Yesterday morning – Friday – was a circus of missed calles, concurrent calls, subsequent calls and messages. Finally the client, the listing agent and I agreed to meet at the Chateau at 11 am this morning, Saturday. Or was it 2 pm, or 10 am? In the flurry of calls I’d forgotten to write it down.
I called the listing agent, 11 am.
We waited. The clients didn’t arrive. I called at about 11.20. Left a message. She called back at 11.30. Said she thought it was supposed to be 2 pm. She said they’d be there as soon as they could. We said we’d wait.
The listing agent and the caretaker spent about 5 minutes going on about how rude it was to make an appointment and then be late for it! I went to the post office.
Did the caretaker and the listing agent spend the time opening shutters and windows to let in light and fresh air? Nope. When we finally went inside the air was still and damp and we could hardly see anything.
The caretaker, face like thunder and arms tightly crossed looked at Mr Client’s camera and said "No photos! You can’t take any pictures!"
"Yes, yes, I know" he said.
She ignored that and went on to tell him that 2 years ago the chateau was robbed and that the police had questioned her and the listing agent after the robbery. Now there were to be no pictures of the inside and the shutters had to remain closed so that no one could see in. I have to admit that when she said it to me the first time I saw the inside I thought to myself that I obviously didn’t know anything about old French furniture becasue there certainly didn’t seem to be anything worth stealing.
The listing agent had realized that she needed to do some selling and had transformed herself into a smiling bundle of charm, all focused on Mrs. Client. The caretaker had transformed herself into her best imitation of Mrs. Danvers showing Rebecca around Menderley, Mr Client was not falling in love with the chateau. I followed behind thinking "open the %$^^&@ shutters!!"
We were in the sitting room and Mr Client murmured to me "do you see anything here worth stealing?" Mrs Client said imperiously to the Mrs. Danvers clone "Ouvrez les volets!". The caretaker opened one set of shutters. She actually opened three sets while we were there.
The end result was that Mr Client felt that it was a sad neglected house, cold and unwelcoming. And a money pit. The listing agent kept saying that it would only cost 600,000 euros to do the necessary work. I figure it would be about 600,000 euros per floor to do it right.
Mrs. Client loved it. But they aren’t going to buy it.