Tag Archives: houses

Thinking of Moving?

Several years ago – well 5 actually – I wrote a couple of posts about houses/homes with a difference.  The Water Tower was one such and subsequently, I received an email from the woman who bought the tower and was making her home there.  Unfortunately, she didn’t respond to my request for photos of the finish.  And another time I wrote about Castles for sale.

Well during a cold autumn day, while reading the newspaper I came across an article on ancient Italian buildings for sale.  From ancient castles, monasteries, convents, and towers to old farmhouses, schools and inns, over 100 properties are being given away for free by the State Property Agency which has joined with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage to carry out the new scheme, under which the country’s majestic yet dilapidated properties are handed over free of charge to entrepreneurs who commit to restoring  them to their original splendour and open them to the public as restaurants, hotels or spas.

Successful bidders will be given a 9-year lease with the possibility to extend it for a further 9-years.

We are told, “Successful applicants will be given an ‘Art Bonus’, available through a government scheme launched in 2015 which grants tax breaks on art-related charitable donations, such as for the maintenance and restoration of historic buildings.”

italy-Puglia_Barletta_Villa Bonelli_Via Francigena-large

Abandoned Castle in Puglia


italy-Puglia_Barletta_Scuola rurale_via Francigena-large

Abandoned Rural School in Puglia

So if the idea of living in a castle, monastery or old school appeals, you have until June 26 to make an offer.

More information from The Telegraph here.

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I
can unlock the door remains to be seen.”
From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888

Note photos courtesy of The Telegraph.



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…