‘And just to summarise, the libro del edificio must be handed over before completion. Is everyone clear on that?’
Several heads nod in agreement and chat animatedly about the merits of real estate protocol. The middle aged French lady sat next to me on the sofa is rapidly taking notes on ipad but all I can feel in my hands is the glimmer of perspiration alongside the heavy weight of responsibility.
Gazing forlornly out the window I realise how easy Estate Agents must have it back in the UK. All they have to do is sit in a nice cosy office, sipping cappuccinos and pointing out the advantages of having a combi boiler and a South facing rear patio to mortgage eager customers
Here in Andalucía the process is slightly different. Not only do you have to source the property by pounding the streets, craning your neck for ‘Vende’ boards which appear to be written in Crayola, you then also have to make contact with the owner via phone or smoke signals in their native tongue then try and convince them that paying 5% of the asking price for an agent to market their home is the only viable option if they genuinely want to sell their home before the inevitable apocalypse occurs. Only after all this has been agreed and signed in blood, sweat and fears you begin to research all the relative information and debts associated with the property which invariably involves 13 siblings and an ancient Micmac burial ground nestling beneath the Bougainvilleas.
‘I think that’s enough information for one day. Lets head over to a site that’s currently being built on and liaise with the developers over a glass of wine’ yells our invigorated sales leader.
My ears suddenly prick up and I grab my handbag in anticipation of the hard earned liquid refreshment on offer. Several trainees from the group pile into a sign written Fiat Punto and we head off in the direction of Marbella. I look out the window and wonder if there will be any unadopted sandwiches to accompany the fluids we have been promised just as my stomach complains loudly about its lack of contents.
‘Here we are!’ yells our enthusiastic mentor and I look outside only to be greeted by a large span of wasteland with several people in suits standing proudly, pointing into the empty space whilst clutching glasses of chilled champagne, smiling with commission purchased teeth.
I heave my ample buttocks out of the confines of the car and stand uncertainly on the perimeter of the nothingness. A man with a mahogany tan comes forward and places a glass of something sparkling in my hand then starts to converse with the rest of the group in Spanish. I try and make myself less conspicuous by nodding occasionally whilst sipping the contents of my liquid lunch.
Looking around at the other candidates I suddenly realise that a) I have nothing in common with anyone here apart from the fact we are all breathing and b) I don’t care about square footage or deeds or who owns the right to the footpath to the left of the gravel. I don’t care about making pots of money or having a fancy car. I care about having a bit of fun in the sun and doing what I do best, which in all honesty, isn’t much.
The developer finally stops talking and everyone shakes his hand and pats him on the back. For all I know he could have been discussing the dimensions of the ‘new and improved’ Prisoner Cell Block H. My stomach rumbles in anguish over its lack of solid contents and I make my excuses and head over to a group of people that may or may not be holding plates. On closer inspection they are surrounding a man who is slicing a giant ham with gusto so I stand in line, pointing greedily at the carcass and my mouth begins to water in anticipation as he piles the meat onto my plate. Grabbing several pieces of bread from a nearby table I head off alone to find a decent size piece of rubble to sit upon. Balancing the food on my knee, I cram the bread into my mouth and turn my face towards the sun.
‘So, how are you finding training?’ echoes a male voice from overhead.
Attempting to swallow, but without success I nod my head in what I hope looks like an enthusiastic motion and wave my arms around me to denote my agreement over the luxury apartments that are to be built upon this barren land.The man nods and smiles then heads back towards the eager crowd and I sit alone, wiping my greasy fingers on a napkin, knowing full well that this frock, on a rock, with her hock will absolutely, undoubtedly, undeniably not be returning tomorrow, or any other day to pursue a career in real estate.
All that’s left to do now is inform my husband of this decision…
To be continued – Episode 24
A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.