of the property and the lack of insulation when faced with a property of such age and beauty that we just have to have it. French see the problems. Brits see the finished project. French agents show 'renovated' properties to Brits and the Brits are horrified at what has been done to them and think they would need to rip it all out. I remember one 18th century manor house where the wonderful cast iron radiators were chucked in the barn and, their replacements, air conditioning units were stuck like giant moths on the wonderful golden stone walls. There was a brand new staircase, in oak, but with disco lights on the edges of each step. It was a travesty. My French colleagues were enthralled. The gay Belgian and I were traumatised and went into a corner and muttered How on earth do the French ever get a reputation for having good taste?
I digress. OH decided to come with me and be my driver and I told him not to make things up about the properties and talk bollocks which I would have later to correct. The couple were in their late 50's and looked pleasant. We set off and saw two properties and then left them for lunch. OH looked frazzled. That guy is a boring, irritating bxxxxd he commented. I had spent most of the morning trying to find houses which were hiding themselves in the narrow lanes and ringing people up to get directions and had only vaguely listened to the bloke rambling on. I was very thankful that OH was there or I would have had to pay more attention. We had squid and salad and then it was time to go back out again and we saw a lovely contemporary home with pool. For a guy who said he wanted old stone, the client was really enthusiastic. We then went, eventually, to a house on the top of a hill where we got jumped on by many dogs, and then to see a house with my colleague - he had to come and get us - and then finally to a house back in our town just a short walk from the centre.
Before getting back to our town, OH decided it was time for a drink and so we went to the terrace bar overlooking the river. People were leaping in and out of the water and buzzards soared at dizzying heights in the bowl of the heavens. I asked for a panaché but got a beer and the man ordered a carafe of wine for the lady who couldn't drink it all and so I had a glass of wine too and I was OK until I tried to stand up. Her husband had a massive glass of lager, the second of the day to my knowledge, and looked like he was warming up. The lady and I were lightweight drinkers and both of us felt the effects. OH therefore parked over half a km from the house so we could walk it off. We were consequently very hot and sticky when we arrived and the owners gave us water and we must have been there for over an hour and then, thankfully, it was time to go home. Had to walk the dog and I felt utterly exhausted and very hungry. Fell asleep on the sofa at 8.30.