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Greedy property circus

April 23, 2007
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estate agentsWe are in search of a new home and had been viewing several properties last Saturday. Most had been charming and it was always nice to have a chat with the owners and trying to find out the peculiars of their homes.

Last property was an "open house" viewing. An estate agent (no names) had invited many, many interested couples and families to view this property.

The house was in great shape, the fire place was lit and the previous owner was the producer of one of our favourite British TV series (his BAFTA award was standing on the coffee table).... but the previous owner was nowhere to be seen.

Instead we were met with a very camp articulate agent who signed us into a book at the entrance and briefed us about the house in 1 minute. Then he was off to receive the next couple waiting at the door.

While walking around the house there was nowhere to sit down or relax and discuss what we liked/disliked. Everywhere you looked there were other couples talking away.

The open house viewing concept might be understandable in quite periods where any possible buzz needs to be generated to sell a property.

However currently the property market is extremly busy. Most decent properties recieve an offer that matches their asking price after a single day; often it recieves multiple such offers.

In such a climate it is terrible seeing all the other potential buyers. There were easily 15 other couples during the 20 minutes we stayed.

The estate agent was informing some other people that the property already had 4 offers at the asking price. This can only mean a fierce bidding war if you want the house badly.

Just as we were leaving the house after a very dissapointing viewing a lady stopped us, introduced herself as a newspaper journalist (was it from the standard?) and asked if she could ask my wife a few questions about the open house viewing concept.

A big grin appeared on my wife's face and she started telling the journalist just how wrong the idea was.

How important it is to have a chat with the previous owners, how it is important to feel the potential privacy and comfort of a new home, how it instead feels like being at a fish market and finally how it's all about greed and nothing about providing a service.

Photo credit Anyhoo



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