A year of moving – things I have learned

1. Estate Agents do not work for commission.
They work for Satan. Nobody becomes an Estate Agent because they enjoy sales roles, they enjoy helping people to find a dream home or they enjoy writing pithy marketing copy for the agency website. They do it so that they can control your fate, withhold information and generally make your life hell. All of this gets them gold stars from their cloven hooved overlord.

2. Having an offer accepted on a property means nothing.
If you still have a property to sell, you will not hear from the vendor agent again … unless you complete your chain in which case he or she becomes your “new best friend”. If you don’t have a complete chain, this house will be sold and you will find out when it dissappears from Right Move.

3. The Estate Agent’s favourite time for a sale to collapse is the day before Exchange.
At this point you have spent as much money as you possibly can on the sale without anybody involved in the chain being committed to it. So, you are screwed and the agent can feed off your misery and disappointment – if he is a particularly experienced demonic force, he will find a way to blame you for the chain’s collapse and the subsequent misery and disappointment of every other mortal in the chain.

4. Estate Agents are not just fighting against other agencies and you. They are also fighting amongst themselves.
So, of course, they will not bother to tell their colleagues anything about your particular move or chain. They will then go on holiday without telling you so if you phone up for an update, nobody can help you and you end up updating them more than they can update you.

5. The majority of people who are looking to buy a house are stupid.
“If you have two toilets, does this mean you pay double the water rates?”
“Once this sale goes through, can you write down how to open the door as we’ll never figure it out otherwise”

6. Estate Agents do not actually tell viewers anything about the property they are viewing, which leads to feedback along the lines of “I love the house BUT …”
” … I don’t want to live in that area”
” … it only has 2 bedrooms and we need 3″
” … the road is not sunny enough”
” … it’s way out of my price range”

7. A lot of people who want to buy houses are “not racist, BUT …”
“Are there any coloured people living in this area?”
“The guy buying my house is African, straight out of the jungle”
“What are the neighbours like? Are there many blacks?”

8. Just when you think you have considered everything that can go wrong, something else will crop up.
We’ve had the very simple “can’t sell house” through to rejected mortgage applications, cash buyers who are mad keen but can’t move for 4 months and offers £35k below asking price.

9. Regional solicitors are ridiculous.
You can’t beat local knowledge. A tiny practice in Lincoln does not understand the minutiae of a London borough. Hence requests for planning permission for a modern housing estate and inane queries about conservatories. Failure to reply to letters because “my secretary is off sick and I gave it to somebody else to do and she hasn’t done it yet”. Oh and delays, delays, delays.

10. It WILL be worth it.
One year on, we’re on Offer number 6. I’ve been through:

1. The House of Bling (May 2009)
Lovely rooms, monstrous decor – my potential buyer is struggling to sell their maisonette and the house is sold without agent bothering to tell me.

2. The House of Bankruptcy (July 2009)
Tiny kitchen, beautiful decor – I now have 2 potential buyers who can’t sell their properties and house is sold above asking price and shock, horror, agent bothered to let me know.

3. The House of Loft Conversion (September 2009)
Cool decor, lots of hidden rooms – I have a new agent on the case, endless viewings but no sale – house is sold without agent bothering to tell me.

4. The House of an Amazing Kitchen (October 2009)
A blessing in disguise some might say as all it had to offer was an amazing kitchen and I can’t cook – I’ve got another offer on my house from somebody who can’t sell theirs and yet again the house is sold without agent bothering to tell me.

5. The Mini House of Perfection (January 2010)
Expensive, perfect, small. All in perfect timing, I have a buyer who has sold their property. Two days from exchange and the chain collapsed. But now the chain looks like it’s back on and this time I’m pulling out and may not bother to tell the agent.

6. The House of Bargain (April 2010)
3 bedrooms, amazing kitchen, good location, end of chain. My buyer’s related sale looks like it’s sorting itself out and I have a back-up buyer with a house that’s sold. What could possibly go wrong … ?????


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