Caveat Emptor….

Most certainly at an auction.  I read with a wry smile of the challenge of Mr Mehmet Koch whose most recent venture into property acquisition was reported in many of this weeks’ papers.  The aforementioned Mr Koch (stop smirking at the back), recently attended an auction and  purchased a property located in Finsbury Park, in the process parting with £450,000 cash.  This was done without having viewed the interior of the property, reportedly because the elderly couple living there would not allow access to Mr Koch and his business partner brother.  With a prescience befitting the Delphic Oracle, most of  us reading the article could have scripted the next instalment in the story of Mr Koch’s property empire (he already has a substantial number of houses).  Having handed over the cash and having in return been handed the keys he discovered that internally the property was a combination of bomb site, refuse tip and a leading contender for an episode of ‘Hoarders’ Homes From Hell’, or some other made-on-the-cheap, voyeuristic reality-TV show shown on an obscure satellite channel at 3 in the morning.  To compound his misery, Mr Koch has now fallen foul of the local police; in jettisoning the accumulated junk onto the lawn to the front of the property he has been cautioned for not treating the contents “with respect”.  Really.  This almost lends itself to a Richard Littlejohn “you couldn’t make it up” entry.  Unfortunately for Mr Koch the scenario is all too true.  If ever there was a case of fallaces sunt rerum species (look it up) this is it.  But really, to purchase a property unseen when you have tried and failed to view it internally?  Would alarm bells not be ringing, even faintly?  We have all bought something ‘blind’ or in haste without giving it our full consideration.  Take my ‘bold’ checked, luridly coloured golfing trousers bought for a discounted price at Bicester Village.  Actually, I wore those, much to the dismay of the genteel members of Edgbaston Golf Club; but one accepts the possible short-sightedness and inherent risk of such decision-making.  However, to part with £450,000 cash takes some doing (and a large pair of….bags in which to put the money).  In the current climate, the popularity of property auctions continues to increase and they often provide a great opportunity for people to either get rid of or acquire a property quickly and at value.  Not a month goes by without the media reporting on the activity at such auctions and very frequently the gentleman whose opinion is sought and quoted is my fellow media star, Mr Paul Fosh, (South Wales hasn’t just got the fat opera singer in the Go Compare advertisements).  As Mr Fosh would I am sure concur, there are great opportunities out there but non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum  (look in the same place as before).  Not bad for Fairwater Comprehensive…