Friday 4 September 2015
Cool at first 12 degrees rising to mid 20's
Woke to blissful cool and wrapped up in my duvet instead of half wrestled inside a damp sheet. Air crisp and clean. Dog sprang out of bed and into the yard and shook himself and yawned and stretched. He then headed off down the road to see the neighbours and came back an hour later and looked depressed. They only come for the Summer and now they have flown back to their respective homes, Manuel to the South and the rest back to the UK. I haven't even seen them on bike rides together this year - just the man and the boy rebuilding the wall, and dog sitting and barking at them periodically, like an irritating overseer. Dog has had a wonderful Summer with them.
Take two cars and I go and meet the US client and show him a little town house. He says he likes it. He says he likes everything. Unfortunately, without the girlfriend, nothing is going to be agreed on. The good ship Leaving Normal seems to be stuck on a sandbank, not realising that the seas in which she sailed were so shallow.... OH turns up and we set off and stop for a coffee en route at a bar overlooking the walls and river of the beautiful mountain town. The client loves this. Then further South to see a chateau which I haven't visited in many years, but which OH visited recently with another client during my absence. It sits in the middle of its park and is a squat building with windows which remind me of a face. Actually, it reminds me of a storm trooper's helmet.... Anyhow, we arrive and this time the renters are actually there, instead of just the father who has Alzheimer's and refused to let OH in the house last time.... I haven't met these people before. They are very withdrawn, don't offer to shake hands, look anywhere but look us in the eye. The woman is keeping an eye on her Dad in the kitchen and the man is playing chess on his own in another room. Kids obviously at school.
The problem with letting a house is that the renters want to stay in it and live normally and are not disposed to show it at its best. A seller would present a chateau to the best of their ability. A renter wants you to sod off and leave them in peace. The chateau is looking dilapidated. Curtains and door handles are hanging off their moorings. There are water stains on the ceilings. It is dusty and full of cobwebs. It is also, however, a wonderful light filled property with stunning high ceilings, chandeliers, original plaster ceiling roses and wallpaper that just makes me drool. I do so miss lovely wallpaper. The bedrooms have a pale blue bird motif which is just exquisite. The client is enthralled and says this is his dream of chateau and what is causing the water marks on the ceiling?
We get back to our town and OH leaves me with the client whilst he checks out his little house, on which he is signing this afternoon. We are there a couple of hours. I play with the Senseo coffee machine. Client very happy. We have lunch in a supermarket snack bar as all restaurants are then closed and then to the notaries. I am representing the sellers. We do the read through and all is going swimmingly until we get to the question of the drainage. The notary says that more and more problems are coming up with the question of whether houses are correctly hitched up to the mains drains and many houses which the owners swear are hitched up, are in fact hitched up via the old septic tanks and there is flooding when people start using the water regularly. She says that the owners declare that it is correctly attached but there is no certificate. My client says he wants a certificate. The notary rings the owner who is a school teacher and therefore has her phone switched off. She decides to insert the clause relating to the certificate and my client signs his part but I cant sign without the seller's go ahead so we are just about to leave when the owner rings up and is very unhappy at having to pay an extra 80 euros. The notary is arguing with her and saying that at least if she has the controle then the buyer cant come back against her. My client's son has now been waiting for three hours at the airport and he says he really has to go. I take him to the roundabout before the auto route and then go back and the notary has just finished talking to the seller so it is OK and I sign. However, because the buyer has now gone and the notary doesn't work tomorrow, we cant give him a copy and start the 10 day reflection period immediately but have to post out to him in China.
Get home feeling completely wrung out. OH has been cutting the lawns and has not made supper so we have chicken sandwiches and red wine. I look up the anglo french law company on FB and discover they have the most appalling reviews - people complaining they have waited up to two years for work paid for up front, lack of communication, being fobbed off, never knowing when the paid for work will be produced. They are just con men and not even members of the Law Society. OH looks at their page and says it is bizarre that no names of partners are mentioned. I ring business manager and ask him to ring the buyers of the contemporary house. I am going to have to start doing visits on it again with other clients....