25
Nov
2009

London Estate Agents

A spotty little squirt in an over-sized nylon suit holds the key to my future. Oh no wait, he’s got the wrong key, sorry.

After wandering around a block of flats waiting for our estate agent to actually remember which property he was meant to show us round, he finally chose a number. Fumbling, tutting and sheepish giggles followed as he kept failing to open the door.

Watching this questionable man struggle to open the door that held unknown bounties within, I had to hand it to him. Of all the tardy, shifty, complacent, hungover or downright stupid estate agents we had come across in our little pocket of London over the last few days, this guy really took the biscuit.

House hunting in London is hard enough, without rubbish estate agents getting in the way. There’s no time to fanny about. You have to know what to want and slap down a wad of cash there and then to secure the period features and outdoor space that will be the envy of all your friends.  

Once a palatable place near a tube station pops up for an achievable price online, you can bet that it’s already been swiped. Don’t even bother reading anything that’s been printed on paper. The lettings team actually uses those property listings to blot their tears of laughter as they guffaw at the thought of your sad little enquiry about a quirky three-bed that was taken before you even decided you might want to move house. 

And there’s no such thing as a bargain when you edge into the inner travel zones of our fair city. Anyone who owns somewhere vaguely central is well aware of the value of the land their little place is positioned on, and wants rent to match. If you want to get to work in under an hour and have a local pub that serves Honeydew in the proper glass, you’ve got to come up with the readies.

Knowing the situation in the housing market, with the shrivelling economy and all, you’d think estate agents would have stepped up their game a little bit since you last went through this ordeal 12 months ago. But sadly, most of the time schlepping around with these people is spent trying not to cry/panic/punch the man with the wrong key. Every now and then you find a gem who helpfully emails you places they think you might like and sorts out lots of viewings for you. If you find one, marry them.

Image by Fortyseven courtesy of Flickr

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