Today’s tale is about the complicated attempt to sign the deed on our new house. A quick jaunt to Lisbon, an hour in the notary and hey presto….or so we thought.
“Erk, I have hamster cheeks!” I was looking at the photo of my son and I that had just been taken across the table of a café, before we stepped into the estate agents for our very important date.
“Well, that’s a surprise, since you did ten sit ups the other morning. So if you take that over the year that averages about 1.9 sit-ups a day”, said Mr Indoors.
“Maybe you could do the ‘de-tox’ diet again mum”, said daughter helpfully.
“Ouch”. Fortunately I’m generally a glass half full type of person so not too sensitive about these matters. I mean hamster cheeks can be cute can’t they?
We were sitting in ‘Sparkles’ café in Lourinha, waiting to go into the estate agents before signing the deed to the new house. Sparkles I think is so called because it has a glittery loo seat which I thought was rather cool and now want one. Maybe we could name the new house Quinta de Glitter or Casa Sparkly.
It took only two weeks from the offer to be accepted to the appointment at the notary, which frankly is amazing. I’m used to 2-3 months in England, although much of the delay is caused by the searches which is probably a good thing. Although we have appointed a good and independent solicitor I’m not sure we have anything specifically to say that a mine is not about to be dug behind the house or a new motorway is not planned to come crashing through the courtyard.
It should have been a simple day but when I put on the offer form that it was subject to the courtyard being cleared of rubbish, I REALLY MEANT that I wanted the courtyard cleared of rubbish. We had chased the estate agent up on this earlier in the week and had been duly ignored, so on the way to Lisbon we decided we would stand our ground and not sign until this had been done. I texted the agent. The answer to my question was evaded. I texted again. And again. No, unsurprisingly the yard had not been cleared.
We stood with arms folded refusing to go to the notary until we had an agreement about the yard. The agents called the owners. It was an investment company and frankly, according to the agents, they couldn’t give a damn. We did though.
Our appointment with the notaire at 2.00pm came and went without us. We rang our solicitor who was in a notary meeting in Fundao and unavailable. Where did we stand, legally? It was hot, 26 degrees outside, we were getting tired after a three hour drive. The children were starting to fidget and major whining would kick in at any moment. The agents offered to pay half the cost. Nope. Matter of principle at stake. We tried the solicitor again. Should we come back another day? Another three hour drive each way, another 50 euros in petrol. Another set of toll fees.
We paced the hot pavement outside. The agents were getting agitated. It was nearly three o’ clock. We still had to pay the property taxes at the finance office. I did not want to come back another day. The investment company knew that. We were running out of time. We agreed, in the end, we would pay no more than a hundred euros and the agents would pay the rest.
We bolted off in the car to pay the taxes. We were number fourteen in the queue, a half hour wait. Clearly then, we would never make it to the notary in time. Unless……the agent called his bank which was now officially closed. We raced back to the car, drove off to the bank with the agents, handed over the cash to the bank so that we could pay the taxes via the cash point, ran round the corner to the notary, and yay….half an hour later we emerged into the sunlight with a huge bunch of keys to the new house.