Saturday, 30 August 2008

Mr and Mrs Chancer

I’ve been reading the hilarious and equally frustrating account by Debs Lehner about the trials and tribulations of selling her house in France. It’s no wonder that selling a home is up there as one of the highest stress generators along with bereavement, divorce and changing jobs. Heaven knows how we survive it and go on to do it again and again. The brain is surely the most amazing organ ever – just look at how it wipes out the real pain of events so that we go and repeat the process all over again – how else would women go through the rip-you-apart-don’t-you-fecking-come-near-me-again pain that they do to have more than one child? Now I’m not comparing childbirth and house moving, really I’m not, but dear God there are times when having a 40 hour labour would seem so much better an option. Well that or having electrodes attached to your nuts.

As my mother used to say, ‘the people you meet when you don’t have a gun’. Just stick your house on the market and you’ll get an idea of what she meant but I suspect you probably do already. Where do these people really live? I mean I know they live in society somewhere and that they move about us freely and that some unfortunate bugger has them as a neighbour but how do they actually get by in life without someone ramming a fistful of knuckles down their throat? Let me be clear here, I have never ever in my life been violent or hit anyone, (well except for when I was 11 and the 13 year old boy from around the corner took to bullying me and terrorising my life for a while. I soon sorted that with a swiftly placed and unexpected kick in the nuts whereby he dropped to the ground with his hands cupped around his throbbing tackle and finding it difficult to breathe from shock, finally rolled into the foetal position with his mouth wide open, eyes bulging and groaned out what sounded like a death rattle. I was pretty impressed with how one rapid kick could have such a marvellous outcome and of course he never bullied me again. Thanks for the tip dad).

However, I digress so let me get back to the point. Given that I am not prone to launching physical attacks on people or plotting their death it is with some amazement at the range and depth of emotions that house viewers can elicit from me. Take for example the creature that is more commonly known as the ‘House Tourist’. You know the scenario; the agent calls at 8am on a Sunday morning to ask if it’s okay for :
Mr and Mrs Noseyfeckingtimewasterandnointentionofbuying to come along now to have a look. Of course you don’t know they are called that because they fool you by using a nom de plume like Mr and Mrs Smith to throw you off the scent and let you think they are serious punters. Anyway, they just happen to be in the area so could they just sneak a little peak?; won’t take long, the agent assures you with his chirpy happy godimightfinallygetasaleoutofthiskip tone which is exacerbating your terminal hangover from drinking formaldehyde or something equally organ rotting the night before. You stand there in your grubby dressing gown that you knew you should have tossed on a bonfire let alone washed, take a look around at last night’s dinner party chaos that you were too tired/comatosed to clean up at the time and you know that if you possessed a pistol you would just take the easy way out. You want to tell the agent to go take a bungee jump without the bungee but instead you put on your smiley nice voice, negotiate 30 minutes ‘to let the children finish breakfast’ and dash around like a loony kicking things under beds and couches, ramming stuff into already overstuffed cupboards, break several prized bits of crockery as you attempt to empty and reload the dishwasher at record speed just to get a semblance of a clear worktop here and there. Then if you’re lucky you get to scrape your hair back tightly into some sort of tight sink-estate-face-lift type look which coupled with red-eye and a face gray from blood loss because your body needs it for the major organs to fight off the alcohol onslaught, you look the sight you feel. It is a truism that you get the face you deserve in life.

With only seconds to spare you pull on trackie bottoms and a top and they arrive sans estate agent who incidentally is being paid shed-loads to show these bloody people around, but no, he’s busy destroying someone else’s Sunday arranging for more tourists to tramp about someone else’s house like it was ‘open to the public stately home season’. They ooh and aah all the way around, get disappointed that there isn’t a little old lady sitting by a roped off area in each room to chat to and wonder where the bloody cafe is. In time they take their leave but only after delivering the parting shot that they ‘loved your house, it was just as they always thought it might look and that even though they aren’t in the market to move, (probably because a fecking care home is more in their line), they thought that as the house was up for sale, you wouldn’t mind them having a look because as you’re showing people around anyway, another pair wouldn’t be any more trouble. It’s at that point if you did have a pistol, you would be committing homicide instead of suicide.

