Thursday, September 24, 2015
Ladies And Gentlemen
I’m in a client’s house, keys in my hand, looking at Bomber the local surveyor. He’s earned the nickname, as every sale he gets involved in tends to explode horribly.
Now I understand property purchase is an adversarial business. Buyer pitched against seller, surveyor set against estate agent. But Bomber seems to revel in picking holes in every property he inspects for purchaser and lender. There’s a certain type of surveyor - and every town has one - who is so afraid of making a mistake, so petrified of being sued for negligence that they point out every defect, real or imagined. Rumour has it that Bomber is so scared of his own shadow he won’t be spotted on sunny days.
‘Do you like to watch then?’ Asks Bomber incongruously. I’m brought back from my internal reverie to see him looking at me curiously. I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck rising and I’m starting to feel unnerved. It’s a given that he’ll rubbish this well-maintained semi-detached house. A guarantee, that he’ll tell the buyers the home isn’t worth as much as they’ve agreed to pay - find out the sale price then subtract 5-10% seems to be his rule of thumb. But much as I’ve studied Bomber, with a mixture of distaste and almost pathological hatred, I’ve never noticed he wears lipstick.
‘The vendors have had problems with estate agents before.’ I answer, mind spinning around a tale of closet transvestites with folding ladders - and stocking ladders.
‘Who hasn’t?’ Replies Bomber, with a rictus grin. One that confirms, via his vermillion smudged incisors, that he’s wearing some mouth-enhancing lady product. Unless it’s blood? I think woozily. It would explain why he can’t come out unless it’s cloudy.
Yes, everyone likes to rubbish an estate agent. It’s a national sport only challenged by hatred of politicians and paedophiles. In this case my client had tried an cheap fee agent in the past, and entrusted their house keys to the muppets. Several items had gone missing on a supposed accompanied viewing. My pledge to them, to win the instruction to sell, was to ensure I monitored every visitor obsessively. Surveyors are usually handed home keys to carry out inspections alone, as a trusted professional. But my clients are fastidious about security and I’m guessing a cross-dresser with an obsession with damp proof courses - and now it seems ladies’ corsets - isn’t going to be welcome rummaging through their drawers unobserved. And that’s before he down-values the sale price by £15,000.
‘The price seems a bit full.’ Mutters Bomber as he stoops towards his bag, that now I look at it, seems a little effeminate.
He’s setting me up for the hit, flagging up the fact that he’ll be telling the prospective buyers they’ve agreed to pay over the odds, and that’s before he writes a report so shot full of caveats that it won’t be the worth the paper it’s printed on.
‘Not at all,’ I counter. ‘We had two other couples after this one. If your clients prevaricate I’ll have another buyer lined up with just one phone call.’ It’s bit of poetic licence but I’m guessing Bomber likes an Ombudsman about as much as the next guy - or girl…
Bomber throws me an odd look, the sort of unsettling, holding the gaze too long, stare that desperate divorcee used to give me every time I conducted a viewing at her house. Turned out she wanted a slice off the fee, rather than a piece of me, which made things even more uncomfortable.
As the slippery surveyor lifts an instrument from his increasingly girly bag - is that a pink lining I can see? - he grins stomach-churningly. He’s either going to deploy a damp meter or a dildo, I think absurdly. It’s fortunately the former, but still involves batteries and pleasure for just one person.
This will mean time-wasting third-party reports by specialist treatment companies who rumour has it pay back-handers - or in Bomber’s case backless dresses - to intoducers. I want to scream.
‘Are you alright?’ Asks my wife anxiously. ‘You just cried out.’