Archive | May, 2013

Why I Would Rather Poke My Eye Out With A Sharp Stick Than Buy A Property With An Estate Agent

29 May

It’s no wonder people dislike estate agents so much.

Scrub that, I’m being polite.  It’s COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE why people hate estate agents so much.  In fact, I think I need to add the adjective vehemently to that.

So the opening sentence should in fact read: I vehemently hate estate agents.


Seriously. I have F**KING had it up to here.  If I actually had any proper understanding of what was happening with this current farce of me “buying a property” I would actually know what to do.

But I have not got a clue what is happening.

Up until Friday I thought I was merrily buying a property.  I even thought the sale was about to go through and exchange.

Until that is, someone in the estate agents looked up the word “imminently”.

Because while I was trying to buy the property that was the only word the estate agents used: if a sale was to happen – it had to happen imminently.

That was until I tried to BUY the house imminently.

And in that moment, the estate agents realised they did not know the meaning of the word “imminently”.  I think maybe they got it confused with “up-and-coming”.

Because actually I could not buy the house imminently.

Because nobody was actually ready for me to buy the house imminently.

And due to the public notice which needs to be published (it’s a repossession sale) there is no imminently at all.  In fact, imminently in estate agent speak is rather like waiting for a bus in any other language.

Because for one reason or another the notice could not be published before waiting a week.  And then another week had to be waited until the property could be bought.

And so I figured I would wait.


Until Friday when my solicitor called me and told me he had just received a fax from the vendor’s solicitor requesting he return the sale contract given we are no longer buying the property.

Which confused us both.  We thought we were buying the property!

And so I tried to call the estate agent.

Nobody was “available” to take my call.  And despite them assuring me I would get a call back, nobody did.  And maybe they thought if they ignored me for long enough I would go away and stop trying to buy the property.

But they didn’t realise I am a tenacious little shit who won’t give up so easily.  So I just contacted the vendor’s solicitor direct to find out what was happening.

The interference from up-on-high obviously did the trick.  I have now received an email from the estate agent telling me they have had a higher offer.

Nice of them to tell me before and ask if I wanted to increase my offer…given I actually have/had a sale contract in place on the property you would’ve thought it was the least they could do.  Obviously not.  Ignorance is what they think works.

The vehemently hated estate agents now claim I have to offer more.  Not just like a little bit more.  But apparently at least £11k more.  And I have to do it imminently.  And it would now appear the notice is going to be published earlier than what I was previously told.  And now, it would also appear my offer is going to appear in the notice…and yet mine is the offer which apparently is not high enough!

I responded in the only way I knew they would understand.

I ignored them.


Images from: Pain by Artistic Music and Wait by error

Repurposing in Riga

28 May

So having just returned from Riga, Latvia I could share with you a bunch of photos of good looking properties:

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But, what I noticed while in Riga was the amount of “repurposing” which was going on – that is, the use of something for a purpose other than its original intended used.  Repurposing an item can be done by modifying it to fit a new use, or by using the item as is in a new way.  So here is my collection of “What Sam Saw” of repurposing in Riga:

Bricks as art:

brick art

Bricks as radiators (OK, I admit am cheating this is painted!):

riga property

Vintage font as wash basin:

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Old shoes as shop display:

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Industrial machinery as curtain poles:

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Troughs and barrels as lights:

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Hoarding as a house:

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Old sock as a sign post cosy:

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And, my favourite: Transformer robot as window cornice detail:

riga property

BIG Thank YOU For YOUR Support: I Am In The BiBs Finals!

23 May

Just wanted to say a BIG Thank YOU to all of you who voted for What Sam Saw Today in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards.

I am delighted to tell you I am now through to the FINALS and I am wearing my badge with pride:


The winners will be announced at the Brilliance in Blogging Awards party on the 21 June.  This is a MAJOR event: over 500 attendees in a swanky central London location, Kirstie Allsopp is the keynote speaker and there will be much champagne to quaff and nibbles to nibble.  And, of course, awards to hand out!

So thank you, thank you for voting for me, supporting me and helping me be a part of this fabulous event!

Super, super chuffed 🙂

OMG I Am Buying A House With An Estate Agent!!!

22 May

I know people buy property with estate agents all the time, but when you’re a property auction addict like me – buying a property with an estate agent is NOT an everyday occurrence.

In fact, I think the last time I bought a property with an estate agent was like FIVE years ago.

And my God it was stressful.

As it is now.

I swear buying property with an estate agent is far more stressful than buying property at auction – which probably explains why I have NOT bought a property with an estate agent for 5 years!

So what’s the story?

Well, I have been on the hunt for a new investment property.  And, having identified where I wanted to buy and what sort of property and budget I wanted to pay, I set up a Rightmove alert to inform me every 24 hours of anything new coming onto the market which fit my criteria.