Then there is the:
I’lljustknockonthedoorandseeificanwhizroundwithoutanappointmentatsomeungoldlyeffinghourinthemorning waller who’s true agenda is to hopefully negotiate a huge discount because ‘let’s face it, if the agent doesn’t know and we don’t tell him we can pretend that this is a private sale and I’ll get to keep the agents fee and you get a sale – deal?’ Err, no, you cheating git, no sale because you woke me up at 8am on a Saturday morning by kicking on my front door like a police bust was in operation, and because you are too arrogant to make an appointment like most well mannered people, and because my house looks like if a grenade went off it would tidy it up and because you are happy to suggest we cheat the agent out of the fee, you will probably cheat me too.

Well dear people, both these types of people, (and more), came into my life when I was selling a home many years ago. It was a lovely little mews cottage in a row of lovely little mews cottages and a joy to live in. The chancer/opportunist viewer happened upon my place on a Saturday morning at 8am or so. Only the day before my then partner and myself had experienced a protracted journey home from Hong Kong. At this time on the Saturday morning, myself and he were exhausted and in a deep slumber when all hell broke loose. Dear God, we thought a herd of wildebeest were trampling their way through our front door. We ignored it and rolled over but the noise was relentless. Clearly it was an emergency we thought and pulling on dressing gowns, dashed downstairs wondering what the hell was wrong, Cue door opening partially and my partner and me squinting in the bright sunlight at three strangers.

“We hope you don’t mind, but we saw your for sale sign”, the lead chancer barked out rather army like in tone.

“Yes, and.....?”, my ex asked in return with a thunderous look. He was still foggy headed with sleep and jet lag and so being woken up so bloody rudely to be told they had seen our for sale sign wasn’t going down a storm here.

“Well....., we rather thought that as we are in the area you wouldn’t mind showing us around?”.

“What ? Now?”, we both asked incredulously standing there with mangled hair, sleep encrusted eyes and wearing nightwear a tramp would have thrown out. We weren’t exactly prepared for it.

“Well yes, isn’t inconvenient is it?”, chancer number 2 asked quite pompously as she popped her head around from behind chancer number 1. Chancer number 3 just looked on gormlessly.

“Sorry, no, as you can see we aren’t really prepared for an impromptu visit”, my partner said politely as I mentally ransacked our house and saw wanting in every room. No, definitely too messy to let anyone in just yet. Crikey, they were quick, the house had only gone on the market the day before and we’d calculated we’d have a day or so to tidy up before anyone came.

“You see”, I offered in support, “we’ve only just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and not only are we exhausted, but the house could do with a bit of a tidy before anyone has a look. We’d really be much happier and in a much better position to let you have a look round later”.

“Perhaps you can give the agent a call, get a time convenient to both parties and we’ll see you then. Okay?”, my partner insisted, expecting they would see our predicament and like most normal people get their arses out of our faces and let us get some sleep.

“So, can we come in or not?”, a booming voice from chancer number 2 shot back as though the last few sentences from us had never been uttered.

My partner’s mouth dropped open as he realised he must be talking to the human equivalent of a radio – all output, no input and tuned to the one station. “I beg your pardon dear?”, he asked adopting the rather pompous tone that she had just used with him. “Did I not make myself clear that now is simply not convenient so will you please.....”

.......“Oh come on, just a quick once around the block, we’ll not be long, promise, and if we take our time down here, you two can go and get dressed up there before you let us have a scan around that”, said chancer number 1 in a stroppy overbearing tone whilst pointing to the upstairs of the cottage. “C’mon, what’s your problem?”, he continued. “Surely you can manage that? Then we’d be out of your hair in no time and you can pop that little filly of yours right back in the sack”, he snorted a leery little laugh and winked at him as he said it.

Oh mother of God, the cheeky bastards. There was no way I was putting up with this or going to get changed in my home whilst leaving a bunch of strangers to rummage their way through my house unsupervised. I moved my ex rather snappishly out of the way and pulled the door open further so I could get my face into the trio of chancers that were in danger of getting a knuckle sandwich from the exhausted and by now furious man of the house. If anyone was going to hit them, then it was going to be me I decided – less damage that way.

