What’s Up With Real Estate Agents?

I am currently experiencing the joy that is ‘dealing with Real Estate agents’ as I have to move out of my apartment next week. When I first moved to Manchester I went into many different Real Estate offices in the hope that at least one of them would be willing to help me find an apartment. It was during this time that I discovered just how alien Real Estate agents are and how good they are at giving you completely blank looks when you suggest you might like to rent an apartment from them. When you look at properties online and press the ‘Request More Information” button (a button that to me says ‘Here is your opportunity to sell me your product. Go crazy! Sell! SELL!), you never hear back and when you call to ask about a property they don’t seem interested in talking about it. I’m not entirely sure why Real Estate agents exist in the rental world because they certainly don’t participate in the process apart from when they make you pay administrative fees.

I am in the middle of organising a new rental contract with a new agency which has been GREAT FUN. Not. This morning I had to go in to the office and hand in paper work and no one knew anything about who I was, why I was there or what I could possibly want from them. This joyful encounter inspired me to write a little story about how much I love Real Estate agents.
*I would like to state that there are nice, normal and approachable real estate agents in this world and I am making some very large generalisations in both my comments above and in the following story. However, I’d say the proportion of weird to normal would be 90%-10%.


What is Wrong with Real Estate Agents?

Advertisements for one and two bedroom apartments with river views and stunning wood laminate floors hang in the window. Like personal ads, the photographs depict mutton dressed as lamb – carefully angled shots of the kitchen/dining area from seven years ago when the apartment was first furnished, plus a picture of the exterior of the building and a view from a window. Images are for illustration purposes only and may not depict actual residence. Viewings a must.

You push open the door and enter the shiny floored office. People in shiny suits with shiny hair lounging on shiny vinyl seats look up at you as you step inside. Their desks are positioned sporadically across the office – there is no central point of contact and you look around trying to work out where to go. The shiny faces give you a once over – She’s a renter. Their dull and disinterested eyes turn away, leaving you to hang by the front door in awkward silence. No one welcomes you or acknowledges your presence. Your existence within the room is unnecessary, unwanted and almost confusing.

You pick the person sitting closest to the door – he is the youngest in the team, the new whizz kid who is still growing into his pin stripes. “Hi!” you say with positive intentions of bringing him business. “Yes?” is his response. As you sell your reason for being to him, explaining your need for an apartment and asking if the agency can help, he leans back in his comfortable chair, crosses his legs and looks back blankly. “Have you searched on the internet?” he asks. “We advertise all of our rentals on Rightmove. It’s best if you just look on there.”

In other words, piss off. We don’t want your type in here – when you’re ready to buy a property and act like an adult in the real estate market, let us know. Mark who deals with rentals isn’t in the office today and to be honest, the rest of us don’t care about those properties so we don’t care about you either. Therefore, if you would like to take your subordinate self out of our space, that would be great. Yeah, sure, leave us your details. In three months time when you’ve found somewhere to rent through alternative means we’ll start spamming you with emails detailing our available properties and claiming that we tailored it to suit your requirements. Now please just go – the work experience kid has returned with our Starbucks lattés.

You bustle yourself out onto the busy street outside, your jacket still undone, your bags slung hurriedly over your arm. Walking down the street it dawns on you that a fifteen year old in a polyester suit has just out-cooled you and you are still homeless. Two shops down you see another window patterned with For Sale/Lease advertisements. You peak through the glass and try to guess how many jars of gel the guy perched on the edge of his desk, trouser legs raised to reveal pointy-toed leather shoes with a slight heel, used in his hair that morning. He makes eye contact with you and frowns. Time to go home and search on Gumtree.

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