As someone who favours the tag line, “Further benefits from…” I am not adverse to the use of descriptors to enhance the selling potential of property; but even I think that the above is a little TOO descriptive. In this week’s MoneyMail (Daily Mail Wednesday 25 June 2014), there was an article that listed several instances of members of the public taking complaints to the independent property ombudsman. In fairness to the author, the article included some of the more outrageous complaints where the agent was not deemed to be at fault and the complaint was not upheld. Such corkers as hating the town to which they had chosen to live and thereby wanting a refund and demands for the return of a deposit because the property was obviously haunted and the agents had neglected to inform the prospective vendors of the supernatural activity, were two of the quite laughable claims that were rightly kicked into touch by the ombudsman. Not dismissed though, was the complaint against an agency whose agents used the unoccupied flat that they had been instructed to sell for a romantic liaison. Unfortunately for them, a family member of the vendor came to check on the property and interrupted a full dress rehearsal for Readers’ Wives (or as is often the case, an illicit encounter with somebody elses’ wife). Wholly unprofessional but not wholly uncommon. I can name several individuals who have indulged in pleasures of the flesh whilst supposedly ‘measuring up a property’. A euphemistic term if ever there was one. You know who you are fellow agents.
In yet another instance of bureaucracy at its most efficient, I received a letter this week from Torfaen Planning informing me that the box sign above our door (actually its sits several feet above the door), was in breach of planning and the matter needs resolving. It must be moved down a foot and cannot, must not, will cause the end of the world as we know it, if it remains illuminated. I contacted the council and spoke with a very pleasant lady to whom I pointed out that the sign had been there advertising whatever business had been occupying the property for the past fifteen years; why was it only now that it was an issue? Because they had only just noticed it and realised that it was in breach. Ok. As a diligent, responsible citizen I will of course address the situation and rectify the problem. In a particularly generous move, I am considering offering it to my fellow property professionals who often have the need to, ‘measure up a property’. They could perhaps adopt it as some sort of estate agent equivalent of the red lights of the oldest profession whereby they attach it to the property that they have selected for their rendezvous but only switch it on when the coast is clear, thus alerting their paramour from afar and preventing any awkward situations such as that listed above. I would offer it free to whoever feels that they might have a use for it; they would have to pay for it to be rebranded in the company colours…Fellow agents, you know where to find me; illuminated sign or not.