Buying The Building

My special lady (I hesitate to call her “girlfriend” as she’s not a girl, nor just a friend) is in a bind right now. She’s been renting a flat for 22 years. She’s seen her kids grow up there. Her entire adult life was spent there, every giggle and tear. And now the morons in her building want to buy it out.

Here’s how. By some strange magic, rental tenants in Sweden can sometimes buy the building from the landlords (usually only from the state-owned rental companies). Basically, instead of owning a flat, you now own a share in a building (as nobody ever really owns a flat in Sweden). And those who don’t want to buy, or just can’t, will have to move the fuck out or stay on as a tenant of their previous neighbours.

A lovely meeting with the neighbours.

The plus in buying a flat like this is that you get it well below the market price and make a bucket of money when you sell it. The minus (besides losing a piece of your soul) is that you are now partly responsible for everything going wrong in the building. Every water leak and rat infestation is suddenly your problem. And you get to have lots of meetings with your neighbours. Which, as you can imagine, is a wheelbarrow full of joy.

Personally I would pay good money to NOT have to go to meetings with my neighbours and endlessly discuss washing machines. But that’s just me

People in favour of this process always want to do it for the money, to get a start in the property market. Oh, they’ll give a raft of other reasons when asked. They’ll go on about having more of a say, of getting a better feeling of community and blah fucking arse blah. But we all know the truth, and so do they. They’re doing it for the profit.

This buying-out process is pushed forward, and usually started, by real-estate agents. They’ll convince the saps about how much they’ll save, when in fact only one group is guaranteed to make money during one of these buy-outs – them. The real-estate bottom-feeders make their promises, take their cut, and disappear.

Does anybody really think real-estate agents do ANYTHING for any other reason than lining their own pockets? They couldn’t give a flying fuck if these people pay more per month after the buy-out or not. They want their cut, and then they’ll fuck off, back under their fucking rocks where they belong.

What stuns me about this process (besides the fact that anybody actually believes anything a real-estate agent says) is the following:

People sign rental contracts, knowing them to be rental contracts. It’s not exactly a secret. The rental system had given you, and thousands like you, a place to live when you need it. A chance to start a life in your own apartment. Since private rentals are very hard to find in Sweden, getting a flat through the official queue is often the only solution besides buying. (Or sharing, which Swedes are very reluctant to do.)

And then, having signed a RENTAL CONTRACT on a flat, what do you do? You buy it up and remove it from the rental market. You deny the same possibility to other people that was given to you. And do you know what that makes you? A selfish prick.

I’ve nothing against buying apartments. I bought one once myself, and I sold it again for a profit. The only thing I dislike about the process is giving money to real-estate agents, who should be soundly whipped and rolled in dog-shit at every opportunity.

People in favour of this will go on and on about “buying out my apartment”. And what, surely, can I have against somebody just buying own their own apartment? Hang on, though – YOUR apartment? In what way, shape or form is a rental apartment YOUR apartment? It’s a rental, you dumb shit. You pay the rent, you live there. What in this deal makes it YOURS?

I never want to do this and I don’t fucking care how much I earn. There are a bunch of people who say this too, that they “don’t believe in it” but then go ahead and do it anyway when the chance pops up. Newsflash, people: if you believe in something ONLY IN THEORY then you don’t fucking believe in it at all. Just take the money and run and wipe your arse with it forever.

If people want to buy and sell apartments, fine. It’s a worthwhile investment, I get that. And it’s nice to paint the kitchen whatever colour you like. So by all means, fire away. But if you go into the rental system with the ambition of removing flats from the rental system, to your own benefit, then you are a dishonourable scumbag. You are destroying opportunities for future generations who have one less rental flat at their disposal. People just like you were when a rental flat came along and saved YOUR ass.

Now my special lady is forced to move, while her neighbours face paying the same as they paid before, but suddenly have a pile of responsibility to go along with it. While real-estate agents grow fat, sticky and flatulent on their grimy little profits. Win-win. Except for the rest of us.

Many people appear to think that owning absolutely everything in the world is a solution. While others like me think it might very well be the problem. And I could be wrong here, but at least I’m not a scumbag.

Or worse still, a real-estate agent.

/ paddy

Real Estate Bastards

I try not to hate people. That’s not a way to be happy. Even though I hold certain views myself, I always enjoy talking to people with different views. Not in order to feel superior by beating them over the head with logic to prove I am “right” (as done by quite a few people I could mention), but because I might gain a new viewpoint, a new way to see the world. And that’s what life is all about, right?

But there’s one group of people that I unreservedly despise. A group that should, with all due haste, be removed from the surface of the planet; scraped from Terra’s boots like yesterday’s dried dog-shit. And these are real estate agents.

To save you reading the rest of this rant, I’ll summarise here: I fucking despise real estate agents. Like nothing else in this world. I hate them, for example, more than fascists. At least many fascists have some belief that they are doing some kind of greater good, as misplaced as it might be. Real estate agents are simply selfish, greedy scum.

Twice have I had dealings with these despicable twigs of humanity. Twice have they tried, in some way, to cheat me. And one time was when the bastard was actually working for me, selling my apartment and getting paid handsomely for his few hours of sweaty-fingered work. He tried to cheat me anyway.

I mean, what do they do exactly? They sell things that there is a huge demand for. And how do they do this? By lying, cheating, and pressing up prices. Are they experts in anything? No. Do they have a special skill that can’t be found elsewhere? No. Are they in any way necessary to the smooth running of the world? No they fucking aren’t.

They go to school too, and fuck knows what they learn there, except to take misleading photos, write deceptive texts and suck money from people. In fact, they seem to exist for two reasons – to push up property prices in any way they can in order to increase their own cut, and to keep prices in general high. Property bubbles are entirely their fault. Okay, them and the banks, but mostly them, the spineless, gutless, soulless, suit-wearing sons of bitches. Useless slabs of flesh, every last one, without exception.

Nobody put these sentiments better than Stewart Lee in his awesome sketch. And who wouldn’t like to batter estate agents repeatedly with a heavy bat? Sounds fucking delightful if you ask me.

(And for fuck’s sake, buy the man’s DVD.)

So join me in making the world a better place. Let’s all spit at a real estate agent today. A big sticky globular one, with shades of green in it. You know you want to.

/ paddy