“Look, what part of ‘it’s not convenient’ don’t you understand? You weren’t owed an explanation as you have barged you way in here ,but we were polite and gave you one so now if you would please go and by all means take the agents number, we can arrange something for later. But not until late afternoon please? Okay?” I said firmly, hoping I had made myself clear. Good God almighty, what the hell was I doing discussing this stuff with these people on our doorstep. Clearly they were used to coercing their way around life but I was buggered if they were going to get away with it now.

The thunderous look on the faces of chancers 1 and 2 as we closed the door on them was a sight to behold. Clearly they weren’t used to being refused much in life but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere, good things come to those who wait and all that. Chancer 3 had continued to look gormless and reminded me of a still life on a day out. He certainly had a future as a mannequin should whatever he did now not work out.

And so they came, later that day; chancer 1 and 2 with 3 following gormlessly along behind. Chancer 2 was particularly vocal and derogatory about what she found wanting in and out of the house. It was all I could do to stop myself rugby tackling her out the door and fecking her onto the street with her handbag to follow when I saw her kick at the French doors frame to test it for some imagined rot. Meanwhile, Chancer 1 drew filthy looks and shook his head as he tut tutted in ham acting mock disgust at decor and paintwork not being up to his lofty standards. Chancer 3 never said a word, just persisted with the gormless look and a shake of the head here and there. Eventually after much whispering, head locking and furtive looks, they took their leave oblivious to the fact that we were more than aware that clearly their tactics were to undermine the vendors, (us), then negotiate a knock down price for the purchasers, (them, or so they thought). Christ, eejit amateurs!

“Well that‘s the last of them”, we chimed quietly together, as the door closed behind them. But it wasn’t......

“Hello”, I answered, as I picked up the phone some 30 minutes later.

“Hello, Mrs Mob. John from Rip-off & Do’nowt estate agents here.

“Yes John, how are you?”, I asked.

“Good news, we’ve had an offer. Mr and Mrs Chancer would like to offer you xxxxxxx. How do you feel about that then?”

Oh how lovely, 15 k less than the asking price. Bearing in mind this was over 25 years ago, that was quite a drop. They were a pair made in heaven these two.

“No that’s not a problem John”, I responded lightly.

“Really, are you sure?”, he asked, obviously astonished and delighted that he didn’t have a battle on his hands and could avoid the usual rigmarole of rejection, back to the buyer to arrange a new offer and so on until a deal was clinched.

“Really, yes I’m sure”, I responded. “No it’s not a problem at all, because we won’t be selling to Mr and Mrs Chancer; not now, in fact not ever, no matter what the price”.

You could hear a pin drop as John absorbed the news. I almost felt sorry for him as I pictured him, for now, watch his commission disappear

“What?, YOU’ll NEVER SELL TO THEM? NEVER?” Are you absolutely certain about that? Why?”. I could hear the frustration rise in his voice. ”Are you taking the house off the market then?”

“No, it’s still up for sale and I’m happy for you to continue to market the property for us. It just isn’t available to the Chancers”. This wasn’t something he had come across before and I could hear him huffing and puffing away as he wrestled with a situation that he wasn’t sure how to manage.

“Well, what on earth am I supposed to tell them?”, he demanded as an explanation.

“Oh that’s easy”, I replied. “I’m more than happy for you to be very candid on our behalf. Just tell them that we love this house, we love the neighbourhood and more importantly we respect and like our neighbours to the point we wouldn’t inflict what may very well be tantamount to the neighbours from hell moving in”.

I quickly gave him an account about the coercive and very poor behaviour of our would-be purchasers and how under no circumstances would we be responsible for the erosion of such a nice neighbourhood. I tried to make him understand that sometimes in life there were consequences for poor behaviour and this was clearly the time for the Chancers to perhaps reflect on theirs. Being an estate agent and where the sale is king, he thought me mad and that I would change my mind. He was clearly under pressure from the Chancers and called several more times with increased offers. Each time, much to his consternation, he was sent on his way. He even called my partner to offer over the asking price but we were united and John was given short shrift by him for disregarding my instructions and trying to manipulate the situation. The Chancers never got that house and it was sold shortly afterwards to a lovely young couple just starting out in life who needed the carpets and curtains and a hotchpotch of furniture we threw in as part of the deal – it was a second home for us so we could afford to be generous with what we could leave and in truth they were doing us a favour taking it off our hands. Some two children and over two decades later they are still there and have no plans to move.

