In the doghouse … with the dog
Much confusion — and ensuing hilarity — start my week as my newest vendor calls to ask why a stray dog has taken up residence in their house over the weekend. I scratch my head and turn an unsightly shade of puce as I realise the friendly dog running around their front lawn on Saturday afternoon might not have been theirs. Maybe I shouldn’t have made use of the house keys while they were away for the weekend, after all…
Fortunately there is only minimal damage to the hall carpet, which I offer to pay for, and after much panic the neighbours have been reunited with their beloved pooch. Seemingly I can recognise a client at 50 paces, but dogs remain indistinguishable.
Proof of funds dominates my morning as I help a British client living overseas to make an offer on a property just outside Newbury town centre. While domiciliary Brits are at liberty to offer on a property with little more than proof of identity, when it comes to bringing money into the UK we have to be much more diligent before we can recommend an offer.
My mind wanders and I consider a reality in which we’ll be asked to show ID when paying for our weekly shop at Waitrose. Fortunately the buyer is confirmed as legitimate and we can finally make an offer on a gem of a West Berkshire cottage.
We batten down the hatches this afternoon as it’s reported across the agent grapevine that a notorious local timewaster is on the prowl. She has made two offers previously, only to pull out on the day of exchange, and my contemporaries have reported similar transgressions.
As she breaches our threshold, we take down her details while discreetly briefing colleagues to exercise caution. The problem with market towns is that agents tend to stay in the area for life and like elephants, we never forget.
It’s the day of the downsizer as I have three appointments with potential vendors who are considering moving somewhere more manageable. One in particular is a spritely octogenarian who has lived in a rambling five-bedroom property for over 40 years. It is filled with happy memories but she is feeling lonely and needs more day-today support.
She oscillates between whether to go through with a move; she is up for a change but is genuinely frightened and can’t quite fathom how to organise it all. This is where the agent’s role as a counsellor kicks in. We are there as sounding boards and it’s par for the course that every sale comes with an element of hand-holding. Our lady in question decides she needs a further round of talks with her children, but I leave assured that I have just the family who would snap up her property should it come to market.
Education is one of West Berkshire’s biggest draws and we regularly find families competing to move into Newbury and its neighbouring villages. Today we have a family moving down from the Midlands specifically for our excellent local state and grammar schools. They are due to collect their new house keys at midday. I rush out to buy them a bottle of champagne and after battling the queue in the local offlicence, I make it back just in time to catch them before they head on to their new home.
From second steppers to first-time buyers — I rush out for a viewing at a new development in Padworth, just on the edge of the North Wessex Downs. The developer has secured a proportion
If there is one thing I’ve learnt about this week, it’s boreholes. For rural properties without a mains water supply, a borehole is a means to extract water out of the ground, albeit subject to various forensic tests. A previous owner has rather neglected their borehole, putting a question mark over the quality of the water. This has spooked our buyer, who has only ever lived in London and to whom this is a brave new world.
We build a rapport with the local water company and they assure us that order is restored. The buyer heaves a sigh of relief. I, on the other hand, consider penning a guide for city buyers on what it means to move to the country — and why boreholes, sump pumps and septic tanks are a walk in the park.