{31/01/2013}   Looking at property websites

I am obsessed with the likes of Zoopla and Right Move and checking out properties where I live and in towns where I might want to live.  I often complain about how often I’ve moved house but I clearly find great interest in finding new places to live, even when I’m not officially looking.  I am not currently looking to move, but I am fairly up to date with the rental market in Folkestone at the moment, and also Whitstable and Hastings, the two other places I always check out.  I occasionally look at sale prices but it’s rental that I’m interested in.  Maybe it’s just to see what else is out there or maybe it’s to confirm that I’ve got the best of a some really grotty places to live, for a lot of what I see, particularly in Folkestone, is awful.

I guess a lot of people like to do this to see how much their property is worth if they’re considering selling.  Likewise, it’s good to know if you’re contemplating moving into rented accommodation, what you can get for your money.  However, as I am neither considering buying nor moving, I do sometimes wonder why I spend so much time looking on property search sites.  If I saw a seemingly perfect house/flat to rent, I wouldn’t do anything about it, though maybe I’d feel a bit annoyed that I weren’t in a position to go and check it out with a view to moving in.

Maybe the property search obsession is to do with an, I think, natural nosiness for other homes.  I love going to people’s homes and seeing new places.  I like to see how people decorate, what their house is like and, as with the house I went to over the weekend for the house party gig, it’s a joy to see really cool houses, particularly when they’re in really obscure or unexpected places – that particular flat was part of a school conversion and was at the end of a cul-de-sac of modern houses.

I am always really disappointed if there either aren’t photos of there are poor quality photos or no photos of certain rooms.  Best of all is when there is a floor plan.  I think they are the most useful addition to the basic information about the house.  I also hate, hate, hate poor English in the descriptions.  This ruins the whole description for me.  And if there is a fuzzy, useless photo too, well I’d never even contemplate renting the place.  Unfortunately though, most descriptions are badly written.

However, there is an estate agency that still exists, Roy Brooks (in fact I found one of my flats on their website), which was established by Roy Brooks 75 years ago.  He was known for his completely honest descriptions of properties.  If everyone wrote their descriptions like him. it would be much easier to only view properties you might be interested in, as even the dreadful properties wouldn’t be glossed over and seem cheap; you would know exactly why they were cheap and make your mind up accordingly.  Here, as quoted on the Roy Brooks website and in a book of his property descriptions, are some of his descriptions (NB they were probably all written in the 1960s):

“WILL NO ONE BUY THIS POOR OLD HOUSE? Empty, miserable & racked by the district trains that pass at the end of its tiny, overgrown garden…”

“WE HAVE A RATHER REPULSIVE OLD MAN who with his child-wife, are looking for an elegant town res. pref Belgravia…Price not important but must be realistic as he has, at least, his head screwed on the right way…”

“…SO CALLED GARDEN WITH POSSIBILITIES best solved by saturation bombing’, and a ‘back bedroom suitable only for a dwarf…”


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