Friday, 2 March 2012

Just so you know, this is what we're up against here.

Every time I get an e-mail alert about a new property, I do a few checks before calling to arrange a viewing.

1. Price 
Is the flat at the top end or bottom end of my budget?

2. Description 
Is the flat above a commercial building, a.k.a, a rancid kebab shop?

3. Pictures
Is there cat shit on the carpet? Is there carpet?

4. Map of area
Because sometimes, they say "Islington" when what they really mean is "Essex".

And when I'm satisfied that it might be what I'm looking for, I do one final thing.

5. Google Street view

Technology: Saving you time since 2007.


lewis said...

Looks lovely! A quaint property with plenty of character situated in a green location with a thriving business district on the doorstep. Easy road access, fantastic views of local neighbourhood. And all the scrap metal you could possibly want.

Livvy said...

Ah yes. The power of technology to cut through estate agent waffle... I recall many a wasted trip in 2002, house hunting, finding (amongst other things) :
1) flat above a boombastic car stereo sales shop
2) flat with train line literally at the end of the garden with announcements from the station clearly audible from the bedroom
3) flat overlooking a sewage works

I think your garage flat gets special mention though - classy!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

lewis - All the area's missing is a shop to buy crack pipes.

Livvy - Car stereo sales is infinitely worse than kebab shops. At least people are quiet and eating when they're in kebab shops.

Anonymous said...


One of the advantages over here is that the US has some great laws about public access to information.

Before you rent or buy here you can check:

* How much the person paid for the house/apartment, how many owners and how often it changed hands and who owns it now along with the amount of the mortgage. Very handy.

* If there are any liens or levies on the property - such as from the tax collectors or other creditors. You don't want anyone turning up trying to take your stuff (curiously relevant to a recent encounter I had with a man banging very loudly on my front door who was then totally flummoxed by my British accent - vowel sounds FTW).

* List of sex offenders in the same area code - or in fact anywhere.

* Crime statistics. Flood statistics, court judgments and full case details etc.

...the list goes on.

Some areas have local housing management collectives who come and tell the owner they can't do things like park a Winnebago in the driveway or put a "For Sale" or "For Rent" sign up and sue if their diktats are ignored (no, seriously, these people are a Euro bureaucrat's wet dream).

Of course, those sort of areas are broad and leafy and have neat little automated sprinkler systems and guys in uniforms who trim the edging and plants. The sort of areas I can actually *afford* to live in have their own system of management collective which hang around outside down-at-heel launderettes and largely involve tall people in ill-fitting clothes mysteriously called "Shorty".

Ellie said...

The internet is the best invention since, well, maybe the computer?

The Unbearable Banishment said...

It has a certain urban charm. Don't be so close-minded.

Paper-Rock-Scissors said...

My goodness I don't envy you. I moved nearly 2 years ago now but the memory still makes me shudder. BUT I can assure you that in my humble opinion everything happens for a reason - you will find yourself in a better place and a better situation, it may take time but have faith it will be the end result.

I highly recommend Walthamstow near the village btw...
Good luck!

London-Lass said...

Yep, we have all the power at our fingertips these days, allowing us to see (even faster) how useless agents are when it comes to drumming up so-called `property matches'.

BTW, it's a pity you dont want Essex (and, of course, not looking to buy but to rent) cos I know of a very good flat that's going ...


Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

punctuation - I hate to think what I'd find if I checked out the crime statistics in the areas I'm looking. Best to be ignorant about some things, I think!

Ellie - You said it. Keyboards were a good one too.

Unbearable - Those being the words you'll undoubtedly be saying to your own daughters when they're looking for a place one day, right? ;)

Paper Rock - Thank you for the words of encouragement. These things do have a habit of turning out for the best, so hopefully that will happen. Once I've finished banging my head against the wall.

London Lass - Nice try. Pick it up and drop it a few miles further north and we'll talk ;)

Brennig said...

A quality home! Full of olde worlde charm and shit and that.


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