Thursday, January 21, 2010

Honesty (Eerlijkheid) [Honestidade]

Above: Dollhouses, Amsterdam Historisch Museum

Now and then my husband and I consider about moving to a bigger house. Especially him, he always keeps an eye on the possibilities via some real state sites. Days ago we decided to schedule a visit to a property that seeemed to have our requirements, plus a good stretch of land and water. We even wet there some days before the official visit to feel its vibes and check the situation with parking on the street. Despite my husband being an issue-solving person he can also be pretty critical while I ... mmm try to see the potential in things .

Well, the visiting day. My husband, my father-in-law and I arrived something like twenty minutes earlier to check the back yard and peek inside through the windows. We calculated with our steps whether we could park two cars. The little garden was okay. The street was small. The location of the house was excellent with a sunny backyard.

9:05 and the agent (makelaar) arrives. Thin and very tall, he smashes my hand and says at the same time I utter my name, his name. "You are not waiting for long are you ? Because I AM on time, I hope". After introduction and hand shakings we are invited to walk in.

The hall: spacious, pretty checkered black and white floor. The living room. Two big leaded windows (glas-in-lood) with double glas. And a charming fireplace with antique Dutch tiles ! I got excited about it. The agent announced:

- Ahn... Actually this is removable. It was built in 10 years ago so of course you can break it down when you think it is ugly.
- Oh, on the contrary: I think it is pretty!

The kitchen. Not my cup of tea but new, lots of light and spacious anyway. My husband and father-in-law started both to complain about the somewhat low ceiling ("Goh ! wat benauwd !"). The agent:

- And what do you think about me ?

We three looked back. He had put his thumb on the top of his head and his smallest finger was touching the ceilling.

And told me:
- You are short, therefore it doesn't matter about the ceiling so much. You are the one who is going to be cooking here most of the time right ?
- Uh, right.

Feeling myself a dwarf, we checked the salon next the kitchen while looking to the back yard and the land that stretched further. It was a rectangular piece of land covered in snow and surrounded by water. I started to imagine the party tents we would settle during our celebrations outside.

- How is the situation with the ground ? Can we remove the two little chalets and settle a big one there ? Are the pillars under the ground okay ? Or rotten ? asked hubby.
- Well... He did his eyes wide open. See the situation: I cannot evaluate that. Sometimes you have to make your own research and hire a specialist. Sometimes you think the ground is stable but in Holland you never know. Maybe it is just sand with grass on it.

I started to think about our guests sinking in muddy during one of our parties, and kids screaming in terror for help.
But at least, we could go sailing in the summer starting from our own backyard !! When the agent added:
-The water way doesn't give access to the canals that surround the village. It is a dead end. Unfortunatelly. "Helaas."

Well, the only way is up. We were anxious to check the 3 bedrooms. In the folder there were photos of two of them and the bathroom. The bedrooms were indeed very spacious, full of light, great ! The bathroom was new and reasonable but no medicine drawer, no drawer cabinet at all. Just a huge mirror covering the wall above the two sinks. I imagined myself with my toothbrush in my hands wondering where to place it. The third room. You cannot call it a room AT ALL. There was a chair and a small wardrobe in it. I had to leave that match box first before my husband could get in. It didn't fit two persons. Well I didn't fit myself if I wanted to brig my yoga mat and make a meditation room of it. I argued:

- In the folder it says: three bedrooms.
- Yes, I agree with you. You cannot call it a bedroom. Not even a baby room. "Tja !" I do not know why they put like that in the folder.
- Can we put this wall down extend it to outside ?
- You have to ask the town hall for permission and evaluation. I cannot give you and answer about that. I cannot evaluate that.
- No ?
- No.

The attic. Huge. We could easily make two bedrooms of it. It would become wonderful.

- Well, then the wall would run diagonally like that. Strange. But possible, of course. And a second large window. Everything depends on how much money you want to spend here.

I started to doubt whether that guy wanted to sell that house or any other house at all.

- And the area next to the house ? Is it possible to park two cars there ?
- If you do not have big cars... maybe. But If you have Smart cars, then probably three - and looked down to me. I felt myself a dwarf again (and I am 163 cm tall). And I hate Smart cars. Coincidentally, my husband is always making jokes about a Smart. "Is a Smartje sth. for you, hehehe ?"
- Look. You can always leave your car anywhere on the street right ? I asked hubby.
- Well, here the situation is more or less like that: every householder has HIS or HER own sacred place where to park on the street. You have to figure that out alone. In order not to go parking in the place of someone else - added the agent.

The universal concept of streets being public vanished from my head. Pooff !! Gone. Apparently in this village and especially on that street people had their regular places stablished long ago.

It also puzzled me that the guy never ever praised the house - and it was spacious and had many charms. Anyway, we thanked him for showing us around, shook hands and decided to leave. Or almost. Hubby had a last question. Or maybe two.

- How long is this house for sale ? Many visitors so far ?
- Mmm. Not many. A small group.
- How many ? Five people ? Ten ? Any offers ?
- Mmm. I would say two.
- Two people have already offered to buy it ?
- No. Two families have visited it.
- Oh. So with us it makes three familes interested in it.
- No, two. Another family and now you. Nobody so far has made an offer.
- Ah. I see.

My father-in-law inserted his car key in the frame of the front window. "Rotten. Overpriced house !" he told me. And showed briefly his hand palms up in the air in a sign of despair and sighted. Then he started to mumble while walked to his car. I looked back and the agent rose his shoulders up a bit.
Wow, this was the most honest real state agent I have ever met so far. No positive adjectives about the house, no suggestions for improvements. We had arrived in a high mood and left it behind feelling a blessing we were going back to our much smaller and perfect house.

But I was feeling kind of 40 cm shorter.


Aledys Ver said...

Lol!!! Your story made me laugh... First of all, I see your dollhouses and I figured - what is she trying to imply? :o)
And then, the agent! The thing is, I think he was just everything that you would expect of a Dutch agent! The bare honest truth and nothing more, no embellishments, no grand gestures with arms and hands... leave that to the Italians! hahaha
And seriously, will YOU be doing all the cooking? Not very politically correct, oh-oh-oh :o)

Anita said...

Aledys: The house was like a "pophuis" with wrong divisions. The hall giving access to the bedrooms was pretty large while the third so-called bedroom was for a gnome.

Pres├ępio no Canal said...

Good luck :) I m shure, you will find one that pleases you :-)
Beijinhos :-)

Droomvla said...

This is soooo funny! HAHAHAHAHA Please give me the name of that real estate agent, just in case I feel extremely sad and in dire need of amusement! HAHAHAHA

But seriously now, I think there is a fine line that separates tactlessness from honesty. In his case, I think he was simply tactless. :)

~Lopa said...

Hahaha nice post...

But i think that is ypical of Dutch Agents because we saw quite a few houses and what they always showed was how somethings we can change or remove and improve !

But atleast they give genuine advise that way, that what the house is worth and what you might need to change and how much more expense you should be considering if you buy some particular house !

Anita said...

Lopa: most houses are overpriced and need somekind of new division. It irritates me deeply when in a big house the kitchen is minimal or the chic bathroom doesn't have a toilet bowl and you need to go downstairs for that. IF a house needs reforms because the division is not logical then the price should be much less. That's never the case.