‘Darling what do you think our little bundle of joy will grow up to be?’
‘Hmm. I’m thinking a joyless weevil of a man who’ll delight in dashing people’s dreams, criticising imaginary faults and dismantling weeks of work.’
‘You think he’ll be a Building Inspector?’
‘No dear, I was hoping he’d become a Chartered Surveyor.’
‘Bomber it is then….’
Of course our local sales-wrecker isn’t the only practitioner. He’s just one of the least sympathetic ones. Hence the nickname, as without exception he’ll downvalue the agreed price on a transaction and as an added bonus usually point out every last flaw and request endless third-party reports, before he’ll put his neck on the block and rubber stamp a loan.
‘He’s still got the keys.’ Answers trainee F after scanning the key book and confirming the set have been logged out but not in again. There had been a collective groan when Bomber arrived in the office with the lender’s instructions. Of course you stay polite to their face in the hope they won’t destroy this particular sale, but invariably this guy lives up to his name. I’m fairly sure he’s oblivious to the unflattering moniker, just as The Terminator and Dr Death are to their titles in town. Paradoxically, these guys are nowhere near as sinister in the flesh as their unofficial names might suggest. Think greasy hair, sports jackets, bad shoes and bad breath.
‘Why do the always trash deals?’ Asks F innocently and I hit him with a worryingly verbose litany of reasons, running the gamut of fear of being sued right through to fear of their own shadow. It spills from me in a vitriolic stream, like some possessed person in a 1980s horror movie, just stopping short of the head spinning.
‘If you always kill a sale, or ask for dozens of builders and engineers reports, you don’t get any come back from lawyers and lenders down the line.’ Pronounces T not entirely inaccurately.
‘What do you think he’ll say about number 11?’ Asks F wide-eyed.
T and I look at each other. He goes first.
‘Some evidence of wet rot, we recommend a builder inspects and quotes.’
‘Possible roof deflection.’ I follow. ‘But because of limited access to loft void a specialist report should be commissioned.’
‘The electrics appear to be coming towards the end of their useful lifespan but due to the limited scope of this survey a full electrical survey should be undertaken.’ Continues T theatrically, as F looks on in slack-jawed bemusement.
The little thespian-fest continues for some minutes – all salesmen being frustrated actors – until T finishes with a flourish. ‘And you can bet he’ll take between five and ten percent off the sale price just to cover his sweaty little arse.’
‘You can ask him yourself.’ Says negotiator S with a throaty chuckle that rumbles distractingly through her blouse. ‘Because here he comes.’
Many surveyors post the keys through the door after closing time to avoid the quizzing we’re about to administer. But Bomber has the skin of a Rhino. The door opens and I can almost taste the palpable hate in the air. He’s oblivious.
‘Everything alright?’ I ask, wincing internally, ring tightening, as I think of the fee I can’t afford to lose if he wrecks this sale.
‘One or two issues.’ Hedges Bomber as he hurries to divest himself of the keys.
‘Could you elaborate?’ I probe, as F takes the jangling brass, with corporate logo and internal security code, on the temporary fob.
‘I need to write up the report.’ Obfuscates Bomber, before asking. ‘Do you have any evidence of comparable sales at this level?’ He’ll be going to our competitors with the same question and they’ll doubtless try to convince him our buyer has paid too much.
‘Stick it back on the market?’ Asks T as Bomber exits.