God knows where the Chancers ended up – six foot under at some point would be my guess. Wonder what happened to the gormless one and if the poor soul ever got a word in.


Leatherdykeuk said...


I never met the Chancers but I did the others. Thanks for the chuckle.

Lehners in France said...

Jeeze Mob, I'll tell you where the chancers ended up IN FECKING France that's where! Excellent post! Debs x et bon weekend to you and himself and thanks for the mention.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Leatherdykeuk - My God they were odious beyond belief and because we had sold another house in London we were flush with dosh and it was the most amazing position to be in. It could have been so much worse where we were under pressure to accept and then let them have the house. Being able to treat them in that way was no less than they had warranted. Thankfully they never contacted us directly by phone or in person but the estate agent said that they were a fury unleashed! Great eh?

Debs – They are everywhere these people but yes yours seem to be particularly odious. Thankfully you have a great sense of the ridiculous and write about! Gets it out of the system a bit doesn’t it?! I hope the and the Bobmeister are having a good weekend too. Bon chance mon ami!

auntiegwen said...

I have a feeling I had them as neighbours in Corstorphine, we ended up selling our house because of them. We had a shared garden and I was only allowed to hang washing out on a Tues, Thurs and a Saturday.

Not tremendously convenient as I was a shift working Staff Nurse then with a small baby !!!

Lehners in France said...

MOB, the scary thing is, is that we have to go through it all over again when we get back to the YUK! Debs x
Je vais nager maintenant! (I'm going for a swim) Bon weekend me ole mukka!
Haha Word Verification timewasters

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Auntiegwen - FFS what little dictators they sound. It's definitely a delicate balance getting the dynamics between neighbours right. You should have hung out the sexiest underwear you could lay your hands on just to wind up the misses if there was one!

Debs – oh bet you can’t wait to get back here and deal with all that crap! But you will no doubt write so very eloquently and wittily about your experiences. You lucky thing having the weather to go for a dip and the pool to do it in!

aims said...

People are always saying - what is the world coming too? Thing is - it's always been this way hasn't it?

There's always been this sort of person plopped down in our vicinity to annoy the hell out of us and just basically give the human race a bad name. One bad apple and all that.

Great that you could do that to them MOB. What satisfaction!

Kitt said...

Good on you! I'm sure your former neighbors bless you to this day (not to mention the lovely young couple).

I was thankful to have moved out of my beloved first house before it went on the market. Didn't have to deal with lookie-loos at all.

Working mum said...

What a tale! Glad you didn't sell to them. I too, have been reading the Lehners; I don't envy them.

My biggest bugbear was the 'no shows'. Have you any idea how difficult it is to tidy a house and keep it tidy with a two year old and then the viewers don't turn up? Maddening!

Josie said...

just thought I'd say "hi" , found through Cheshire wife, I'm 44 and not arrived at the menopause yet, is that good or bad? :-)
Josie x

Anonymous said...

Great story, and sadly not too exagerated I'll bet. Well deserve a prize...just found you but I'll be back.

Breezy said...

You should try selling a narrowboat then you'd see some weirdos! We've had one lot round here where we're housesitting with six kids all in floral pinafores (except for the dad) The estate agent confided that he'd been waiting for a chorus of Eidleweiss all day

Anonymous said...

This had me laughing out loud. Selling my house 3 years ago was pure hell. I think the same people who toured your home, ventured to the states to look at our home. I finally put most of our stuff in storage, nothing to pick up of ours or the girls. Starting eating off paper plates, paper cups, etc. We were going MAD. Thank goodness, it finally sold. I will never go through that again. I will move out first.


Casdok said...

Good for you!
And a great story!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

AIMS - yes human nature being what it is there will always be ill mannered people around. This story is exactly as it happened. I had the greatest of pleasure refusing their offers and we wouldn’t speak to them about it either. The agent tried to get us to talk to them directly, I told him that I would waste no further time on this couple and to tell them to move on.

Kitt – can’t bear selling a house and showing people around. I always get the agents top do it now or they lose the contract to market my home.

Working Mum – oh the ignorance of the no-shows. It is so stressful and as you say with a young child – murder. Welcome to the blog, will pop by yours.

Josie – welcome. 44 is too young for the menopause although some women do have an early one and that isn’t too good. Be thankful you aren’t there yet! Who knows, you might just coast through it though.

