Cloak and Dagger
Secrets and lies and house prices
When to hold your ground and when to cede? The poker face, the bluff, the art of the deal: it comes in various guises and terminology but it boils down to the same thing and applies to our professional and personal lives – who can hold out longest and who really wants to?
You often hear couples talking of the battles they’re willing to fight and the line that can’t be crossed. For some, it’s an affair, while for others (my Texan godmother for one) if treated discreetly, that’s less offensive than a partner who snores. We all have our line in the sand.
I’m in the middle of a negotiation – well I write ‘negotiation’ but that process hasn’t even started yet – that involves a bull-headed seller and a buyer whose desire to remain shrouded in secrecy would lead one to believe that he has something sinister to hide.
Frankly, it’s impossible and though I know both parties want a deal (though neither will admit this) there’s pride on one side and suspicion on the other stymieing any action.
Cloak and dagger
The potential buyer insists on such cloak and dagger shenanigans that, frankly, I’ve become somewhat suspicious of his credibility. Without wishing to brag I’ve dealt with Hollywood A-listers, Royalty and a billionaire within the full glare of the public eye and none of them have been as furtive as this chap.
I want to say to him, ‘This is an expensive property [for he’s paranoid they find out how wealthy he is] – anyone who’s going to buy it is going to be rich, and quite possibly significantly richer than you – so your decision is simple… Do you want this to be your home? If so, bid on it at a price you feel comfortable at. If you don’t, don’t.’
And in the end, that’s what it comes down to, but of course I remain schtum and carry on playing my part as some deputy in CSI: London blurring the truth of his actual identity.
I’m perhaps more sensitive to his behaviour as I’m not good at deception or carefully considered retention of information. I have a friend – and one I like very much – who shrouds his own story in vagaries and half-truths.
When I first realised certain discrepancies appeared between what I heard from him and others I was puzzled but I’ve come to accept it’s instinctive for him to withhold or obfuscate. It also made me realise that trust in a friendship or with a client needs a certain amount of truth and revelation – I’m not talking of an emotional splurge or bank-sheet disclosure but something.
And so my buyer continues to reveal nothing and refuses to offer on the flat he wants – playing the dance of the insecure as he wants another to put a bid in before him – and one part of me (the non-business motivated part) has come to hope he loses it.