Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please buy me! (One careful owner)

For Sale!So after a ten day flurry of activity things have gone rather quiet on the selling the flat front.

I had a few viewings before any of the marketing had gone out but strangely enough since the actual marketing has now popped up in the local paper, agents' windows and on the main internet property sites, it's all gone very quiet.
To be honest I'm not 100% happy with the pictures. They either:
a) Make my flat look somewhat smaller than it actually is.
b) Make my flat look a lot more over-exposed in colour tone than it actually is.
c) Act as a good excuse for some nice local burglers to pop around as they show off the location of my PC, scanner and camera.

In terms of the actual viewings, there were a number of excuses over things they didn't like
a) Didn't like the location: Acton.
- Go figure. Why were they looking in Acton then?
b) Didn't like the Somalian cafe down the road and the locals hanging around outside it.
- I've never even noticed them until that comment was made but they're old geezers hanging out at their usual haunt not street hardened "hoodies!"
c) Didn't like the fact that part of the view out of the window (to the right) was of the local high rise estate. If you're wondering what this looks like, it's the building used as the exterior for "Nelson Mandela House" in the comedy "Only Fools and Horses."
- But look to the left and the view sweeps out as far as the south-side of the Thames. I can see the white roof of Earl's Court exhibition centre to the far left, Crystal Palace's transmission tower to the right of this, Fulham FC's floodlights to the right of this and a lovely vista with no tall buildings for about four or so miles beyond this. At night the lights in buildings in the distance twinkle and create quite a nice city scape view. Plus then the building directly below me is a retirement home, so it's nice and quiet but bloody well located for transport links.

But, in spite of this I did get one positive viewing, a lady who said that the flat ticked all the boxes and now she wanted to check out the value based on the area before getting back to the agency. Given that we've not heard anything since I'm guessing that she was either a phony fibber or else realised that Acton wasn't her "cup of tea" and had looked elsewhere.

*sigh*And so the quest to sell continues...

Monday, January 21, 2008

A rant about estate agents...

So after many weeks of sifting through and then throwing out or giving away clutter (approx twenty five large black bags worth plus one 32 inch TV), removing all signs of personalisation/individuality/character from my flat, giving it a nice new paint job and enduring paint fumes for a few days I finally got to the point where it was ready to go onto the market.


So I ended up choosing two local agencies who have to share my spare set of keys between them. "It's okay. We get on well. We've done a lot of business together in the past. There should be no problems sharing the keys", I was told by one of the estate agents.

Two days later I missed out on my first viewing because one of them had forgotten to give the keys back to the other. But then what do you expect? They are in the much maligned estate agency business after all so they have a reputation to uphold...

To be honest, just like in any profession there are the solid grafters and then there are the cocky w**kers. We've come across both. It really is a minefield out there.

It still surprises me how we've come across quite a few agents who aren't willing to show people around on weekday evenings. Along with Saturdays, THIS IS THE ONLY TIME THAT US PEOPLE IN GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT ARE GOING TO BE AROUND TO VIEW FRICKING PROPERTIES!

And yet they still umm and ah and annoyingly sometimes never get back to you.

Then you get the ones who can't be arsed to register you. "Just look on the web. We put our properties on there as soon as we get them." (Yeah, right!)

It really is bloody frustrating. Can we please introduce some standards of conduct here please?!

Anyway, so I'm now having to keep my flat in a state of perpetual perfectness. Which means keeping the place as spotless as possible, making the bed every morning (argh!), making sure the bins are empty, that the cushions on the sofa are nicely arranged(!) and that there are no potentially wiffy things in my bin that might go off during the day!

It also means that for the first time, the spare keys to the flat are with someone I don't really know so I have to do something I've never felt compelled to do since I've lived there: put the chain on the door as soon as I get home. Though to be honest, it's more to avoid someone coming in to do a viewing unannounced when I'm starkers than anything else (half the bathroom is visible from the front door.)

So, to be continued....

Monday, January 07, 2008

Onto the next thing

Love It Or Hate It?Marmite bottles with big hearts on proclaiming "I Love You!" and even more confectionery featuring hearts than I've ever seen in Selfridges plus hot cross buns and even large chocolate eggs in Woolworths.

I guess Christmas must be over and it's time to start peddling the next commercially lucrative things. *sigh*

As it is I've been quite organised and had sorted something out for Valentine's Day two months ago and I guess that Easter is unseasonally early this year at March 23rd but even so, that's still eleven or so weeks.

As much as I like hot cross buns and Easter eggs, should they really be selling them already in the second week of January!?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2007 - A Mainly Positive Spin

January (The last long-haul adventure?)
  • Went on a trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.
  • Made it back in one piece.
February (A moving month)
  • Moved offices down the road from Baker Street to Marble Arch knocking 15 minutes off my average journey time giving me back almost a working week each year in time that I can now spend in bed. Zzzzzzzz.
  • Took the other half to see Dirty Dancing on Valentine's Day which she liked (a lot) and realised now that I bemusingly didn't blog about this at all.
March (The month I became a debt-free man)

  • Finally(!) sold my mum's flat and used the money to pay off my mortgage.
  • Blog re-christened to reflect it's wider-wordly aspirations. Ironically, August excepted, just as I stopped travelling.
  • April showers arrived early as it rained (a lot.)

  • Made an April Fools' joke about something on my blog. Can't remember what though!
  • Had a brilliant day out at London Zoo. Would recommend anyone go on an April week day when it's relatively quiet. It's well worth it.
  • Played Guitar Hero II (a lot.) Sadly had blisters to prove this.
May(-us horribulus)

  • Caught some kind of flu-ey thing.
  • Left my keys at work and had to go all the way back in to get them.
  • Had a hoodie try to set his dog on me.
  • Moaned (a lot.)

  • Made the (as yet not achieved) joint decision to move in with the other half.
  • Got to go to see England play at the newly re-opened Wembley Stadium.
July (Music month)
  • Saw Tori Amos and Suzanne Vega live as well as a rather good (though pointless from a message stand point) Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium.
August (The triple-header holiday!)

  • Went to Rome and got engaged.
  • Went to Dubai and bought a ring.
  • Went to Hungary and saw my late grandmother for the last time.
  • Oh, and in between these, won a compo to see K T Tunstall live at an intimate gig, which was kinda cool.

  • Had a birthday where I could commiserate the fact that I was now closer to 40 than 30.
  • Saw the excellent Patrick Stewart staring as Macbeth in the West End.
  • Got (almost) up-close with Gwen Stefani.
  • Saw the first set of Christmas decorations go on sale in the shops at the end of this month!

  • Met my favourite author, Neil Gaiman, and got my copy of 'Stardust' signed along with a photo on my camera which I eventually retrieved after having walked out without it.
  • Bought a scanner and scanned in most of my old photo albums (which took a very long time.)

  • Went to a brilliant firework display in Ealing for Bonfire Night.
  • Saw (or rather tried to see) a not so brilliant Oxford Street lights switch on.
  • Saw an atrocious Amy Winehouse 'performance.'

  • Succumbed to peer pressure to join Facebook and met up with some old friends through it.
  • Attended a most peculiar christening.
  • Won preview night tickets to "Winter Wonderland" in Hyde Park but it turned out to be a Winter wet land.
  • Had yet another brilliant Christmas and New Year with the other half and her family.


  • Went to the cinema a paltry 39 times.
  • Blogged 80 times.