Non Cogito, Ergo Sum – Estate Agent Woes

Gaz Morris

Based in and around Manchester, Gaz has studied a BA and MA in various types of history at the University of Manchester. When not embracing his love for all things historical, Gaz can be found indulging his other interests of cooking, travelling and languages to whatever degree his current bank balance permits.

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Normally, before writing a psog*, I would apologise for any offence that might be caused by my assertions and go to great lengths to ensure that my comments are taken in the most constructive way possible. Not so today. The ineptitude with which I have had to contend over the past few weeks has been staggering and has led me to some fairly conclusive models that it will take some efforts to expunge.

I refer, naturally, to estate agents.

I will not name names – not through fear of offence, but because the sheer quantities involved would derail the entire article – but my experiences this week has been so staggering and so beyond any logic that I have lost any wish and desire to try and see the positive in estate agents.

Now, I can’t understand the difficulties involved in the cut-throat, high-octane, sitting-behind-a-desk-in-a-soulless-office, cufflink-wearing, hair-slicking, bling-appropriating world of estate agency, though I did do quite well in my Year 6 SATs tests and so I believe I understand the intellectual demand at stake. To show that I am not unnecessarily one-sided in this approach, I have created a handy break-down for the average estate agent:

  1. Show client around property
  2. Take client’s money

I’ve oversimplified, I admit, as the devil is in the detail – as I discovered, much to my sadness. In order to show a client around a property, you first need to be sure that you can get into the abode in question. Cue problems number one and two: not having a copy of the key or having a wrong copy of the key. I can only speak for myself when I say that it generally helps to sell a property if the client can see inside it, though I might just be being too demanding. Perhaps the more frustrating of these two events is when you turn up to a viewing only to watch an (admittedly very persistent) unsuccessful attempt to get the right key for the lock. This happened twice. In the grand scheme of estate agency, you would think that ‘checking the key works’ is somewhere towards the top of the list of priorities, but no.

Instead, my future flatmate and I are treated to a show so fruitless we might as well have been watching someone trying to nail jelly to a wall. In one of the instances, what followed this was a slow-mo (and infinitely more bumbling) version of a Benny Hill chase scene, where we were traipsed hither and thither over a development for which the letters had exclusive rights in order to try and find the porter’s cabin. Alas our patience and good humour was lost on a insistently locked door and woman who seemed to be wishing to be quickly devoured by her own necktie.

When we finally got into a property and it was of a reasonable standard, we were keen to settle things straight away and limit ourselves to a bare minimum of idiocy by signing with a single agent. This, too, was wishful thinking it later transpired. It turns out that the flat we had looked around wasn’t available. (I don’t mean that we had been beaten to it, I mean instead that they didn’t have licence to list the property.) Why go through all of the trouble of inventing various ‘features’ in a property if the sodding thing isn’t even available? Perhaps verbal diarrhoea comes naturally after a while.

I appreciate that my ranting and raving does nothing to ameliorate the situation, nor does it add anything to the corpus of human achievement that cannot be negated by the mere existence of increasing numbers of estate agents. However I do hope my writings might be of some slim comfort to those suffering with ineptitude themselves. To those thinking of dealing with estate agents themselves and not too sure what to expect, be wary. To those in need of a schadenfreudian lift to their day just think of the thousands across the nation currently being shown “cosy”, “quirky” tiny flats, with language attempting to mask the worrying pong from the cupboard as “character”. To these people I wish good fortune and happiness. To any estate agents, I wish – well, I won’t even finish that thought…

 

*A damning account, the opposite of a panegyric. Think the polar opposite of the average autobiography.