Thieves, Nosey Parkers & Snobs: Our Prospective Buyers

I am firmly of the mindset that my house is a fortress. It’s my safe place. Family and close friends are always welcome, especially if they come bearing white wine and gossip. Meter readers and tradesmen are tolerated, as long as they show up when they’re supposed to. Salesmen, market researchers and god-botherers shouldn’t even waste their energy walking up the path.

With that in mind, you can imagine how much it has pained me over the last few weeks to allow a constant stream of strangers into my home. They have poked in our wardrobes, commented on our decor, and traipsed mud and grass all over our carpets. One of them even stole something (yes, really. But don’t get me started on that).

‘Prospective buyers’, they call themselves. Usually they are polite enough to call our estate agents first, and then show up at a specified time. But sometimes they just spot the For Sale sign, and wander into the garden on the off chance that we’re in and they can have a look around. Sometimes they make an appointment but then show up early, ring the doorbell, and wake DorkySon up mid-nap. That never makes for a good introduction.

In the current property market I shouldn’t be complaining about having viewers, and I’m not really – we are genuinely very grateful to be getting people through the door at all – but that doesn’t mean that I can’t also share some of the conversational highlights from the most bonkers of the buyers to cross our threshold. Take it as a given that where I don’t have an answer to whatever inane comment or question I’ve just been given, I’m thinking something a bit sweary and rude.

Viewer: Was it you that put up those boards outside?
Me: Boards?
Viewer: Those brown boards in the garden.
Me: Umm yes. That’s called our fence.

Viewer: Well your cornicing is lovely, but I don’t know why on earth you painted the gold bits. I have a similar style in my house and it’s much nicer all in white.
Me: …

Viewer: Why on earth do you have this as your bedroom? It’s so big and light, it’s obviously supposed to be the drawing room. Why waste it on a bedroom?
Me: …

Viewer: Well we’d really like to put solar panels on the roof, but do you know how we’d ensure that the electricity was divided evenly between the three flats.
Me: Umm, no.
Viewer’s Wife: I think you’d probably just have to put on three times as many panels as usual.
Viewer: Christ, you’d need another roof to accommodate that.
Me: …

Viewer, looking out the window: Oh dear, that’s tree is rather menacing isn’t it.
Me: Do you think so? We’ve always liked it.
Viewer: No. No, that just won’t do. Very menacing.
Me: …

Viewer, settling into my rocking chair: Now I think I’ll just sit down and make myself comfortable for a minute.
Me, slightly taken aback: Mmmm, okay. Let me just go and let the next person in.
Viewer: No wait a minute, I wanted to ask you something. I was looking at your family tree. Is that a Cornish name?
Me: No I don’t think so.
Viewer: Oh, I think it might be. But anyway, where did you meet your husband?
Me: We were working together at the university.
Viewer: Gosh, that sounds very naughty!
Me: …

Viewer: When was the house built?
Me: Oh I don’t know. Maybe 1850-something
Viewer: Gosh no, that can’t possibly be right. I’ve been looking at the maps of the area from 1870 and the house isn’t on there. And look at the shape of the windows. They couldn’t possibly be earlier than 1870.
Me: …

And my very favourite of all…

Viewer: Is there anyone here from your estate agents?
Me: No, why, can I help?
Viewer: Well I don’t think they’re representing you very well. Come out here a minute (beckons me onto porch)
Me: What is it?
Viewer, pulling a compass out of his pocket: Look at this. The north point on your property particulars is off by 5 degrees. FIVE DEGREES! That’s not doing you any favours, is it?
Me: …

24 responses

  1. The house comments made me laugh. Can see how that would be very annoying. Have to say, I’m curious to know what they stole, and who would do that?!

    • Just so rude! If people don’t like the way you have your house then fine, move in and change it, but no need to slag it off to our faces! They stole a gold pencil – nothing too valuable, just of sentimental value. It was engraved with DorkyDad’s name, so at least they can’t sell it on!

  2. What? WHAT?? Do people actually SAY that stuff? That’s crazy!! A menacing tree? Window history? BROWN BOARDS IN THE GARDEN?? I am flabbergasted (and that doesn’t happen often). Any time I’ve been to view houses, I’ve made sure I was on time, in the company of an agent and unfailingly polite. It’s not that difficult! Poor you – I hope you find a (sane, polite, nice) buyer soon…

    • Thank you! I’m optimistic that we will – there have been a couple of nice folk in among all the crazies. The brown boards one made me crack up too… Just hilarious. (Btw I’m very proud to have flabbergasted you!)

  3. Sounds like a flaming nightmare! I’d keep a big stick in the corner of the room and make it quite clear that I’d be clonking any one who says anything even slightly stupid.
    Saying that it has made for a corking post !

    • Thanks lovely! And thanks for the shout-out on Twitter too 🙂 I might get a stick and also invite round some angry thuggish looking friends to have on the door 🙂 xx

  4. Make sure to leave a halloween axe covered in fake blood in your cupboard next time and politely open it at the next dumbass comment to show them “all the lovely space you’ve got”! Or maybe leave it at the front door as a warning!
    Good luck with all all the loons, lets hope it brings you a quick sale! xx

    • That’s an excellent idea! Thanks for the good wishes 🙂 I suspect most of them have just been assorted strange people from the neighbourhood in for a nosey (hence the weird obsession with maps and window shapes…) but fingers crossed! xx

  5. I do hope you sell soon, we are in the stressful process of moving house and although we were lucky not to have many people round, I hated the thought that someone might come round any minute, and still the fact that it could all fall apart and we’ll have to start again. I can’t believe some of the comments that you got though, we had no-one like that!

    • It’s ridiculously stressful isn’t it? I’m not sure why, but from beginning to end, even if you’re grateful for the interest and you find somewhere else that suits fairly quickly, it’s just tortuous! Good luck with your own move, I hope you get settled nice and quickly 🙂 x

  6. You’ve got to be kidding me ….. people can be soooooo rude. Hope you sell soon and move into that ‘third mansion’ you saw. Boards in the garden !!!!!?????? sheessh. Shakes head. Must remember to carry around a compass!

    • Oh really… don’t people have better things to do than check my bloody north point?! At least it has all given me something to laugh about 🙂 Thanks for reading xx

  7. Laughing my head off! People are just generally crazy aren’t they? And why would anyone need to know how you met your husband?
    We bought our house and virtually had to have it steam-cleaned before we moved in. The woman who sold it to us had teenagers – and they all treated it like slum student digs (even the mum!) But despite this, I never mentioned it when I went round to measure up.
    So how anyone can criticise your decorating tastes is beyond me.

    • Oh that wasn’t the half of her chat – she wanted to know where our accents were from, who had done all the paintings on our walls, all the details of where we were moving to and why.. So hard not to tell people to mind their own business!

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