Tales from Mani 2

August 2005 We met Property Consultant, Susan Shimmin www.therealmani.com and her dog Bertie, in the welcome shade of a bar in Kardamili, to describe our house-to-be. I soon sensed that our vague description mildly irritated Susan but she listened to our criteria - old, traditional but wouldn't completely dismiss a new build. Nicely restored but would think about a restoration project. A garden, but nothing that would need too much attention. Not in the middle of a village but not too remote - and promised a good selection for us to view.
We'd already looked at a couple of houses and a plot with a pile of stones that we'd shunned immediately so we were optimistic when Susan offered to show us around until we found the right one.
We poked around some lovely old houses and some off-plan, architect-designed, new builds. The old houses, we decided, would need too much maintenance or restoration and the posh new builds were too expensive for their size.
So, after a few days of dragging reluctant kids around potential houses she said she had something in mind that we may like but that we'd need vision. As we arrived (driving, very cautiously, down a very long, steep dirt and concrete track) we were stunned by the beautiful view. The sun spun a shimmering beam across the huge expanse of sea, straight in our direction, as we gazed across from this amazing viewpoint nestled amongst the verdant, olive-terraced foothills of the Taygetos mountains that loomed up behind us.

This building site, with it's stone carcasses and concrete beams, perched on the edge of a deep gorge, was the one! There were negotiations with the owners and a price was agreed. Then followed hours of waiting...first, at the bank (where we were no.80 in the queue). Once our account was opened we had to see the local Public Notary to give Power of Atourney to enable Susan to act on our behalf. We spent hours of waiting, gesturing, negotiating, more waiting - and unfortunately we could understand very little of what was going on! Thankfully bilingual Susan did all the talking and we just agreed, signed documents and photocopied passports. We were quite anxious at the time (having given Power of Atourney to a lady we'd only just met) but, as it turned out we were in trustworthy and capable hands! The purchase would prove to be complicated and pretty stressful and we were lucky that Susan was there to sort out some of the problems (which I will describe in another post). Her years of experience, local knowledge and her personal approach to our business relationship made the process much less daunting than perhaps it would have been had we used an estate agent.


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