So the house-hunting continues. It’s all going in a positive direction, in that we’re agreed on a neighbourhood, have a mortgage approved and whittled down our list of ‘must haves’. True to the advice we’ve received from everyone who has bought property ever, there’s nothing like seeing multiple homes in the flesh to really help you understand what you need.
You know, like room to swing the proverbial cat. Bedrooms with actually doors, not curtains. And more than 6 feet between your window and the next apartment over.
However, these viewings have also highlighted for me just how useless many estate agents are in this city. I’ve already had a good cathartic rant about estate agents. Since then, I’ve discovered a few more bugbears I have with this “industry” and will only feel better once I’ve shared them here.
Firstly, why the hell don’t they open for longer on a Saturday? Considering the price of property in London, do they actually believe prospective buyers can drop everything and wander off to view a property at 2pm on a Wednesday?
If I keep leaving work early to go and view a property at your convenience, I’ll quickly lose the job that’s going to pay the mortgage for the extortionate price of the flea-pit you’re trying to sell me.
Every estate agent I’ve spoken to has sucked their teeth when I’ve asked to view somewhere either on a Saturday afternoon or even after 6pm on a weeknight. You want to sell it? Then let the dog see the rabbit.
On a related point, if you are going to be dealing with the public on a Saturday morning, probably not a great idea to go out on a bender on a Friday night and be completely and utterly unable to keep your shit together the following day.
On a Saturday, estate agent offices seem to be filled with staff who are only capable of “taking a message” for a colleague. They can’t look up property on their computer, can’t tell me more about the properties I’m interested in. And so we end up on the familiar cycle of being called back on a Tuesday (they seem to be allergic to Mondays) and extensive teeth-sucking when I want to view something the following weekend.
Call me nuts, but I think it’s useful to see a prospective property in the daylight.
Another major frustration has been the fact that they keep attractive properties in their window displays for months after they’ve actually been sold. So I get all excited by what I see in the window, go into their office to find out more and they all pull the same fake sad face to tell me it’s “just been sold”. Then they try to fob me off with something completely different and twice my budget.
We’ve had one – ONE! – estate agent so far who has impressed us with his honesty. Pointing out why something is on the market, being open about additional management fees and explaining how a 75-storey tower was about to be built across the street, permanently blocking out the view of the river.
Despite the bad news, I was impressed with his honesty and lack of…ickiness.
Why can’t more of them be like him?