When Viewings Go Wrong....

Date Published 21 March 2012

So the windows got cleaned in the office today (they've done a cracking job, the sun's shining in St John Street like never before!) and we were talking about the things window cleaners must see on their rounds. I'm sure they must see pretty much everything at some point....

Even though it's not as frequent as window cleaners, we City Centre letting agents come across some sights ourselves! Get a few letting agents in a room together and you're sure to hear some good stories about what we've walked into on our viewings/property inspections! You always have the similar stories about apartments being disgustingly dirty and every agent will try and out do the last one with their stories.

You will then get the outrageous stories like this one from a viewing at my previous letting agency:

I am having a good chat with the applicant about properties as we are just about to enter the apartment I have to show to him. Before put the key in the door I say to the applicant that there is a tenant living in the property at the moment so to be aware that there may be some personal belongings around and it will look ‘lived in'. This is my way of saying; it's going to be a mess, try and look past it. I knock loudly on the door, we wait for a few seconds and I knock again; no one's home. I put the key in, turn it and open the door. Before entering the property I shout ‘Hello its James from the letting agents here to do a viewing'... no one replies, there is definitely no one in, I can continue with my viewing.

Whilst trying to avoid the mass of dirty clothes and rubbish on the hallway floor and only trying to breathe through my mouth due to the nauseating smell that could make a sewer rat cry, I am explaining to the tenant that the property will be fully cleaned if he decided to take it, which would probably involve a blow torch. He manages to look past the dirt and agrees that it could look really nice. We proceed to the open plan living room. Greeted by another wave of potentially life threatening rubbish we climb through to the living room. ‘Wow, it's a really good size' says the applicant. I have to give this guy his due; if it was any one else they would have probably run a mile by now. The sofa's are discoloured, we can't make out if the flooring should have multi coloured spots on or not, the blinds have an inch of dust on them and this room has not seen a breath of light for at least 6 months. I have to keep my cool, keep the applicant interested, compose myself and carry on.

All my senses and instincts are telling me to get out of there but I am a professional, this viewing will be completed. We get to the kitchen; we find out that this is where the majority of that wretched smell is coming from. A nice pan sits on top of the hob which contains what once was rice but is now green and slightly hairy. Food everywhere and none of it fresh, none of the work surfaces are clean and I guarantee the oven didn't come with a thick brown staining inside. ‘It's a great size kitchen with fully fitted appliances, here is the fridge...' as I open the smell of 3 month old Kung Pao chicken slaps us in the face. I think this is enough for the kitchen, let's move along. We cross the dangerous landscape with its dense exotic wildlife, not knowing what awaits us round the corner and fighting our way to the other side of the room we reach the doorway to the hall. I hold the handle and pull the door, sweeping away the rubbish as it moves. Oh, wait I can't take my hand off the handle, yes, that's right, a sticky brown residue has bonded my hand to the metal, great. With a bit of force I save my hand from the inevitable end it was set to have.

‘This is the bathroom' as I lead him in, we notice the toilet hadn't been flushed, for a while. I am pretty sure it waved at me at one point. Again, a lovely bathroom, ruined. We have one more room to go. I already know that this applicant does not want to take this property. To be honest, I don't want him to. I wouldn't want my worst enemy to live here. It is disgusting. But we might as well see what the bedroom is like.
Before I continue, I will have to explain my thought process at this point. Have you ever been told ‘don't look in that box', ‘don't press that button' ‘close your eyes, you don't want to see this'. You want to look, you want to press the button and you want to open your eyes. You have been warned, you know the results are not going to be pleasant and you know you shouldn't do it but you have to! This is exactly my trail of thought.

We go to the bedroom door, I am having a laugh with the tenant about things, I am a bit embarrassed about the property but he is an understanding guy and completely understands it has nothing to do with me. I turn the handle and open the door, a quick glance across the room shows nothing of surprise, a whole load of dirt and mess, but nothing that we haven't seen before – but wait, in the bed, there's movement. Slightly concealing their ‘valuables' a young man lies naked on top of his lady friend, as my applicant walks in to the room behind me they stop what they are ‘doing', sharply turn their heads my way and look at me as if to say: ‘do you mind?' they didn't stop! We promptly left the room as I whispered ‘sorry' to them and as I shut the door I see the naked man turn back to his naked lady friend... and carry on!

Needless to say, the applicant did not take the property and I could not look either of the tenants in the eyes again, or anywhere else for that matter.

Luckily at We Let Properties, due to a great management service and the way we select our tenants, all of our properties are in great condition and because of our excellent relationships with our tenants, whenever we view on our apartments things always go smoothly! :)

James