Saturday, May 05, 2007

Gotta keep moving

So with everyone perpetually talking about house prices being on the up and up, I thought it was finally time to move. I have been stuck in this little cell in my momma’s house for way to long, and much as I love the home cooking, I think it is finally time for me to spread my wings and feed myself.

We started looking in Clapham two weeks ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Having been out all night, and having dressed appropriately for the cold of night time, I was wearing my duvet sized parka and my not-so-tough hoodie. Which meant that I was sweating. A lot. And of course being out all night doesn’t stop you from getting a hangover, no matter what your friends say. In fact quite the opposite. It’s like when you start drinking early in the day and you get hungover before dinner time without ever having gone to sleep.

So anyway, there we were, the 5 of us, wondering up Clapham High Street (I assume that’s what that road is called anyway – I never pay attention to where I am in London thanks to the wonders of the tube being able to get me home no matter how lost I am). It was hot, I felt sick and we had estate agents to see. When we had met up in the McDonalds (for a bit of childish dutch courage) we all tried to conjure up places where we thought estate agents were. We could only think of one between us, so that is what we headed for.

More fool us. There were dozens. Hundreds. Thousands even. Every few yards was another glass window filled with pictures of other peoples homes, and just behind them were the best paid salespeople around. Estate Agents. Now I’m not one to judge (well I am, but I try not to be), but it is the general consensus that these people are scum. They make you rent somewhere just a bit worse that you want, so they can get the commission, and so that they can rent a place that you would have liked to someone who is slightly more snobby than you (so that its just a bit worse than they would have wanted too). And how do they do this? By making you feel like your house hunt is hopeless. Yes, despite the fact that the property market is booming, there is in fact nowhere to live. Nowhere reasonable priced anyway. So after going in a million or so Estate Agents, and being told a million or so times that there was just nowhere suitable at the moment, we gave in and decided to go to Foxtons.

Now personally I don’t have anything against Foxtons. I think their use of Mini’s is good idea, but that probably only stems from the fact that the number 256 (yes they all have a number if you look) works the Richmond area, and for one reason or another, that is my lucky number. But anyway, all my future live-in-friends hate Foxtons. HATE THEM. They all have stories about being supposedly ripped off by this firm, although I suspect that they actually just don’t like the new Mini’s (“It’s just not the same”) and take it out on these home sellers.

We went in anyway, because the least hungover of our group proclaimed “Well at least we’ll get free beer”. And free beer is, of course, always awesome. I had seen those little fridges stacked with them time after time, and I had always wanted a piece of the action. Oh yeah baby. So we went in, we filled in our details, we looked at the boards, we told them what we wanted… and they told us they had nothing for us. We dejectedly sat around in their air conditioning for a minute wondering where to go from here. The least hungover of us finally (and boldly) went to the reception and talked in general about properties in the area until at last… drinks were offered! Hallelujah!

Except that they only gave us two bottles. Of coke. Between five of us. Estate agents really are scum.



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