Buying and Selling Property

Open house sign

We had two very busy Open Homes today and I got to thinking how things have changed.  When I first started selling real estate way back at the end of the 1960s we didn’t work on Sundays (it wasn’t allowed) and we only worked on Saturdays if there was no other time the prospective purchaser could view the house.

Now all agents work on Sundays.  I help a Real Estate Agent and some Sundays we have as many as four Open Homes. Each one last for 45 minutes and so it is full on and quite tiring as we are talking to people all through them.  Most agents work seven days a week here.  As we don’t have a multi listing bureau deal here.  Agents have exclusive listings and so determine with their vendors when Open Homes will occur.

Then I thought of all the houses my dashing young Scotsman and I bought and sold over the years, and those I have bought since his untimely death some 14 years ago.

The purchases have mostly gone without anything special to remember them by.  Except for the first house we bought in Wellington; the agent showed it to me but was too busy to return when my husband was available to view the property.  So I went back with my husband and showed him around and sold the property to him in effect.  The agent accepted the sale (it was the only house he showed me so it was a good deal for him) and the commission from the vendors.

We later bought another house and as this was the agent’s first day on the job and as it was a Saturday he didn’t think he could get the contract prepared before Monday.  So we went back to his office and I prepared the contract.  Having worked in Real Estate for so many years I could do this standing on my head.

Willow Bay

Willow Bay

When we sold a house in the Sounds in the South Island the agent dropped the purchaser off at the door as she had another property to see further along the Sound.  (Note the Sounds are like fjords).  So I showed the prospects around and they both liked it.  But there was a problem – they had another property and were not really sure that they wanted to move to this rather remote area.  So I did the deal – they agreed to a price and settlement date and would rent the property from us until settlement.  In the event that they didn’t purchase they agreed to pay a penalty, so in effect they had an option to purchase.  By the time the agent returned to pick them up, the contract was typed and signed by all parties.  Another easy sale for another agent.

Suitcase and money

But the strangest sale of all was when we were leaving Scotland.  The solicitor plays a more prominent role in selling homes in Scotland and many are also Estate agents and as such will act in the marketing process as well as in the legal work.   Our solicitor was a friend; he advertised the property for us and then we arranged a viewing.

On the appointed day the prospect arrived, inspected the property and said as he was buying it for his daughter he would bring her back later to view.  This he did.  She liked the property and negotiations were concluded.  Imagine our surprise when the gentleman produced a suitcase full of pounds and paid us in full for the property on the spot.

We were taken aback but accepted graciously.  and next morning, I was at the bank when it opened.  The bank manager (another friend) asked whether I had considered the money might be counterfeit.  That thought hadn’t entered my head but I did wonder whether the money was the proceeds of an illegal venture.

However, the sale went through, we left for New Zealand and never heard from the fellow or his daughter again.

Since then we have bought and sold 12 properties but never again did anyone offer to pay me in cash on the spot.  Ah well…

20 responses to “Buying and Selling Property

  1. It sounds much easier to buy and sell in New Zealand than it does, here in the UK – it takes up to three months before contracts are signed, then a further wait before they are exchanged. In the meantime searches and surveys have to be carried out, mortgages arranged, details wrangled etc.We bought a property in France, once – even though the contract was in A different language – it was easier than purchasing here. I love all these snippets life in a country so far away. Thank you, Judith. 🙂


    • Thanks for the comment Jacqueline. Our purchases in the UK were simple compared to how complicated they appear to be today. Here most people have mortgages organised before they make an offer and once the cntract is signed it is binding – no pulling out of the sale for whatever reason.:)


  2. The market is so bad in Miami, Florida USA. 1 in 5 home in foreclosure and 18% unemployment. I can’t get 30 cents on a dollar for my place.


  3. I too have moved house so many times I’ve lost count – buying and selling houses in the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland along the way. I envy you your Estate Agent training, Judith – it could have saved a lot of headaches as well as money! My mother on the other hand has been in the same house since 1938 …


    • My daughter has the ‘itchy feet’ like her mother. However, my son and his wife have lived in the same house for 14 years which is a record for our family.


  4. I would like to be as knowledgeable as you! I’ve bought and sold my homes without real estate agents and it has always worked out fine. But I’d feel more confident if I had training. Thanks for sharing! I really like the money example. Imagine carrying all that money around! I’d freak if someone stle it.


  5. You’ve had some neat adventures along the way. this reminded me of the time, in 1972 when we sold an MG Midget to a fellow for $300. He brought the money in a paper bag filled with $2, $5 and $10 bills. Said he was a bartender and had been saving his tips! It was a Saturday so the paper bag with money was hidden in our apartment till Monday morning when the banks opened.


  6. What other fascinating stories you must have to tell about your real estate adventures! We may be sisters, but you are the smarter one.


    • We always seemed to be on the move with my late husband’s job so we had a lot of experience of real estate.
      And the smarter one – no way my sister. 🙂


  7. The house I’m in now is the only one we’ve bought. until this one we were always in rented accomodation. Some of the moves were pretty interesting though. 🙂


    • In NZ most people buy a property as soon as they can. It certainly appears to be easier than in the UK where a niece was all set and then the dominoes behind her fell and she couldn’t move.;)


  8. Yes, a buyer bringing cash to a sale is quite unusual! Real estate is a seven-days-a-week job here, too, with weekends being especially busy. You are quite the sales lady!


  9. What an interesting look into the world of real estate. Your knowledge is an asset. I would’ve passed out if someone gave me suitcase of cash for home sale!

    My husband and I have only bought one house. Good thing we’re not planning on moving, because the real estate market is bad. Just driving in our neighborhood today, we past three vacant homes (obvious by the state of the front yards.)


    • We don’t have the same amount of foreclosures and unsold properties as you obviously do in the US. Real estate though getting harder, is still a lucrative business to be in for those agents willing to work.


  10. We’ve bought 4 homes and sold the first three . . . this one, we’re keeping. 😉


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