En­sure the lan­guage of buy­ers is not lost in trans­la­tion

Es­tate agent Tim Blenkin turns the ta­bles on buy­ers as he trans­lates their lan­guage to bring true mean­ing.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY NEWS -

WE ES­TATE agents are the butt of so many hoary old jokes: “com­pact” means “small”; “Min­ster view” means “if you stand on a chair and crane your neck”; and of course “con­ve­niently sit­u­ated for shops and trans­port” means “be­tween the main road and rail­way line next door to Asda”. Well,it may be time we got our own back, par­tic­u­larly against the house-hunters. Here are some favourites to which we are sub­jected by would-be buy­ers:

“It may take a while to put funds in place, as my money is off-shore”. Roughly trans­lated, this means, “I am go­ing to make you a tempt­ing of­fer, prob­a­bly well over the ask­ing price, to keep you in my pocket while I try to raise the money. It may in­deed be off-shore, but you, your client, and his so­lic­i­tor will never find out. If the money ac­tu­ally ex­ists, I will even­tu­ally be ad­vised by my clever ac­coun­tant that as soon as it hits the UK the In­land Rev­enue will take an in­ter­est, and all the hard work I put in, hid­ing it in Switzer­land/the Cay­man Is­lands/Ba­hamas, will be un­done at a stroke. At this point I shall make an ex­cuse and with­draw, prob­a­bly three months and as many ex­pired dead­lines af­ter you were naïve enough to ac­cept my bid”.

“I do not need to sell my house be­cause I can ar­range bridg­ing fi­nance”. This is a clas­sic and one we never fall for. It means: “I once had a con­ver­sa­tion with the bank, who seemed keen to lend me an ab­surd amount of money. While it suits me to re­mem­ber this of­fer and to re­peat it in an edited form to you, I have never taken it fur­ther and I cer­tainly have no idea about the cost of an ar­range­ment fee, in­ter­est, etc. Ac­cord­ingly, if you are fooled by this into ac­cept­ing my bid, I shall rapidly put my house up for sale (the one I “don’t need to sell”), prob­a­bly at an in­flated price to try to nar­row the gap be­tween its true value and the price I am of­fer­ing your client.

“If there is no re­sponse af­ter three weeks (or as long as I can spin out your mis-placed trust) I shall get cold feet and with­draw from the pur­chase, with­out ever even talk­ing to the bank, and cit­ing any num­ber of ex­cuses, from flood­ing in the Vale of York to the like­li­hood of a Gen­eral Elec­tion any time in the next two years”.

“My house will sell very quickly”. Even in the slow­est of mar­kets we are con­fronted

BUYER TALK: al­most daily by this. A char­i­ta­ble in­ter­pre­ta­tion is: “The ea­ger young es­tate agent who came to see my house gave me a fancy price and the prom­ise of an in­stant sale in or­der to get the job. I be­lieved him – why don’t you?”

“I’ve in­her­ited a lot of money”. If too loudly pro­claimed at the out­set this should be un­der­stood as “I’m go­ing to fool you into be­liev­ing in my new-found wealth so I can snoop around some rather grand prop­er­ties, col­lect a few brochures to show my friends, and dream of un­told riches”. On one me­morable oc­ca­sion it was de­clared to a num­ber of well-heeled agents by a charm­ing rogue who turned out to be pen­ni­less and on the run from the po­lice. They got him even­tu­ally and he is now do­ing time – but only af­ter one agent and his client agreed a sale to him at over £1m.

“I was gazumped” said one buyer. In fact she made too low an of­fer and was un­will­ing or un­able to im­prove it. The house was sold to a higher bid­der, but the dis­ap­pointed party pre­ferred to blame the agent rather than ad­mit she sim­ply couldn’t af­ford the house.

Gather­ing feed­back from prospec­tive pur­chasers who have just viewed a prop­erty is al­ways il­lu­mi­nat­ing. Rea­sons for a prop­erty be­ing “un­suit­able” are of­ten given as, “‘But it only has three bed­rooms” (Yes,

Sir, in­deed, as per the de­tails and floor plan re­vealed in the brochure that we sent to you), or, “It is too far from York”

(Yes, Madam, 24 miles, ex­actly as stated in our brochure) It seems that some prospec­tive pur­chasers ei­ther do not ab­sorb the salient facts be­fore tak­ing the trou­ble to view the prop­erty, or are re­luc­tant to ad­mit it isn’t suit­able/they can­not af­ford it any­way.

”Not suit­able – the kitchen/ bath­room needs up­dat­ing” is also usu­ally code for, “I can’t af­ford it”.

Tim Blenkin is founder of Blenkin and Co., York. An ex­tended ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle is at york­shire­post.co.uk/homes

Es­tate agents know that ac­tions speak louder than words when it comes to buy­ing a house – and they aren’t so easy to fool.

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