Thursday 29 October 2015
Sunny 21 degrees
Fortunately the pheasant shooting season doesn't coincide with the maize cutting season so now there are tons of pheasants running around the fields and watching their erstwhile hunters trying to shoot deer and wild boar. These creatures are sensibly hiding in the still extensive forests which have probably existed since time immemorial and are relatively impenetrable. I actually saw two of them picking fallen grain from around the tyres of a huntsman's little white van whilst its owner was sitting and cleaning his gun and having a cig.
The phone rang first thing and I didn't quite get to it in time. 0-60 is slow first thing in the mornings for my good self. I rang back and was surprised to be put through to the notary of the goat farmers and she said wanted her to ask me if I could negotiate my fees. I said I would pass it to our business manager and asked if, as it seemed likely, the goat people now wanted to sell and the notary replied yes.
I went back to bed with my cup of tea and was mulling it over when the phone rang again. It was the goat farmer and he said he wanted to talk about the legalities of the mandat and I said I would get our expert juridique to speak to him over that and he then said he was selling and would be going out of the country and therefore if he decided not to settle with us right now, there was nothing we could do to touch him. However he didn't want to beat around the bush (subtext for I have just found out I cannot cut you out completely) and so he would offer us half fees. There was an expectant silence (on his part) and I let it rest for about a full minute. And then said I would also pass this information onto the agency. I then lay back on my pillows and smiled ruefully and thought, duplicitous bxxxxxrds.
It all started back at the beginning of the year with the Romanians who made the full price cash offer and drove over from Russia to see the place and then drove over again to sign the compromis and then it transpired they didn't have the substantial cash balance. They didnt have any money at all. So I recontacted the people who are now trying to buy and had been pipped at the post and they were thrilled and made a low offer which, over a period, we negotiated up to the point where the sellers said yes and then, when they couldn't find a new home for the goats, said no. The buyers said they would wait. The sellers said they would have to wait a couple of years and then the price would be more. All went quite for the whole of the Summer and then, a week ago, a call from an avocat in Paris saying could we negotiate our fees because the buyers wanted to go ahead and had tried to do so privately but the sellers were concerned (ie didnt want to be sued later) that they still had engagements with the agency. I said I would ring the sellers and apparently neither sellers or buyers wanted anything more to do with me. I was persona non grata
Under the conditions of the Bon de Visite, which people sign before going to see a property, it is stated that you cant deal directly with an owner for the period of a year. The buyers had waited a year and then contacted the owners, who were far more open to selling than they had indicated to me. What the buyers didnt realise is that under the clause of the mandat, they cant deal privately with someone presented by the agency, for a period of two years.
I rang the business manager and we talked about it and I also mentioned that there is a 25% introducer's fee (I want to be an introducer and earn 25% for passing on an email and telephone number) and he said he would see what he could do. Get an email from the head of the agency saying 'What a CHEEK'. Later get an email saying that we have asked for full fees.
I used to be wounded when people lied to me and went behind my back. I used to take it personally. What I have learned over the period of 12 years is that money makes people behave very badly and that principles are very quickly abandoned when thousands of euros are involved. This property is a 250 km round trip and I must have done six visits and revisits and compromis. I had my holiday spoiled by both the owners and buyers ringing me up non stop.
Went to see a lady whose sale is about to happen next month and we sat in the sunshine and talked about local people and how friendships evolve over time. And how some of them fizzle altogether. She is very fiesty and likes the word 'fxxk'. She is looking forward to new experiences in the north of France which will be her new home. She gave me over 100 novels and some leaves off her Gingko tree.