The Beihai apartment purchase was not that dissimilar to the one in Nanning - At the start around November 2007 we paid a deposit of about 10%, at the time we applied for name change on the house document we paid a further 45% and on completion, the time when we collect the house book and the name and ownership has been changed we then pay the final 45%. It sounds all very straightforward and sometimes it can be.
But as often happens in simple situations the 'people' get involved and issues occur.
In this case there was a complication with ownership, the apartment was part of a pair of apartments bought at the same time around 4 years ago by our woman vendor and therefore only one House Book had been issued for both apartments. One title for both apartments.
She, before selling to us needed to split the title, in essence a simple bureaucratic task but as we know things are never that simple.
She had been married so the required legal proof of divorce or ex husbands permission etc made the process drag on and on coupled with this the fact that money was owed to a Bank and family all of which caused the woman vendor plenty of hassle.
'Not my/our problem'. This phrase I use a lot when negotiating with the Chinese which often throws them off balance. As they are often heard to say, "No problem" when in reality, there are often huge problems.
Interestingly, all through the negotiations over the 4 months we would often be dragged into the conflict via various telephone conversations Nana was receiving from the woman.
I was having none of it and Nana with her now, part western mind realised that unlike her Chinese mind telling her otherwise, she was having nothing of it either.
She later explained to me that this Chinese tactic of involving everybody was probably in the hope that later on in the negotiations maybe our involvement could be used to secure, either more money or at the very least to divert any difficult to resolve issues away from the woman vendor and unto us.
She would turn around and say, Well, it is not my fault, you told me, you helped me, you were involved it was your idea.
This is Chinese 'Face' coming to the surface - give the problem to somebody else and that way you avoid the embarrassment and the final decision making.
As I have said, I have been here long enough and understand the Chinese mind set sufficiently now to 'not get involved' unless it is absolutely necessary.
I play their game - BUT to my rules, not theirs.
I am always prepared to walk away and find something else.