Con’s Corner with Con Constantine: 1 Year Anniversary Special!
Our guest columnist – Con Constantine – will present readers with a cleverly written send-up and an ironic imitation of the building industry.
Con hopes that by enjoying his articles – you will learn about the building industry and not fall into carefully concealed traps that can be costly, stressful and time-consuming.
Con strongly supports the concept of ‘buyer beware’ but at UltraCon Constructions – its more about what he doesn’t say!
Welcome back and thank you for joining me over the past 12 months.
Yes – it is the first Anniversary of my being the Special Guest Columnist for Building Masters Inspections.
I have always known I was talented but I had no idea what a success my column was going to become. I get flooded with emails each month – as does Mrs. Constantine.
I endeavour to answer as many of your questions as possible but Mrs. Constantine simply refuses to answer any communication in which the salutation is anything other than – ‘Dear Mrs. Constantine’.
Mrs. Constantine dislikes the casualisation of society and thinks people whose salutation is the likes of ‘Hi Connie’ and ‘Gidday Mrs. Constantine’ is down-market to say the least.
Mrs. Constantine is less likely than ever to soften on this matter and be a little less judgmental given her international fame as a Show Girl. In some parts of the world – Mrs. Constantine is addressed as Lady UltraCon!
My journalistic skills surely must have passed the Litmus Test after 12 months so I am hoping I will be elevated to Special Resident Columnist!
A few housekeeping notes before I talk about some highlights of the past month.
Mrs. Constantine has decided that she has done all she can for the Global Fruit Flan Society and will gracefully retire as the International Chairman after the 2019 Bake-Off next month. Implicit in this decision to retire and pass the banner to another aficionado is that Mrs. Constantine will pass on her secret recipe for the shortest of short pastry in Fruit Flan history but oh no – Lady High and Mighty UltraCon said she will take this recipe to her grave!
Mrs. Constantine has now decided to join the Mille Feuille (also known as the Napoleon) Society. The Mille Feuille is made by sandwiching crisp layers of puff pastry with a rich, custard pastry cream filling then garnishing the top with a glossy royal icing.
Mrs. Constantine never misses a marketing opportunity so each of her Mille Feuilles will have the UltraCon Constructions logo written in drizzled raspberry jam on the top. Mrs. Constantine assures me that all the costs involved in punching a little above her weight and joining the global Mille Feuille Society are tax-deductible because the costs are business marketing associated.
I am sure you are all aware of Inspector Mike Heathcote’s Building Masters Negotiating Service. This negotiating service is reminiscent of the big red thumb – down, down, down. After Inspector Mike completes the Building and Pest Inspection Report and costs the value of repairs – he then offers to negotiate with the Real Estate Agent for his client to purchase the property at a better and lower price. This can even be done when a Sales Contract has been signed by the client. When it comes to talking about Inspector Mike’s success – my throat tightens and I can hardly get the words out – but his Negotiation Service is a great success.
This particular negotiating service is exclusive to Building Masters so it has taken the Real Estate Agents a little by surprise.
So much so that during the Real Estate Agents’ Blind Eye course – where they learn to turn a blind eye to anything other than the ‘perfection’ of the properties they are selling – a new subject is being introduced. It aims to teach the Real Estate Agents not to go to jelly when they are faced with Inspector Mike armed with his superlative negotiating skills!!
I had a call two weeks ago from a lady called Gladys from whom one of Inspector Mike’s clients purchased a house – albeit at a lower price than she had anticipated.
The sale of the property went a bit like the scenario of the senior citizen who decided it was time to start exercising so she joined a gym and decided to do some classes. She twisted and turned, huffed and puffed, sweated and gyrated over and over again. By the time she got her leotard on – the class was over!!
Throughout the negotiation process – Gladys’s Real Estate Agent twisted and turned, huffed and puffed, sweated and gyrated so by the time the Agent got his metaphorical leotard on – the sale was over – done and dusted. Gladys did not get the price she wanted for her property but she was so impressed with Inspector Mike’s negotiating skills – she has employed him to negotiate on her behalf at her next property purchase!!
Gladys has heard a lot about the UltraCon Constructions Versailles Dream Home complete with French antiques (with the courtesy of GreenGnome Sac-Du-Mains – the infamous French antiquarian and my new best friend) so she has been in touch with me.
Gladys did mention Inspector Mike and told me that he would be doing a Building and Pest Inspection on her Versailles Dream before the purchase. Gladys said this with a degree of hoity toity authority but when I told her that UltraCon Constructions houses are defect free – she recoiled.
I anticipated what was coming next – Inspector Mike negotiating on her behalf – so I was quick to respond.
I asked Gladys if she had ever been asked if she ‘wanted beans with that’ and after a good chuckle – she replied that of course she had – at the healthy fast food chain, Oilyvers.
I explained that UltraCon homes come as a shell so we negotiate up – ‘do you wants floors, windows and doors with that’!!! Gladys was a little surprised but over-joyed to hear that UltraCon homes are defect free so her parting words to me were ‘bring it on Con‘ so we are in talks about her Versailles Dream Home.
Gladys is a Napoleon aficionado and has read every book on the great man and just as Napoleon did – Gladys loves bees so I suggested we put a beehive in the garden instead of wasting time and money getting drinking glasses with the bee emblem on them!
I was dismayed to hear that some of my fellow builders are letting the side down by preying on vulnerable people.
I am not going to leave you upset and incredulous at the finish of my First Anniversary column so I will save this until next time.
I was expecting an AC in this Queens Birthday Honours List but maybe my nomination has not yet made it to the decision makers!
Con Constantine AC – not Con Constantine CA (Con Artist!).
Mike Heathcote is the founder of Building Masters Inspections and a veteran builder with decades of experience. Utilising his industry knowledge, Mike and his team of experienced Builders provide an Inspection Service offering expert opinion on the true condition of buildings, including estimated repair costs, helping home buyers find their perfect property, Melbourne wide.