We have finally bought a flat, after years of renting right in the heart of the village (in a top secret location). It’s still just about in Blackheath.
Having been surrounded by a sector of retail that I’d never had to go anywhere near until the last few months – visiting the ever expanding Estate Agents of Blackheath was a strange sensation. So here’s a completely non-scientific survey:
Winkworth – Helpful, good for renting, but didn’t quite manage to find the place we were looking for. They found us our first rented flat in Blackheath, and we were very happy with it.
Felicity J Lord: Didn’t seem that interested in helping two completely helpless newbies in starting their way out on the journey. Felt like we couldn’t afford anything in there, but were probably just daunted by the process of buying a flat.
Kinleigh Folkard and Howard (KFH): Worked very hard to find us a place, including one that I’m totally convinced was actually haunted. Felt incredibly bad when we ended up buying a place with someone else, as they had showed us more properties than anyone else. I think they thought we were freaks. They may have had a point.
Foxtons: Ha! We’d just looked at a flat in Ryculff Square (near the PoW pub), offered by KFH. Then we looked at one next door, being sold by Foxtons. The Foxtons one was £20,000 more. It had a freshly painted front door, and some iron railings in front. Everything else was comparable. We didn’t go back.
Comber & Co: Rented us our second dodgy flat, promised a load of work that was never done. Implied that they would be more involved with the management of the property, then were uncontactable as soon as the contract was signed. As a result, we couldn’t bring ourselves to even look into their shop when trying to purchase a place.
Humphreys Skitt: Showed us one place that we totally fell in love with, but then started a bidding war between buyers, pushing it well over the asking price, and over what we felt it was worth. Left a bad taste, so we avoided after that.
John Payne: Well, we purchased our flat from them. Really not convinced that they added any value to the process. The estate agent got my name wrong twice. And slammed the phone down on me when we had a disagreement. Buying a mobile phone for £15 per month would require better behaviour… And yet, they won our business.
Which leads me to this great post about Makers not Takers:
If you’re making money from other people’s ideas, without creating anything, you’re accruing a debt. You’re a sinkhole in the system, into which value flows without any commensurate output. That’s not entrepreneurship, and if you even think it’s a business, then I have a queasy feeling about you. I imagine that your handshake is probably slippery.
Clearly this quote has nothing to do with Blackheath, but when you look at the estate agents encroaching on every part of the village, and then look at the real “Makers” of the village – Black Vanilla, Hand Made Foods, The Bookshop on the Heath, Buenos Aires Cafe, etc., I think you get the point. Be a maker, not a taker.