Reflect and Introspect Blog | Survey Time

Survey Time

It was D-day. The next make-or-break event that would determine whether we were proceeding with the sale of our home. Survey time.

Would we discover we had dry rot in the woodwork? Would we discover the entire house is filled with damp? Is there a secret mouse infestation (this was a big worry after actually finding a bloody mouse in the house a few months back!!) Would we find a dead body in the deep, dark depths of the attic?!

Who knew? But we were about to find out.

A thorough Introduction

9.55am and there’s a knock at the door. I open it to find a fella who instantly reminds me of an older version of one of our friends, introduces himself, and tells me “Don’t worry, I’m not a salesperson, I’m not here to con you into anything. I’m not a charity either, though I do give to charity, I’m just here to do the survey on your property”, and then proceeds to show me his ID, give me his name, his badge number, what felt like his entire family history as well as what exactly what he would be doing on my property. It must have taken about three minutes of him standing outside in the rain giving me every detail about himself before I could get a word in to reassure him that I was expecting him and ask if he wanted to come inside.

When he finally came in I led him through to the living room and asked if he’d like a drink.

“A pint of bitter would be LOVELY!” and he roared with laughter, and as I politely laughed along he reassured me “no, no, I’m just joking, it’s too early. Well it’s not really, but I’m on the job, and I don’t drink on the job” and more roaring laughter.

I stood there politely laughing and waiting for him to tell me if he would like a drink at all.

I politely suggest “Tea? Coffee? Water?”

He’s like “What’re you having?!”

I was caught off guard because I wasn’t planning on having anything, I’d just finished my first coffee of the day and wasn’t quite ready for my next yet. Because I can be quite socially awkward under pressure, I just blurted “tea” remembering that I’d got milk in especially in the event that he would want a brew (I don’t drink it much usually).

He proceeds to tell me about the fasting diet he’s on. Can’t eat or drink or have any sugar whatsoever before 12pm. As I’m about to say OK no problem, and gently leave him to it and get back to work myself, he somehow convinces himself as well as me that it’s OK to break his fast and that he’d love a black coffee but NO MILK OR SUGAR, because he is fasting after all.

He continues chatting away happily as I go to make his coffee, but dear reader, if there’s one thing you should know about me it’s that I’m not a morning person at all. I’m really not used to having so much energy thrown at me in one go after just one coffee, so this entire full-on encounter was already scrambling my head by this point.

Pleasantries

I made him his coffee expecting him to take it away and get cracking with his tasks. I was getting a little antsy that I needed to get back to work. But no, he had other ideas.

I hand him his coffee and he looks at me aghast and asks “where’s yours?!”

That’s right. I was supposed to make myself one too wasn’t I? So rather than just saying “I’m actually fine and don’t want one”, my socially awkward self then goes to make myself a cup of tea I don’t want, while answering what feels like a thousand questions about every possible topic in the universe.

I’m new to all this so I didn’t quite realise that when you make a tradesman a coffee they expect you to have a drink with them, but I figured it was quite a nice sentiment, and it wouldn’t be long so I could just work later on to make up for the lost time.

What I didn’t expect was that it would be nearly AN HOUR before he would actually start working on the house!

We have a brew together and he starts talking about general affairs, this and that, holiday plans for the year, how much of a dickhead Bozza is and how the country is in tatters, before proceeding to ask me if I’m a red or a blue.

For those readers outside of the UK or those who don’t know me, I still have a very faint Scouse accent that can only really be heard from anybody that isn’t scouse. The surveyor had picked up on the remnants of the accent, and was asking what football team I supported. Red = Liverpool, Blue = Everton.

I answer that I’m a blue, but before I get chance to follow it up with “but I don’t really follow football, it’s just how I was brought up because my Dad is a huge Everton fan” he bellows “CORRECT ANSWER! If you were a red I was going to say you had all sorts of structural issues with your house in the report!” *cue more roaring laughter*

Turns out, this Manc-as-they-come-happy-as-larry guy is an Everton fan! Who would have guessed?!

He spends the next 15 minutes animatedly talking about all the problems Everton are having, his opinion on what’s going on, the owner, the boss, the implications with Russia (???) all these sorts of things, while I just stand there like a deer in the headlights, nodding along, thinking the only thing I have to contribute to the entire conversation is that I know Everton were in danger of being relegated.

Putting the World to Rights

Then he moves to politics and how much of a “dickhead” Bozza is. Unless I’m a Tory? Am I a Tory? He’s sorry if I am and he should check before he goes slating the prime minister in my home. I reassure him no, I’m not a Tory, to which he replied “yeah thought as much” and whilst I wondered what could have given me away, I didn’t have time to ask because he was already on to the next topic.

I tell you what. Even though I’m an introvert, I am very chatty and can be very social. People think I can chat for England, but god this guy put me to shame!

For the next 45 minutes, I hear all about his life, his kids, his hobbies, and give my opinions on the questions he asks – what do I think of Bozza, what do I think of *insert basically EVERYTHING THAT EVER EXISTED here*, and whether he can see my dog.

Then we get onto his experiences with dogs growing up, a story about a deaf and blind dog his friend adopted, the time he rescued a dog from a puppy farm, how he just loves dogs SO MUCH and are border collies really as clever as they say?

