Unless you’ve been living under a rock with a fixed five-year rent and no-break clause, you’ve probably noticed that London property prices are somewhat hilariously high right now — so finding a flat can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t know how to navigate the murky waters of the estate agent, a profession whose perceived honesty hovers only slightly above lawyers and self-immolating-pants salesmen.
Thankfully for you, we consulted both Steve Lucas (former estate agent and author ofInside EA: A Behind the Scenes Look at How Estate Agents Operate), and the folks atHouseSimple.co.uk to give us the inside scoop on exactly how they deceive you, so you know how to get, well, not-deceived…
“There has been lots of interest”
Interest, but no offers = be ready to give them a kidney as a deposit. Either that or get the mould/bedbug/crazy-neighbour-detecting experts involved.
1995 was 20 years ago. Unless you’re about to receive a letter from the Queen, that just ain’t recent enough to be called modern.
“Priced to sell”
You mean like, ooh, maybe every other house on the market? This also goes into the same category as “Must see.”
“Within walking distance…”
Weasel words! Steve Lucas says “Walking distance for who — Jessica Ennis or my Grandmother? In following the rules, you had to get into your car, drive to the station, and measure the distance that way, concluding “within one mile to Tube station.”
“… to a trendy neighbourhood or Tube station”
They never said it was your neighbourhood. And literally any Tube station on the entire Underground network is “trendy,” according to your estate agent.
Really? Or do you mean, Mile End/Fulham or even “a 10 minute train ride to London Bridge from Croydon.” Get your neighbourhoods straight.
HouseSimple.co.uk says some high street estate agents sometimes use this for flats that are on busy main roads. Aka: traffic by day, and loud drunk a-holes at night.
“Bags of potential”
Sawwweeeet! That sounds sexy, right? Shame that it’s basically just a seventh floor normal flat with no lift. Start stretching your legs before you ascend.
Renting or buying this should mean that you’re going to be popping that building’s proverbial cherry, with cupboards free from decades of previous tenants and no fear of hiding dampness just waiting to make itself known… however, this might just mean that a wall was added to make that small bedroom into two tiny ones.
It’s like a flat, but smaller.
“Larger than average”
Larger than the average what? House? Flat? In this neighbourhood, or the city, or the country?
Great, you’re in a Grade II-listed building from 1820! You know what they didn’t have back then? Central heating, double glazing, insulation, and people over 5ft 3in.
“Offers in excess of…”
Regardless if you’re renting or buying, this tactic is used to drive up the price. But watch out on going overboard, Steve Lucas says “Offer too much beyond what it’s actually worth, and the lending agent might shoot you down and cause that dream home to slip through your fingers.”