Today my customary schedule of idleness and sloth was interrupted with a day of old-school busyness. It was like my glory days at the firm: trying to write emails, make phone calls, have conversations and think, all at the same time.
Our house offer is supposed to become unconditional tomorrow, so it was sod’s law that an issue would blow up. The house has a little bay window/sun porch arrangement in the living room. In his report, which arrived in my in-box last night, our building inspection guy had suggested that we might want to seek confirmation that this alteration to the house was done with the necessary permits. So I had conversations with the real estate agent and our lawyer this morning, trying to clarify the issue. I then headed back to the local council office, to talk to the good people at the property helpdesk and see if they could offer some guidance. At first glance it looked like a structural change had been made, with some of the wall pared away to accommodate the sun porch, but closer investigation showed that the walls were still as God, nature and the original builder intended. Hurrah!
Just when we thought that a possible crisis had been averted, a new issue came up. Our lawyer looked at the title plan for the house and realised that it didn’t show this sun porch, which it should do – adding it had altered the internal dimensions of the house. Legally, the house needs to have accurate official plans (there are proper legal terms for all of this, but I’m too tired to tell you them), so we had to go back to the real estate agent and get the matter raised with the vendor. We can’t buy the house until accurate plans have been produced, but doing so will cost around $5,000 and the vendor is dragging his feet. Which is daft of him, given that any buyer is going to need to see this sorted out before shelling out any cash for the place. It sounds like the real estate company has buggered things up by not ensuring that accurate plans existed before accepting the listing. It also sounds like the vendor feels aggrieved because they bought the house themselves ten years ago without realising that this problem existed and getting it fixed. And I feel sorry for the guy (we had to swallow a similarly unpalatable house-related cost when the boiler in our first flat died a few weeks before we were due to put it on the market, costing us £5,000 that we could ill afford), but we can’t afford to just have the problem passed on to us – we’re already paying a bit more than we’d like for this house.
Essentially, the vendor needs to suck it up, and should also consider getting the real estate company to drop their commission slightly to help him out and ensure that the sale goes through. It’s their problems, but not ours… except for the fact that we really want to buy this house. Our awesome lawyer will be back on the case tomorrow and we’re crossing our fingers that it will all get resolved.
While this issue rumbled away I was doing lots of other things, like arranging to get my broken glasses replaced. My glasses were slightly too wide for my face, which led me to flex them occasionally in a bid to make them fit me better. On Sunday I flexed them beyond their endurance, snapping the frame and forcing me into contact lenses for every waking minute of the day. I had to choose new frames today and my lenses will be fitted into them by early next week. I really didn’t want to spend money on something like this at the moment, given the huge house-related costs heading our way, so I tried to be a skinflint and choose the cheapest glasses I could find. My new pair are going to look like this:
HA! Not really. My new pair look a lot like my old pair. I was sorely tempted by a glam pair of Prada frames, but they were $200 more than the pair I eventually chose, so I sighed and put them back on the shelf.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! I took Tui for a walk on the beach. It wasn’t quite as cold as yesterday, but it will still pretty chilly – and yet there was a guy swimming, again! A different guy – this one was younger (or it was the same guy, and the local sea water has magical age-reversing qualities). What can it all mean?
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! When I got home this afternoon I put in a couple of hours of pro bono graft on project: a Wellington-based community law centre is developing a pro bono clearing house model and I’m helping them to set it up. Today I found out that my presence will be required at a meeting with the law firms on Monday, to win their support for the project (and, for my own selfish purposes, to meet them and see if any of them are suddenly struck by an urge to buy my services at any point). Apparently I’m a Good Bet for this kind of meeting because I know how to talk from both the charity’s perspective and a law firm’s perspective. I’m like a secret agent. So that will be cool – another trip down to Wellington. I need to make plans to see all the lovely people down there that I didn’t get to see during my last visit.
It also means a long drive down from Auckland for Tui and me on Sunday, and then a drive back on Thursday. I’ll stay in Wellington on the Monday night, but the rest of my time (and all of Tui’s time) will be spent in blissful, centrally-heated warmth at Chez Mum and Dad. I can’t wait!