Moannie – welcome. No the story is as it was. I just loved being in the position to tell these people to sling their hook through the agent. Their arrogance was astonishing and it was great to teach them that life and bad behaviour had consequences.

Breezy – I laughed at the picture of the family Von Trapp paying you a visit. Did you not keep humming doe a deer all the way around behind them?

Eileen – Stressful beyond belief. Everyone should be able to move out and have it all done for them. People are strange and as we say in the UK, there is nowt as queer as folk.

Casdoc – To be in a position to teach someone a lesson in life for poor manners when they should know better is a great one. There is no need for poor manners as good ones cost nothing.

Maggie May said...

Good for you putting your neighbours first. many wouldn't. What awful people.
Selling right now is very difficult. I have a friend who was just about to sign the contract & was let down. She looks ill with the worry of it. Moving IS stressful.

Bear Naked said...

I know where the Chancers moved.
They are right here in Canada and they live directly opposite my house.
It is no wonder we can't wait to sell our house.

Bear((( )))

Stinking Billy said...

I left you a very complimentary comment on this one yesterday and, to coin a phrase, it appears to have disappeared? You would have loved it, wee mob!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Bear naked - oh we all have a chancer or two living next to us! Hope you either get rid of them or you can sell up quickly or even better just learn to ignore the bampots!

Billy - oh I didn't get to see your comment so I don't know what happened to it. I know I would have loved it though.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Maggie May - almost missed your comment there. It's just amazing how ill mannered people can be and waste your time and mess you around. Hope your friend gets it all sorted soon. I'd happily torch a place before I'd let some people buy it!

Mu Tai Dong said...

Its long I read later sorry english my the second of laguages. Also french from asyl zentrum..

MsCatCalls said...

Brilliant post hah !

rosiero said...

Good for you not selling tot he Chancers. I also hate the sightseers who come around and don't make an offer at all, because they have decided not to move at all. In fact they had no intention of moving in the first place.

Mopsa said...

I never, ever want to sell a property again; where DO estate agents dig up these weirdos? You were lucky to be able to stick to your well grounded principles - most folks just can't afford to and blench at what they are letting their lovely neighbours in for.(Now, if you can improve the construction of that last sentence, please do; the Chancers have pulled all my straight thoughts askew).

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I love your mother's saying. Yes, I've met a few lovelies while trying to sell houses in this country. Estate agents aren't worth what they charge. They never screen these people, may even be related to a few of them.

Anonymous said...

There are Chancers everywhere, I suspect.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

A little token of my appreciation over at mine for you. TTx

blogthatmama said...

Four months in for us and only one viewer who 'wasn't in a position to buy but loved it' (message left on the answerphone) I think it was the estate agent taking advantage of us being away on holiday. Glad you gave the rude buggers the elbow, the whole thing's a nightmare.

mum50 said...

Sorry, new to this scene. Just wanted to say great blog.

Mom/Mum said...

Found your blog via Tarte Tartan, so glad I did! am adding you to my blogroll. Excellent post!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Mu Tai Dong - herro! Stinking Billy says you are a troll and I am inclined to agree with him. What a raff! Still you seem to be a nice troll compared to the poisonous fat arsed hard faced one that regularly pops by!

Mscatcalls - thank you for such an accolade, I agree!

Rosiero - I know someone who as soon as she sees a house go on the market she is on the websites checking out the details because she is sooo incredibly nosey. I guess the internet allows her to satiate her tourist tendancies whereby before she might have booked a session to go trolling through your house!

Mopsa - yup I was lucky to be able to stick to my priciples that time. I would do it again anytime as I detest bad manners.

Coffee - I know one or two decent estate agents but mostly they deserve the reputation they earn.

CJ - Yup!

Tarte tartan - thank you I have saved teh award and will load it soon. Bless you, I am humbled.

Blogthatmama - I can only empathise and hope that you sell to some decent people soon. Fingers crossed eh?

Mum50 welcome and thanks for your comment. I shall pop by yours for a wee visit soon.

Mom/mum - welcome. Thanks your comments are greatly appreciated! I'll pop by yours too.

marmitelover said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have done the same thing. People get really angry.
But if you love a house you don't want bad people in it.
My mum always says "your name is on the door"when you find the right place.