Saturday, 28 April 2007

Deal Done

Again the old Chinese wisdom of "The boat will set its head straight when it comes to the pier", meaning problems will be sorted out consequentially when it comes to the breaking point, was proven to be true and faithful.

An off-topic note though: I don't really like the so-called English translation of "cross the bridge when you come to it". The meaning just doesn't seem right.

Anyway.

Life is like a naughty boy who always catches you by surprise. When I was still hanging around in the middle of nowhere, as if I were awaiting something to happen, all of a sudden the developments moved so fast that I almost failed to catch up.

Everything began when my phone rang on Monday afternoon.

It was my property agent. She was a small, pleasant middle-aged woman. She understands how small my budget is and yet how picky I am. She had shown me to about 10 apartments but only one of them passed my first round of inspection. However, it was still carrying a price tag that was far beyond my budget.

Given the current positive market sentiment, when people are buying and selling without paying too much attention to the prices in real terms, I was struggling whether or not to ask my agent to bargain with the landlord of the shortlisted apartment. I need a substantial discount of about eight percent at least, which is somewhat aggressive under the current circumstances. With my incapability and negative experience in bargaining, I had no confidence at all in achieving a mission impossible.

The agent asked me whether I would like her to speak to the landlord for a better deal. Of course, why not?

Two or three hours later, the agent called me again, saying that the landlord had agreed to reduce the price to suit my budget. She asked me to meet her and the landlord in the evening to sign the tentative agreement and pay the initial deposit.

Surprisingly, I was not very excited hearing the news. Perhaps I was a bit too shocked. It was just too good to be true. And I couldn't help thinking whether there was anything that might have gone wrong.

Even when I met the landlord, an old couple who was selling one of their properties to invest in the booming Mainland China market, I was not sure whether it was a wise decision for me. At the same time, however, everything went so smoothly that it just seemed there was no better alternative, at least in the foreseeable future. We had no difficulty at all in agreeing on the price, the date of completing the transaction, the date of handing over the keys and so on, as if we have known each other for a long time and were ready to make any compromise that would seal the deal.

I can't really tell how uneasy or even intimidated when and after I signed the tentative agreement. Perhaps I was still unsure whether it was the right decision. Perhaps I was thrilled at the speed things went and the outcome it turned to be. Perhaps I was overwhelmed by the strong sense of commitment I have been longing to take up for years. Perhaps the reality of making a childhood dream come true was too much to absorb in hours and days.

Knowing myself, however, perhaps it was just that I have been thinking too much.

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps it is about time for you to buy your first house. Congratulations! I wish you all the best, and I don't think you would regret this decision. Now, let's start throwing in some templates, and see what color scheme you ought to choose. Remember, paint is the most inexpensive redecoration tool. So, be brave, be adventurous. And make it a castle!

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  2. Thank you. Well, it's not a house per se. It's just a small apartment in an old residential complex. I haven't made up my mind about renovation/re-decoration yet at a time when I'm still struggling with the legal paperwork and mortgage arrangements.

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