A little update to my post the other day, about my attempts to purchase a small plot of land, and where at the last minute, the price of the land suddenly jumped 66%:
The civil engineer who I paid to do the land survey is somehow related to the seller of the land that I have been trying to purchase. As mentioned, this small plot of land with some olive trees on it has been up for sale since at least August 2019. I agreed to pay the asking price, but the sale was delayed through no fault of mine, and in fact the seller wanted to finalize things when COVID lockdowns eased.
When they finally eased, we made arrangements, with no change in the terms of the purchase/sale of the land, to carry through with the deal. This week was the week to meet with the “notary” that writes up the contract, but the seller suddenly decided to increase the price by 66%.
A Professional And Their Ethical Standards
Civil engineers are considered “professionals,” and in any other country, would have a code of ethics to abide by in order to continue to have their license recognized by the body that governs them. I did some research to find out what organizational body governs civil engineers in Greece. As mentioned in my previous post, the seller had indicated to us that the civil engineer that I had hired and paid to do the survey had got in touch with the seller to recommend a higher price that what was agreed upon.
In my opinion, this was outrageous if it was true. So, I thought I’d start a little war here, and step back to see how it turned out. If I did not get the land at the agreed upon price, someone was going to pay the extra 66% I was asked to pay in agony, shame, or discomfort.
My ultimate goal was the small piece of land at the agreed upon price, however.
Proverbial “Hits The Fan”
I sent the civil engineer an email, advising him that his name had been brought up as the reason for this sudden price increase and lack of good faith in negotiations with the seller.
I did not accuse him, but advised him that if it were true, I’d be seeking an investigation by his professional governing body and that in any other country, if true, he had grossly breached any standard of ethics for a professional. I asked him for an explanation.
That got the reaction I expected and hoped for.
The next morning, the seller was on the phone, apparently in a rage that I had involved another person. When I heard that, I chuckled and advised the translator to advise the seller that, “No, we did not involve another person. Another person who I was the client of, had been introduced to us in the negotiations of this deal, and therefore it was my duty to contact him before I requested an ethics investigation into his actions.”
But obviously, the civil engineer must have woke up on Monday morning, read my email, and was on the phone to the seller in Athens right away.
The seller has now agreed to carry through with the transaction with the terms of our agreement in place.
Professional Denies Any Contact
I have no clue if he is telling me the truth, but the civil engineer and I also had a conversation. He claimed he had no contact with the seller (he didn’t acknowledge calling the seller on Monday morning either), and that here in Greece, because I am a foreigner, everyone thinks I am “dumb” and so will play games and fool with me in regard to business deals.
The conversation was cordial, but I pointed out that “while I may be Irish, I’m not a dumb foreigner,” and that if it were true that he had interfered, I was doing my own due diligence before requesting an investigation into professional ethics and to know whether or not he was a trustworthy business person himself; is he worthy of any recommendations from me in the future with my “foreign” friends that may have reason to use his services?”
I also pointed out to him that as a professional, his name had been used to try to justify something, and he ought to know that.
By the time we had this conversation, the seller had already agreed (possibly with influence from the civil engineer) to drop the demand for an increase in price so we could close the deal amicably.
Nothing is official yet; there are still several steps before I can officially say that I own a small olive grove in Greece – and today we are to finalize those steps with a visit to an office of a “notary.” Hopefully all will go well, and nothing unexpected will occur between now and then.
I’m pretty sure though that words must have been spoken between relatives – and regardless who did what, there are a couple of people in Greece that realize I’m no “dumb Irishman from Canada” – the civil engineer knows I will hold him professionally responsible for his ethics as a professional, and the seller will think twice about fooling with “dumb foreigners” again. I can only imagine the phone calls they must have had together, Monday morning.