Their Business Is Flat-Lining

, , , | Working | September 18, 2017

(I’m a newly graduated university student looking for my own place to live so I don’t have to move back to my hometown. I go to one of the local letting agencies, all of which are within a minute walk of each other. The first place has a young woman there to talk to; she already looks disinterested in me.)

Worker: “How can I help?”

Me: “I’m looking for a place to rent. My budget is allowing for between £250-350 a month for the rent alone. I don’t really mind about the place itself or how many rooms or anything, just so long as it can fit within that budget.”

Worker: *scoffs* “Okay, well I’ll look up those details for you now.”

(She looks up the information…)

Worker: “Right, so, I’ve found a flat that’s £500 a month. This looks pretty decent right?”

Me: “I guess it does, but like I said, my budget would only allow a maximum of £350. I couldn’t afford that right now.”

Worker: “Okay, well, here’s a place that is £350.” *gives info on it*

Me: “Yeah, that seems okay; when would I be able to view it?”

Worker: “We can book you in for a viewing next Monday at 11:30 am. Would that be okay?”

Me: “Yeah, that’ll be fine.”

Worker: “You’ll need to phone us on that day, a half hour before, to confirm that you can make the appointment.”

Me: “Oh… Um, sorry, but that will be a little awkward for me. I’m on a PAYG phone and have no credit at the minute, and I’m not paid until the end of the month. Would no one here be able to phone me instead?”

Worker: *scoffs again* “Um, no, we don’t do that here. If you can’t phone us to confirm, then we can’t book a viewing for you.”

(I just left, choosing not to call her some choice words. I walked literally down the road to the next agency, and I was welcomed quite warmly by a nice elderly lady who actually listens to my price limit at the start. She made a point of only looking in the “nice area of town,” because I certainly look like a “nice lad.” I know it was kind of cheap flattery, but it wasn’t a swindle, it was honestly further into the less rough areas of town. She even made a point of calling the landlord right then and organising a viewing just two hours after my meeting with her. A week later, and I was all signed up at a studio flat at £285 a month, well within my budget. Honestly, it was no wonder that the first place I went to was empty, but the second place with the nice lady already had two couples talking to other advisers.)

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Doesn’t Elevate Your Chances Of Finding A Place

| Working | December 9, 2015

(We are using a relocation company as we are moving from America to France. We visit France for a week to look at apartments after giving explicit details two months ago about what we are looking for, including an elevator and for the location to be in center city. We are already upset because they only scheduled four appointments for the whole week, as this is the only week we can view places until we move here next month.)

Realtor: “Okay, the first apartment we are going to see is on the third floor with no lift.”

Me: “There’s no elevator? We requested an elevator.”

Realtor: “No, but it is only the third floor.”

Me: “Our dog can’t climb stairs. We need an elevator.”

Realtor: “What? I wish you would have told me!”

Fiancé: “We told you in the forms we filled out that we needed an elevator.”

Realtor: “Yes, but you didn’t give a reason! I just thought you wanted an elevator because it’s the American way but I figured you are both young and can walk.”

(The next apartment had stairs as well and the fourth was 20 minutes from the city center so we spent a whole week in France to see one apartment. Now my fiancé, I, my dog, and my cat will have to live in a tiny hotel room and we will have to pay the shipping company extra to hold onto our stuff until we can find a suitable place.)

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Needs A Realty Check

| Working | June 20, 2015

(We are looking to move house. As I’ve dealt with some pretty crappy estate agents in the past, I decide to keep things real simple, and mass-email estate agents to get on their books. The idea is that they will show you the most relevant properties as soon as they come to market.)

Me: “We are looking for a house in the [Name] area. It must have three bedrooms, detached, and the price range is £X price for a fixer-upper and £Y price for a ready to move in property.”

Estate Agent #1: “Hi, [My Name], take a look at this property. It is new to the market.”

Me: “Looks great, although really out of budget. Will they take low offers?”

Estate Agent #1: “No this is an accurate price. Don’t you have savings to make up the difference?”

(I stopped reading her emails after that.)

Estate Agent #2: “Hi, [My Name], we have had this one on the market for a while. Great house, a bargain!”

Me: “This isn’t in the area we are looking for. Please only send information on properties in [Name] area.”

Estate Agent #2: “Are you sure? It’s a great price!”

(It was a great price because it was the roughest area of the city!)

Estate Agent #3: “Hi [My Name Spelt Wrongly]! I have sent you some property details below.”

(The guy had sent EVERYTHING they had in that area: two- and three-bedroom houses, one-bed flats; no help whatsoever. After this I stopped responding and found a nice house on my own. We are due to move in before Christmas!)

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Bringing Down The House

| Working | May 19, 2015

(We are looking for a new property. Rather than get sent everything on the estate agent’s books, I write an email detailing my exact expectations. My phone rings.)

Estate Agent: “Hi, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Estate Agent: “Okay, great, how are you doing? So, I’ve got a property you might be interested in.”

Me: “Okay, well—”

Estate Agent: “—It’s in the popular area of [Area], two bedrooms, and a terraced house. How does that sound? When would you like me to set up a viewing? I have Tuesday or Thursday.”

Me: “Wait, wait, wait. Firstly, I asked to only be contacted outside office hours, and—”

Estate Agent: “—Well, you know you do have to jump on these opportunities or you will miss them.”

Me: “I also asked to only be contacted about [Area on the other side of the City], and for a completely different price range.”

Estate Agent: “Well, there is no harm taking a look at this one. How about that viewing?”

Me: “What do you think? Don’t bother calling me again.”

(I thought the matter was resolved until I got a call from the same office, a man this time, asking why I was no longer looking for property and why I was so ‘angry for no reason.’ I explained my side of the story and he couldn’t apologise enough. He didn’t quite hang up in time for me not to hear him shout at the woman who served me first.)

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