‘Asking prices are up 3.1%.’ Reads assistant manger T incredulously, as he scans one of the few web pages our system allows us to access. Porn for the boys, bingo for the girls, proving too distracting in the fallow periods home sales inevitably provide.
‘Yes, asking prices.’ I mimic sarcastically. ‘Any fool can ask anything they like and there’ll be plenty of inexperienced agents with instruction targets who’ll happily stick them in the window.’ I could have made the same disgruntled speech ten, or even twenty years ago. Nothing changes except the advertising medium.
‘He says here the rise takes some explaining.’ Continues T eyebrows raised as he quotes the media spokesman for the organisation responsible for the most pointless set of data ever – until the next one.
‘Doesn’t take any explaining at all.’ Posits negotiator S with a shake of her pretty head. ‘Just greedy vendors, idiotic agents and a blind refusal to accept reality.’
‘It doesn’t help us though does it?’ Says imbecilic trainee F to a long echoing silence. One-by-one heads tilt in amazed recognition that he’s actually uttered something that makes sense – until he spoils it by adding. ‘Does that have mean we’ll have to change all our asking prices too?
God, I thought the state schooling system was bad enough – witness the barely literate mother-prodded idiots who stumble in and think they’d like to be estate agents This clown’s parents paid a minor public school for the privilege of turning out a tool in a tie with as much common sense as a pond amphibian.
‘Apparently bullish pricing is normal at this time of year.’ Continues T in a mocking imitation of an in-bred yuppie that has never been near a leaflet drop on a wet Wednesday - or a divorcee with no husband, no income and no buyer. ‘It’s a habit that’s hard to kick.’ Concludes T finishing the press release just as lettings lush B trips through the door reeking of alcohol and disappointment.
‘Mr Cameron on line two for you.’ Announces S later, with a suppressed giggle. We both know it’s not that one, the joke a little old now since I listed the house a full ten weeks ago. The viewings have been sporadic and disappointing in outcome. I’ve been steeling myself to ring him to try for a price cut before the agency agreement runs out, just as I would counsel T to do on his over-priced instructions. But knowing what you should do - even telling someone what they should do - is a lot easier than actually doing it yourself.
‘Mr Cameron.’ I bluster, trying to project that ethereal mix of professionalism and confidence. ‘How are you today?’ It’s a stupid question, one I should know better than to ask, so when he answers: ‘Not happy.’ It comes as no surprise.
‘I’ve been thinking about our finances.’ Continues Mr Cameron, as I begin to think maybe he does has something in common with the Prime Minister, until he adds: ‘I’ve seen this survey in the newspaper.’
‘You want to change the price?’ I repeat woodenly. ‘Yes,’ continues Mr Cameron blithely. ‘I think we should increase it.’ I should be stunned, but I’ve heard this one before. ‘We’re attracting the wrong type of buyer at the moment.’ Concludes Mr C with wildly misplaced certainty.
The wrong type of buyer? I mock, once the phone is back in its cradle but still rocking dangerously. And what exactly are they? One who wants value for money? One who wants to avoid negative equity and an early repossession? One who’d like to pay off the loan before the care home fees kick-in?
My survey says Mr Cameron is going to be disappointed.