Thursday 19 January 2017

On the move: A tale of two doctors - and a virtual viewing on the iPad

Katy McGuinness

Published 20/03/2016 | 02:30

One Saturday afternoon, several hours after our open view had finished, there was a ring on the bell and on the doorstep stood a well-dressed and well-spoken middle-aged man, iPad in hand. Thinkstock Images
One Saturday afternoon, several hours after our open view had finished, there was a ring on the bell and on the doorstep stood a well-dressed and well-spoken middle-aged man, iPad in hand. Thinkstock Images

One Saturday afternoon, several hours after our open view had finished, there was a ring on the bell and on the doorstep stood a well-dressed and well-spoken middle-aged man, iPad in hand. He introduced himself as a medical doctor living abroad who had studied in Dublin and had recently purchased a home in Ireland for his retirement. Let's call this man Doctor 1.

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And then Doctor 1 introduced another chap on his iPad. His friend was also a doctor, they had met at medical school, and he too wanted to retire to Ireland. Let's call this man Doctor 2.

Doctor 2 was laid up at the moment, said Doctor 1, and Doctor 2 helpfully waved around a crutch to confirm the situation. Doctor 1 went on to tell me that he'd been speaking to our estate agent and that he had been told that the viewing was going on all day until 5pm. (Anyone who is in the habit of viewing houses knows that viewings happen in short windows of half an hour or an hour, and that - unless it's the launch of a new development - all-day or all-afternoon viewings simply do not happen.) Alarm bells rang.

Anyway, because I wasn't on my own in the house, and because I have a big dog, I decided to allow the two doctors - one live and one virtual - to come in. I gave them the tour of the house which, because we had already, within the space of a couple of hours, reverted to our more relaxed ways, meant that they were treated to the sight of the dog's bowl, a pile of laundry, another of newspapers, and the smell of cooking in the kitchen. In other words, normal life.

Both doctors said how much they liked the house, and expressed their appreciation for my having facilitated the viewing. They said that they'd be in touch with the agent on Monday.

As soon as the two doctors had left, I rang the agent. As I feared, neither one of the doctors had been in touch with the office, nor been told anything about viewing going on until 5pm. Then I googled them. The first surprise was that they had given their real names.

Doctor 1 turned out to be a bit of a tabloid star. He likes to kill big game animals in his spare time, and had been arrested on suspicion of writing false invoices in relation to insurance claims. Doctor 2 was equally newsworthy, having been struck off some years ago, and with a colourful past in terms of drunk-driving, dumping of medical records and dodgy prescribing.

I rang the agent back. He'd been googling too. "What have I done?" I wailed.

He was sanguine. "Their money's as good as anyone else's," he said. "Let's wait and see what they come up with."

We're still waiting for that call. But the incident sparked a discussion about whether we care who buys the house or not. Do we?

Sunday Independent

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