Sunday, 16 March 2008

Real Estate

I have bought property in Britain, and this was my experience.

The estate agent was just anybody. No qualifications apart from the gift of the gab, boy racers, girl Fridays gone feral.
They showed houses, they talked the talk and then they passed on your offers, verbal offers that meant nothing.

If you had an offer accepted, it meant nothing, but you'd contact a solicitor or conveyancing firm. And then you'd wait.
You might wait until a chain of five six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven buyers and sellers manoeuvred themselves into place. Then the wheels of that number of solicitors started grinding slowly.
Chains collapsed.
Some were patched up with a new buyer. Eventually, after any number of months, all of the lawyers, building societies or banks, and all of the people in the chain, were ready set a completion date and to exchange contracts.
Once contracts were exchanged, it was all systems go and on one single day, everyone in the chain would load up their belongings into a lorry or van and wait somewhere, homeless for an hour, until their solicitor rang the estate agent to say the money was in, and they could finally collect their new keys and move in.

Here, I'm having to learn a new system. It's quicker. It's more professional, but it's fecking scary.

The realtor has qualifications. They line up viewings with other realtors and they take you round. You have a realtor not just to sell your property, but also to buy. And you have to work out which you are going to do first, because the longest chain you are going to get is two.
The realtor talks to the other realtors. She or he advises you. You go and sort out finance. And then, when you make on offer, the realtor drafts it, wraps it up tight and then personally delivers it to the seller's agent. Once accepted, it's binding unless you or they fail to meet certain criteria. And it can all be very quick.

Yesterday we viewed.
One realtor, not ours, asked me if I preferred modern or contemporary. I hesitated a second, wondering if this was a trick question.
'They're the same thing,' I said.
'When I say contemporary, I mean traditional,' she said.
'But contemporary means modern,' I said, sharply, fed up now with this game where you can make up the meaning of language to suit yourself, annoyed by her clanging voice and impertinent questions. Appalled by her little suede shoes that turned up at the end like some ridiculous pixie footwear.
Go away, I thought, you're not my realtor, go away.

We're in the system, on the rollercoaster.
My stomach is either way behind me or way ahead and I'm really not sure which.
But that's just me.
Kevin has four days to move mountains. And then some.

1 comment:

Sleepy said...

Ooooh.... Nice floors!