Hours, days and weeks passed with nothing of much interest until Friday when I saw a property which I decided was worth a look.  I got straight on the phone to the estate agent and booked a viewing for Monday.

The property is, I have to admit, a complete SH*THOLE.  It is fire-damaged and repossessed.  Which obviously, given I usually buy from auction, fits my natural selection criteria!

So I viewed the property – which is the WORST property on the street – which is a good rule of investment.

And while at the viewing I then discovered that although the property has only been on the market for a few days there have already been several offers put forward, all of which were in excess of the asking price.

Hmm – this wasn’t what I was thinking happened in our current housing market!

And then while at the viewing (which was a block viewing – again just like auction so I felt in my comfort zone!) I overheard another of the viewers placing a higher offer with the estate agent.

Hmm – again, this was not what I was expecting.  So I figured I better prepare myself to decide and act quick and treat the estate agent buying situation as if it were an auction buying process.

So I did my sums.  I worked out what my top “bid price” was and called the estate agents the next morning – which was just in time as they were about to submit all offers to the bank.

Given that I had decided this buying situation was more akin to the auction process than the usual estate agency route, I decided to just be upfront and ask the estate agent what the current top bid was for the property.

And, surprisingly enough, he told me.  I have no idea if I caught him off guard, or if when it’s a repossession you’re able to disclose the figure and so I just told him I would bid one thousand more – which is what I would do if I was in an auction room situation.

He said OK – now send me all your paperwork etc as I have to submit that to the bank.

So I quickly jostled about finding the relevant bits of paper and scanned them over to support my offer – which I figured was the equivalent of me giving my ID when an auction.

And then I waited.

I gave him 5 minutes.

In auction terms 5 minutes to wait after having submit a bid is a l-o-n-g time.

So I called the estate agent to check he had everything and whether my bid had been successful.  To which he told me I would have to wait longer than that, but he did have everything he needed.

Two hours later and the estate agents called me.  My offer had been successful!

Yippee….was short lived.  The property, because it’s a repossession, will stay on the market until we exchange.  In real terms, what that means is any Jack, Gill and Harry can view the property and try and outbid me.

And so I am phenomenally stressed.

The repossessing bank have set the deadline for exchange as May 31st – which is next Friday.  That’s a quick turnaround for most people – even me, given the other side don’t even have the legal papers ready.  However, I am now aiming to exchange even sooner.

Which I think has now even stressed my super cool solicitor: “Sam, I understand your desire to act quick – but it’s just one hour since your offer’s been accepted and I don’t even have the sale memorandum yet!”

But, I carry the scars of the last estate agent experience I had…the one 5 years ago.  The one where on the day before exchange some numpty decided to offer more – and where I ended up paying £11k more to keep the property I had been trying to buy.

And so this time I don’t want to get caught out again.  So I am trying to exchange in super-duper quick time.  We will see how quick it can be done – but personally I would have preferred yesterday!


After a mad 24 hour dash we got ourselves ready to exchange tomorrow…and now the vendor’s solicitor’s say they are not ready!

GRRR – they wanted us to act super quick – and now we were TOO quick for them!!!


Please Can You Evict Me?

21 May

That’s what the text from the tenant said: “Please can you evict me”.

Like I am giving out some sort of f*cking sweets.

But, what do you expect when you rent to a benefit claimant who thinks the only way to get a bigger/ better/ improved house is to get evicted by their current landlord and go to the council complaining about said landlord to get a new house.

F*CK the idea of getting off your arse and getting a job and maybe even earning any money to get a bigger/ better/ improved house.

No – why bother.

That’s all too much like hard work.

I’ll just ask my landlord to “Evict me please” by text and then I can go running to the council and use tax-payers money so I can get a new place to live.

I am so disgusted it’s untrue.

So I just replied: “NO”

That was that.

Why should I incur hassle, costs and inconvenience so the tenants can get a new house for free and without doing anything?

The tenants have a perfectly adequate house and the council pay the rent on time and direct to me.

Why should I have to foot the bill even more for their errant wants?  I am already subsidising their lifestyle via my tax bill – why should I give even more?  It does not say “CHARITY” across my forehead – nor anywhere in my business description.

And what I don’t take kindly to is now the threats and bribery which  have followed my negative response:

“We have found another house we want to move to. Please can you just evict us”

“Our benefits are now going to be stopped anyway so please just evict us”

“Look just send us an eviction notice as they are going to stop paying the rent”

And this has made me very angry.

I am angry at the tenants I have and I am angry at the state of our country.  I have provided a good property, at a cheap price for these tenants to live in and call their own.  Their home.  But now that they’ve decided they want a new home, they want me to be the bad guy – me to be the nasty landlord who evicts tenants for no reason.

Well the reason is: You fucking asked for it!



Image: FuuFuuFuriFuriPupi