The glossy brochure in glorious
colour was printed and published last week.
It did our house full justice.
Well, at any rate I thought so.
Wreathed in wisteria, bathed in sunshine, the place looks the very
epitome of the substantial English country home. The garden shots suggest a corner of Eden. The price is reasonable. I’d buy it like a shot, at the offering price.
In that frame of mind, naturally we
expected house-hunters to be storming the offices of our agent, or at least flooding
the telephones, the punters demanding excitedly, “When can I get to see this
house? Is today possible? How about right now?”
Well it didn’t happen. What did happen, after the brochure went
on-line, was precisely nothing. Nada,
nichts, zilch, bugger all.
“It’s early days, yet,” our agent
purred reassuringly. “And don’t forget,
we’re coming into the holiday season.
Schools are out and a lot of people are away.”
All or which is undoubtedly true. But it fails to reassure. The only reassurance in the entire business
of selling a house – not to mention buying one – is when contracts are
completed and the money has changed hands.
“There’s no point in getting
stressed,” said a kindly neighbour last week.
“A buyer will show up, sooner or later.”
This was kindly and sensible advice, but a mite misplaced from someone
who recently took his own house off the market after nine months, having failed
to attract a single bid close to the asking price.
No, we’re not stressed yet. In fact, we’re not stressed at all. We love the place. Someone else will.
But still, it’s hard to keep away
the nagging worry that arrives while one is shaving, or showering, or weeding
the garden to keep the place looking cared-for, that no one will show up, not
ever, the message writ large: “Let’s face it, our house is unsellable.”
We’ve already prepared
excuses. We should have extended or at
least updated the kitchen. We should
have put a swimming pool in, instead of that bloody pond, which a new owner
will probably fill in. We should have installed
new dormer windows to give the house more bulk. And so on ….
What we should have done, one can
only conclude after completing the list, is pulled the bloody place down and
built the kind of mansion that’s fit for a footballer’s wife, or a minor
Russian oligarch, a palace with a kitchen the size of a tennis court; a wine
cellar; a lap pool in the basement; a gymnasium; a cinema/media centre; a six-car
garage. All nestled behind a broad entrance portico enhanced with imposing
Many of our ad hoc advisers ventured
that we’d set the price too low. We
secretly agreed with them, longing to say so out loud. But now, after a week of silence like that
which must have settled over the Somme when
the firing stopped, we’re wondering if it’s just a tad too high …. perhaps if
we were too shave it by a few thousand …. after all, the market is softening
….. and older houses like ours are out of style …. and there may well be a
stock market crash coming.
Come on, enough of that. Stand fast, captain, steady the ship.
What we’re just finding out, all
over again, is why selling a house is such a disagreeable experience. It’s
because the whole process is intellectually disabling. Reason flees to brutish beasts. Analysis gives way to wild speculative imaginings.
We must carry on. But carry on doing what? There’s nothing to be done, except to wait
for the telephone to ring. Ah, it’s
ringing now! Just perhaps …..