Ian Lange FNAEA of Humberts Honiton celebrates 50 years in Estate Agency in 2016.
He started work in 1966 in Exeter with Fox & Sons then moved to a local company in Honiton soon after. He has been working in the town almost continually ever since. Ian has unrivalled experience in the East Devon property market, having sold everything from small terraced cottages and farmhouses to 40 roomed country mansions. Some properties he has sold many times over in the 50 years.
Ian comments: ‘It has been a fascinating journey and I wonder where the time went. I have met so many wonderful people and sold some stunning properties and have some great and sometimes sad and sometimes funny stories to tell. Perhaps I should write a book along the following lines….
My morning started with a market appraisal of a lovely old farmhouse for an elderly clergyman and his wife. After being shown around by the clergyman we sat down to discuss the property and its value and saleability. His wife was nowhere to be seen so I suggested that I should look for her whilst he stayed where he was. Upon venturing into the garden I was shocked and surprised to find the lady emerging from the pond, soaking wet from head to toe and covered in weed exclaiming ‘I slipped whilst feeding the fish’. Fortunately, the only thing that was hurt was her dignity.
Today contracts were exchanged and completed on a property near Sidmouth. It is not often that these two events happen simultaneously and such a sale needs fine tuning by the solicitors and agents as well as nerves of steel for all concerned. Last week we had a completion where the buyer turned up at the property with the removal van only to find that the seller hadn’t started to pack up, exclaiming they weren’t ‘’moving out until tomorrow’’. The buyers and removal men had to stay in a hotel that night, at the expense of the vendor. Fortunately, this is a very rare event.
A rather eccentric vendor invited me around to put her large Victorian house on the market. When in the kitchen, I noticed a big saucepan on the Aga and remarked that ‘something smells nice’. ‘It’s hare’ she said. ‘Have you ever tried hare?’ ‘No’ I replied, at which point she delved into the pan with a fork and thrust a chunk of hare into my mouth. ‘What do you think?’ I mumbled something, my mouth full, only to be told ‘I think you’re right, it’s off, I’ll feed it to the dogs!’
A few years ago I carried out a valuation on a delightful period cottage in the Blackdown Hills. The owner made it clear that the only way she was leaving the property was ‘in a box’. However, she needed an idea of her cottages value for her family and will. She did say that she would write into the will that when she passed on we would get the property to sell. Sadly I put it on the market today.
Today we had a meeting about a beautiful cottage we are selling and had to meet the buyer (a titled lady) and her solicitor on site. The subject matter was lightened considerably by the titled lady’s constant Freudian slip by referring throughout the meeting to the vendor of the property as ‘Mr Cox’ when actually the vendors name was Mr Dicks. Neither I nor the solicitor dared to correct her - I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to say ‘Sorry lady ‘P’, it’s not Cox, its Dicks!’