Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another Real Estate Saga

This is another real estate story, so you can skip it if you are tired of listening to the endless moaning. I would certainly skip it if I could.

We had located a small piece of land up high, barely wide enough to support a cottage. We figured we might be able to afford it and a banana shack to live in. But hey, we thought, at least we would have something in case the issues with the government grind on endlessly. (We have noticed more and more lately that we are not getting younger.) We arranged to have a survey done of the land, because every inch of width mattered on such a narrow lot. Plus, the land had not been surveyed since the 1980s.

We figured we had solved our problems, and we began planning a modest little cottage to build on the land. Meanwhile, the survey was begun. I even had the audacity to begin to feel a little happy again. Foolish me. The gods are not done with us yet.

A little note about surveys on Dominica: points of survey on this island are frequently marked with beer bottles placed upside down in the earth, sticks, and trees. Yes, gentle readers, my future home was hanging on the possibility of finding a beer bottle. After two weeks of trying to find any point of the prior survey, the poor survey guy threw up his hands in despair. All the beer bottles were missing, and the trees were indicated in Kweyol names, which none of the five or six native Dominicans consulted could figure out. (Kweyol is the local linguistic amalgamation of French, English, African and Carib.)

In addition to the missing beer bottles and unknown trees, the neighbor to the South insisted the line was definitely further North. The Northern neighbor claims, "No, No, the line is further South." The narrow lot was shrinking before our eyes. The strong smell of endless boundary disputes began to hang in the air. I hope by now you have tears streaming down your face, I certainly did. I crawled back into bed, under the covers for a few days.

Did I mention that the Realtor on the island who showed us this property does not return our calls?

So, we are back to square one. Actually, it feels like the reset point is into the negative numbers. We have to crawl up in order to reach zero. The only glimmer of hope I see in this, is that one day I can write a book. I am thinking, "The Definitive Guide to Dominica Real Estate Nightmares".

livingdominica: I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...


another real estate sufferer said...

About that realtor: We had one who just flat out dropped our effort to
buy our house. We were going along swimmingly, and then all of a sudden
she just stopped returning or taking calls or emails. Paul Blanchard
picked up the ball and handled everything, about 95% of the process.
She basically showed us the house (with him) and that was about it. No
one could quite figure out what the deal was. And then the kicker was
when she found out the deal had finally been negotiated, she apparently
stormed into the lawyer's office screaming that she was being robbed.
So, we wound up paying her a partial commission just to get her to shut

And, our boundaries shrank too, the lot was much smaller than
originally implied, even by the owner. Oh well, we still love the
place, but are disappointed that it doesn't have much elbow room.

Best of luck!

Minerva said...

Oh, Jen, I am so sorry to hear that!
I wish you a happy ending, but something tells me you'll need to find yet another property :-(((

BreeWee said...

I LOVE your blog! I love the photos, the humor, and your little adventures... fun stuff!

Jen said...

Yes, Minerva, the hunt continues!

And thanks for the kind words, breewee...