Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 574

For the love of real estate

Today I’ve been discussing with my American chums the difference between a UK sestate agent and a USA real estate agent.

It appears that the USA ‘realtor’ develops a relationship with the people who are buying a house; becomes their port of call for all things; has dinner with them, changes diapers for their baby; becomes their second child’s godparent; attends to the children’s homework; eats over on the holidays; and is forever known as one of the family after the deal is done.

In the UK, we just find some bloke or bird from an office on the high street to show us around a home, which we picked out of Thursday’s local paper, in awkward silence; they give us a few pieces of paper to look at and sign; and then off they pop back to their office and off we pop off to have a drink and never shall we meet again.

That’s the nutshell difference 🙂

A typical McMansion real estate property here

A typical McMansion real estate property here

Don’t mention the war!

I love having conversations with Americans about all sorts round this neck of the woods, and invariably the conflict between us Brits and our American cousins is brought in to play for amusing effect.

This conversation ran thus:

Me: I find DC really hard to navigate round; I always get so disorientated (not disoriented, as is the American way of saying it! 😉 )

American chum: Yeah, they made it that way on purpose cos of your people….

Whether this is true or not, I applaud that quick retort!

That old war thing....

That old war thing….

(Note: Washington, D.C., is a planned city and in 1791, President Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and city planner, to design the new capital, so, naturally, this encouraged the French to make it impossible for us Brits to navigate!)

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7 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 574

  1. Maryjenmary says:

    Come on! They plan the communities to make it hard for strangers (and criminals) to find their way around. Also, they’re trying to give you more privacy. It has absolutely nothing to do with our British cousins. Most Americans believe that there should be fewer hindrances between us and the Brits and free trade and movement between the countries. We’ve been best friends for years now….

  2. Louiser says:

    That house in the photo would be considered an average size, or possibly slightly larger than average depending on where one lives in the US. It’s definitely not a mcmansion; those are far more hideous and ridiculous looking.

    • Agreed – this might appear to be an average size house and there are far more grotesque, decadent and unnecessary houses in this area, for a Brit whose entire UK house fits in the basement of her current USA house (like this one pictured), and there is still room to spare, this is a McMansion by comparison!

  3. amandakocz says:

    That was definitely our experience with our real estate lady – she even gave us a Christmas gift 6 months after we’d moved into our house! Mind you, she was amazing and we would never have been able to buy the hosue without her.

  4. Don’t get me started on buying or selling real estate 😉 Last year we (me Dutch, dh USA) bought a house in France where the real estate business is anarchy, and now we’re selling our house in the US, and thank goodness the system is organized enough we can do it with our lovely agent from our computer while sitting on our sunny terrace, glass of wine in hand. PS: No, that picture is of a standard nice middle-middle class suburban house in the US, not a McMansion.

    Wishing you well in the US!

  5. Rebecca says:

    I live in the DC area and was also taught that L’Enfant designed the city to be purposely hard to navigate to make it harder for the British to invade. Don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a better explanation than my previous assumption, which was that he hated Americans and wanted to torture us by making it a headache to get around this place…:)

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