My brother and I are considering a DIY sale as the way to go. The decision is a combination of wanting to save real estate agent's fees and a nostalgic wish to hold on until the last possible moment. To be the last link between the family home and the new owner. We want it to go to a good family.
We've done our homework. We've got enough estimates of its value to thoroughly confuse us. They range from what seems like a very low price by a registered valuer to what seems like fanciful instant wealth scenarios provided by the more adventurous of the local real estate agents.
One in particular, a woman with a Europen accent, phones me constantly. I seem to have become her best friend, or her ticket to dreams unheard of. She has mailed me a dossier the size of a small phone book giving me an extensive list of recent sales, only a few of which are in any way comparable to our modest little two bedroom plus sleepout war service cottage. She follows this up with phone calls verging on harrassment. She is very insistent. It feels desperate. I imagine that this desperation might be driven by a difficult life in a dark, cold corner of Eastern Europe complete with low slung sky, faulty plumbing, erratic electricity supply and days spent trudging through unforgiving grey streets (filled with pre-war Russian cars). I picture her desperately looking for work, anything to allow her the luxury of a next meal. Oh, and by the way, her aged mother also lives with her, wrapped in a dark shawl sitting silently beside the gas heater beside the window looking down on a rubbish filled laneway (from the third floor of their walk up tenement).
On the other hand, Mishka, as I dub her, may very well be phoning me dressed in high heels, a sleek Italian, linen designer suit and jewellery which sets off her dark eyes which peer at me from behind Gucci framed glasses.
She may have done well but she's not doing a great job of winning my heart in business. I'm looking for a homely, honest real estate agent with country charm and a low key lifestyle. Someone like my mum or the sister I never had.