He asks me do I have kids, then tells me that he doesn’t just assume because I’m a woman that I do, that he was just asking generally. His daughter teaches him all about women’s rights and sexism so he tries at all times to not say anything that would be considered sexist. I then get to hear all about his son and how terrible he is at football but how amazing he is at athletics (and how without sounding like he is generalising, his son is half Jamaican and must get his fast genes from his mother). He’s a very good-looking lad too, only 14 but looks older than his age and took a girl out on a date for the first time the week before. They were worried sick about letting him into the city centre alone because he looks older than he is and isn’t the most streetwise kid. He’s a good lad though. So’s his daughter, training to be a lawyer and he’s so proud of them both.

Time was really getting on by this point and whilst I appreciated his friendliness and openness, I really needed to get back to work. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him so I just kept listening and chatting until he finally decided it was time to crack on.

If there’s one word to describe me, dear reader, it is most certainly NOT ‘assertive’.

The Survey

He finally goes to do the survey and I race back to my computer to crack on with work. At one point I looked out my office window and he’s there in the little outside space examining things, photographing the gutters, and when he looks up and sees me, he gave a funny little half dance, half cheerful wave and feigned taking a photo of me too (at least I hope he was faking it!)

I realised that this guy genuinely loves his job, and that his warmth was infectious. I decided that when he came back inside, I wouldn’t worry about how much work I needed to do, I would just bask in his company. He was a ray of sunshine, and honestly, I needed a bit of sunshine at this point in the house journey. Work could wait a little while.

When he came inside he asked me if he could have access to the loft and do we have a ladder, at which point I definitely looked confused because in the whole 10 years I’ve been here, I’ve never been in the loft but I definitely don’t think we have a ladder. NO FEAR. He’s brought his own. A completely unfoldable ladder. Wow!

As he starts to climb he says “I’m not going to find anything dodgy in here am I?” at which point I laughed back and replied, “God I hope not, don’t you?! I need this bloody house to sell ASAP – don’t disappoint me!!!” We have a little giggle and up he goes into the loft.

As he’s up there he shouts down to me that he’s glad he hasn’t found anything, because I’m a nice girl and he wouldn’t have wanted to cause issues in my marriage. I think he could sense my confusion at what the hell that had to do with the price of tripe, so next thing, his head pops out of the hatch.

Scandalous Sub-Story

He tells me how once he went to a house, and the guy who lived there was SO rude. He doesn’t expect to be offered food or drinks, (though it’s wonderful if he is) but he had asked on this particular occasion if he could use the toilet. He had a lot of visits to do and hadn’t had time between appointments to find a public toilet.

The guy had said no, and so the surveyor had had to crack on with the survey needing the toilet. I won’t go into too much detail about the rude guy but he was apparently unnecessarily obnoxious and unhelpful, without any imaginable reason. Just before the surveyor went into his attic, the guy’s wife had arrived home and was apparently the complete opposite. She was very nice, friendly and even offered him a cup of tea. Thrilled, he jumped at the offer, and whilst she was making it, he’d gone up into the attic.

As he was examining for asbestos, or damp, or whatever else people examine attics for, he found a huge box of magazines. Adult magazines, if you get what I’m saying.

He explained that he isn’t usually a petty guy, and he understands that sometimes people are going through hidden struggles, but he was now desperate for the toilet (he clarified he was only going for a wee, wasn’t planning on ruining the bathroom or anything!) and was disappointed at how rude this guy had been. So he shouts down “excuse me, should I bring this box down from up here?”

The wife couldn’t hear properly so asked him to hold on while she came closer, and as she headed towards the loft hatch, the rude guy apparently jumped up and raced from his position on the sofa before his wife could get there and said “no, no, just leave it up there”. His wife, blissfully unaware, says “what were you saying?” to which the rude guy replied “nothing, it’s all in hand”, shooting survey guy a threatening look to keep schtum.

The surveyor realised this was his chance and he was like “would you mind if I used your toilet?” to which the guy suddenly nice as pie replied “yeah, yeah, of course mate it’s just there!” He was all of a sudden friendly, helpful and couldn’t do enough for him!

The story made me laugh. I really liked this guy.

We had a little laugh and he asked if I’d ever seen up there and invited me up, telling me to take care with the ladder as it was a bit rocky, and so up I went, seeing my attic for the first and probably last time. That was fun, could have had a whole bloody loft conversion up there if I’d known it was so big!

So What’s the Verdict?

He completes the survey inspection and I brace myself for the news. Is there anything that is going to put a stop to this sale?

He starts doing a fake drumroll and I’m on tenterhooks, at which point he tells me that the only issue he foresees is that we have a bit of damp, but that it is very easily fixable and nothing that should put the buyers off.

PHEW.

He tells me he will fast-track getting the report written up as he knows we’re in a rush, and that he wishes us luck with the rest of our journey and really hopes it all works out for us, as he’s only heard horror stories about buying new builds.

LOL. GREAT. THANKS.

So a whopping nearly 2 hours after he arrived, he left. It was a whirlwind dear reader, to say the least. But it was a pleasant one and even though I was super behind on work, I was glad that I had met this guy. He was lovely and I thoroughly enjoy meeting nice people.

It started off my week with a bang, and reminded me to slow down and appreciate sunny human interaction at whatever chance I can get it. For my job, 95% of my interaction all day every day is virtual so it was lovely to have this in-person interaction. But it also highlighted to me that I still, even after all this time, can’t do Monday mornings.

Next up, the official results!

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