The above image is of a woman who exists only in the mind of the artist who drew her. She is a “dream woman” whose character, personality and desires are invented by the imagination of the person viewing her.
As long standing and regular British Gazette readers will know, the Editor relocated last year from the West Riding of Yorkshire to Cornwall. It was a classic downsizing and done for financial and other personal reasons. It was in fact a “classic case” – I was one of those many shareholders in Lloyds Bank whose income from the dividends was abruptly halted in 2008. At the same time, my little business was suffering severe problems. Furthermore, my home which I owned outright and was the family home I had inherited required substantial renovation. To put it into proper order (without extending it) was going to cost in excess of £30,000. Had things been better financially and certain business plans had worked as had been hoped, I would have taken a mortgage on the property and had the necessary repairs done.
Things however did not work out that way and circumstances conspired to “force my hand” and to put the house on the market. Basically, I needed money – a lot of it – to replace the income I had lost.
As a result, I drew up two plans: There was Plan A and there was Plan B.
Plan A was this:
1. Pick up a £1 coin from wooden bowl on sideboard, walk out of house’s back door and walk down drive.
2. Turn left at bottom of drive and walk up to the top of the road and cross main road.
3. Go into convenience store.
4. Buy lottery ticket.
5. Win lottery jackpot.
You can Dear Reader see the flaw in Plan A! Thus I implemented Plan B thus:
1. Put house on market.
2. Sell house for as much as I can get.
3. Quit property, pay in cheque, move into lodgings for a “couple of months.”
4. Buy new property spending as little as possible, consistent with obtaining a good quality of life in new location.
5. Invest residue in shares that pay a good dividend to replace income lost by “the financial crisis.”
I am pleased to report that Plan B succeeded. This due in no small part to my abilities as a salesman. That I sold my house for what I got was quite a major achievement. Some have told me that I “was lucky.” This is incorrect. “Luck” is often the reason attributed by some to the success enjoyed by a skilled salesmen. They say such things as; “he was lucky to come across that particular fellow who was prepared to pay full price for the double glazing.” These people who are not salesmen ascribe a salesman’s success to one of two things or a combination of both: “luck” and/or “dissembling.”
It was however a minor miracle that I achieved what I achieved as the combination of my financial problems, the severe deterioration in the house and therefore my living conditions and worries over my business had caused be to become somewhat depressed. Notwithstanding this, there was just enough of the “twenty something me” that was the cocky and quite frankly unpleasantly arrogant young man of the 1970s for me to draw on – for one last time – to pull off the most important sale of my life.
At the time I put the house on the market in April 2013, I was in fact in “a bit of sorry state” – when you are in “a bit of a state” you find out how good your neighbours are and here I was fortunate for I had some very good neighbours. One of these neighbours was forthcoming with some advice, of which shortly.
Having made the decision to sell my family home, my first task was to get the house valued and to instruct an estate agent. Two called and I selected the one that charged a cheaper commission. Both agents valued the house and I suggested a higher figure, stating that I needed the money. Both advised me that they would put the house on the market at that figure but suggested that they would strongly recommend me dropping the figure after a couple of months. The agent that charged the higher commission was in fact the MD of that agency and declared with the confidence of a salesman that “I know how to sell this house” and suggested that I spend a £1,000 or so doing to cosmetic improvements. He told me that he would personally would show any prospective clients the house as this house “was quite a challenge” and therefore he was not going to hand the job to a junior but was going to do the job himself.
I smiled and said nothing. What I did not tell this obviously very competent young professional was that the human wreck he saw before him also knew how to sell this house! And dare I say it – for more than he could! What happened at this meeting was that the cocky young man of 1975 knew that he had to make a return.
The result was that I appointed the other estate agent who was charging less than half the commission of the other. At this point Dear Reader you will be saying; “You get what you pay for. If the cheap agent is charging less than half price you are not getting something!”
You are of course right Dear Reader. Indeed, upon seeing the cheap agent’s sign erected at the bottom of my drive, a neighbour came around to suggest that I had made a dreadful mistake. He pointed out something I already knew – I had after all lived in the area all my life.
The reason for the low commission was that this agent left the task of selling the house and of touring prospective purchasers to the vendors. The result invariably was that these vendors ended up selling their houses for a lot less and therefore whilst the % commission charge was lower, the amount of money the vendors ended up with was much less than would have been otherwise.
“Don’t do this, Peter!” my neighbour urged. “Let a professional sell your house!”
What my neighbour did not know was that the house was indeed going to be sold by a sales professional – who had returned from 1975 – and he was looking at him!
Getting the sum I got for this house was going to require breaking some rules of selling. The other agent told me not to apologise for the state of the house to viewers. Apologise for the mess they saw was precisely the first thing I did. The second thing I did was to give them a very brief explanation of my personal difficulties that had brought this about. The third thing I did was to tour the viewers of the area of woodland at the back of the house. It was during the tour of this woodland I found out by surreptitiously asking questions during the “ice breaking” conversation what the viewers were looking for in their ideal home. I then used this information to present the house as meeting this. Thus what these people saw was a picture in their imagination of their children playing safely in the woodland – away from traffic. When we entered the bombsite that was the interior of the house, they saw the kitchen they wanted overlooking the garden they wanted. What I did was to sell the viewer their dream. As a result, I got the full asking price. To the absolute amazement of the estate agent I had instructed. And my neighbour!
The solution to my financial problems also cured my other problems.So now you see Dear Reader why the British Gazette understands what Scotland’s happiest man, Alex Salmond has been doing. You see, Mr Salmond has been selling the Scottish People the Dream of Independence. Mr Salmond’s problem will be that should independence come about, the Scottish People will be brought face to face with reality and not their fantasy. Unfortunately for Mr Salmond (and the rest of Scotland) independence now seems a very likely prospect.
If present polls continue to 7th May, 2015, nearly all of Scotland’s 59 seats will return an SNP member to Westminster. Based on the latest polling evidence elsewhere in the UK, this will present two possible outcomes:
1. A Labour government effectively led by the SNP.
2. A Grand Coalition of the Labour and the Tories.
Outcome 1 will lead at the end of that Parliament to a tremendous defeat of Labour and to a Tory majority government – the size of whose majority will be dictated by how well or badly UKIP performs. The return of a Tory government at the end of what will be the “Scottish Honeymoon” will inevitably lead to calls for another referendum on independence – which will be won by the SNP.
Outcome 2 will lead very shortly to calls for another referendum on independence – which will be won by the SNP.
It is when Scotland achieves this so called independence – for Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon want to immerse Scotland fully in the EU – will their problems begin.
Then English faces will be smiling.