Saturday, 19 May 2012
One of those days ~ It's Estate Agency Innit?
I am about to tread some uncharted waters here ~ in telling you about some of the things that happen in the course of my work. Some are funny, some tragic and some downright unsanitary, but all are true and the only thing I change are identifying details of the people involved ~ mainly because some of them are big and scary and might beat me up!
I am fairly certain you all know what I do for a living ~ I am a Estate Agent. Now before anyone starts pelting me with rotten fruit and blaming me for everything from World War II to Global Warming would like to point out, in my defense, I am not that sort of Estate Agent ~ I am actually quite a nice person who happens to love the job I do!
I've been doing this job on and off for over 10 years now ~ when I started I worked in the Home Counties and knocked out Million pound gaffs to wealthy bankers (with a silent w mainly) and it was all lovely and easy and I couldn't believe that I got paid to nose around other peoples houses.. Fast forward 10 years and I'm valuing rental properties where the suspect stain on the Dining Room carpet is actually a result of the previous tenant having expired on there and not being found for a few days.
My days are punctuated with people wandering into the office and mumbling "D'you deal wiv DSS?" and then listing the exact attributes they require in the house that they wont be paying for "'S'Alright, the Social are paying innit". I've learned to smile in a neutral fashion and not actively grind my teeth while they talk.
The downside of this job is that you quickly become one of the most cynical people on Gods good earth ~ I have people sitting in front of me crying as they tell me their tales of abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and despair and all I can think is "Well, if your ex partner is threatening you with a chainsaw I don't want you in one of my properties Thanks". Peoples lives become a series of events that catagorises them into "Nice tenants" and "No Thank You tenants". And I don't believe a bloody word any of them say ~ mainly because most of them lie like a cheap NAAFI watch, they will swear they're working because the Landlord doesn't want Housing Benefit tenants, then miraculously "lose" their jobs as they move in, they tick the "No pets" box and when you go round you fight your way through a menagerie of dogs, cats and normally some kind of reptile in a glass case..
But despite all this, an the occasional client who is so earth shatteringly stupid they have to bring a friend along to help them fill in the fiendishly difficult questions on the Application Form ~Full Name, Current Address, all that tricky stuff ~ I do still love my job. The satisfaction of matching a person with a house is something I never tire of, the faces of a young couple when they get the keys for their first home together soothes my ravaged old soul and reminds me that there are worse jobs I could be doing.. I could be one of those poor bastards in the Housing Benefits Office.
So I go on, and when I have to tell a Landlord that not only has the rent not been paid, but the tenants have also done a runner with the keys, I comfort myself with the fact that maybe tomorrow I will be responsible for helping someone to find their dream home and there really will be a happily ever after... Well, maybe not tomorrow, but next week for sure.