Couple accidentally buy derelict mansion after failing to understand auctioneer’s accent

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Cal Hunter and Clare Segeren were trying to buy a discounted apartment in Glasgow for £30,000, but ended up with a six-bedroom mansion that had been abandoned for 20 years. Mr Hunter said he mistakenly bid for the mansion after he misheard the auctioneer’s Scottish accent.

He had visited the auction alone and a brochure with information about the lots was left on each seat with a screen behind the stage displaying the corresponding number.

When the flat the couple planned to buy came up, the screen glitched and Mr Hunter raised his hand – expecting a bidding war- but found himself alone.

He told the Guardian: “The problem was auctioneers speak fast, and this one had a strong Glaswegian accent: I was really struggling to follow.

“I couldn’t believe it when nobody tried to beat my opening offer. Then a few things happened at once: the gavel fell, the screen switched on, and the bloke next to me asked in my ear, ‘Mate, have you seen that place?”

Mr Hunter said he was filled with “dread” as he realised he had mistakenly bid for the mansion, and his doubts grew even more after visiting the property.

He said there was a sign that read “Danger, keep out” amongst the “crumbling, rotting mess.”

The property, which had been abandoned for 20 years, had mouldy furniture, graffiti on the walls, no water or electricity and the ceilings were falling down.

Auction bids in Scotland are legally binding which meant the couple had to go through with their purchase, The Mirror reports.

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Now, they have transformed Jameswood Villa, located in Dunoon, western Scotland, into their dream home.

They have been working on the property since 2019 and lived in a caravan on the grounds while a full renovation was taking place.

They say they would not change a thing. Mr Hunter added: “It’s a special place – if you are going to accidentally buy a house, you couldn’t do it somewhere better.”

Additional reporting by Lorraine King.

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