Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Pastures New

Today, a teaching colleague of mine is upsticking and moving, with her husband and young daughter, across the globe to Oman. I don't blame her; she is an excellent teacher and was treated appallingly by our school, hence her 'That's it! I'm going abroad to teach,' decision, and the Omani school where she has secured a post will value her and pay her well, and put her in a lovely apartment with air conditioning, a laundry service, a chauffeur and all manner of other bonus extras. And if I could cope with heat, which I can't (three days of hot 'n' humid in Kent has turned me into the Borgia Banshee from Hell) I might feel inclined to do similar. Because it is a crazy adventure and that is what life should be.

And on another level I am full of admiration for the way in which she has organised the whole move from here to there in two months, and all the faffing that goes with it. But once she made up her mind, she just got on and did it, and a part of me wishes I could be like that - a life participator rather than a life spectator. But crazy adventures scare me - one part of my mind tells me I can do it and all will be well, because these things generally are, and another part is screaming, 'BUT WHAT IF YOU LOSE EVERYTHING AND END UP LIVING IN A BIN?'

Hence, I found myself on various websites yesterday exploring the concept of 'how-to-sell-your-house-without-paying-estate-agents-loadsa-cash-for-doing-very-little', which in hindsight of our attempted move three years ago is what they apparently did. Or did not. I've completely lost track of that sentence...sorry!

The websites stated various pros for using an estate agent:

Pro 1 - they will show prospective buyers around your house. Will they?? Ours never did. We did all the showing around, and on the one occasion we asked them to do it, it was so much hassle trying to fit the agent's timings in with the viewees' preferred time and our wish not to be there because we had stuff to do, that we ended up doing the viewing ourselves anyway and I think I may have made a half-serious comment to the agent that 'perhaps you could knock a few pounds off your fee as we seem to be doing most of the work, ahahahahaha!'

Pro 2 - the agent will vet all buyers to make sure they are serious about house buying and not merely having a nosey around because they are bored with their lives. Really? Would that be why, when we did get an offer and got to solicitors-becoming-involved stage, that the buyers suddenly vanished into thin air because no-one had bothered to check their finances were in place? Ha!

Pro 3 - the agent will take professional photos, professional measurements and write professional text about the features of your house. Oh well, excuse me, but where's my digital camera, tape measure and oh, degree in English literature? And given our agent had three goes at getting things right, I think we can manage that aspect perfectly well, thank you.

Pro 4 - the agent will liaise with other agents and solicitors. Again, I can use a telephone perfectly well, PLUS I won't waste time hanging around chatting to other agents about estate-agenty stuff like awkward buyers and sellers and the states of people's bathrooms/ carpets/ bright green wallpaper and how on EARTH do they think they will sell a house with the decor tastes of a colour-blind emu? No, I save my gossip button for gossiping about schools, thank you very much. There will be no messing about, especially as I have nearly run out of oestrogen and all the lovely, caring tweeness that goes with it.

So as far as I can see, the pros of an agent simply do not add up to the three or four thousand pounds they want in return for their 'services.' I now know that a 'For Sale' board must be no bigger than 60 x 80 cms. I know the questions I need to ask people before they come to view the house in order to weed out any sightseers and weirdos. And I know to make sure I am not alone when showing people around; my Plan B in case I should be short of human company is, in fact, Plan Bee, in that I shall wear a beard of bees 'pon my chin - that'll make people behave, I reckon!

Will we have a go at selling our house ourselves? I don't know. I think we could do it. It would be an adventure. We're not having to meet a deadline. It's all very 'when it happens it will happen philosophy.' When the house sells, it sells, be it in a week, a day, a year or never.

Anyway, 'Bon Voyage, Kim!' and may your brave decision reap you many benefits. Stay cool, and enjoy your adventure!

Hats off to you! (And then back on again, because it's jolly hot here in Kent today and us pale flowers do burn so easily!)


Ollu said...

Haha, love that comment Denise 'I have nearly run out of oestrogen and all the caring tweeness that goes with it'. So THAT'S why I've started snapping at checkout assistants who throw the shopping about, and barging people out of the way so I get the last seat ... it all makes sense!

Olly said...

Sorry, that was Olly - can't even spell my own name (lack of oestrogen again, you see) :)

Denise said...

I have to say, Olly, that I am finding the oestrogen slump quite liberating. Apparently, it is the phenomena that makes it easier to push the babies out of the nest, because waning levels turn women from caring earth mothers into ruthless harridans! I read a scientific report on it.

However, the report said nothing about it affecting your spelling abilities, so you can't use that as an excuse. Back to the scrabble with you!