I just got a text from the agent who showed me the allegedly available room. He said ‘it’s all sorted’ and I’ll get my money back in a week’s time. I don’t believe him. It takes a minute to make the online bank transfer, why do they need a week to do it? Besides I already lodged a fraud report to ActionFraud about these scammers. Even though I think the police won’t do anything, I figured I should still try. What can I say, I’m a hopeless optimist.
I’ve seen six properties so far whilst looking for a new home. Here’s what it’s like to live a day in my shoes:
The first property was next to the canal and in a very quiet area. The ad said the landlord had two rules about the property, but he would tell me what they are face to face. So I met with Mahmood – a bearded man, vertically challenged, looked a lot like the Amish people. Anywho, he gave me the house tour (the house was beautiful). So far so good… until Mahmood decided to fill me in on the house rules. He said he’s an Asian muslim and has two rules. Number one – no guests can come to the property. Number two – I can’t consume any pig or alcohol in the property. Two rules became many very quickly. I wasn’t allowed to bring any drugs to his home, I could only use the washing machine once per week etc. Yeah, he actually lectured me about drugs over there. I was fine with the “no eating pig” rule but I can’t see myself living a single day without having prostitutes over and doing a line of coke and washing it down with some vodka whilst waiting for my washing to finish. No deal.
The second property was the scam one.
I had three viewings yesterday and I really liked the first one. It was very close to where I already live, near Exmouth Market and I got along really well with the tenants. I think I’d fit in well.
The second viewing was just 10 minutes down the road. I got there and I saw one guy in front of the main door waiting. He was competition. Both of us walked into the flat and were greeted by another five competitors. The place was crowded as hell. One guy showed us the flat and then said the current tenants would like to have a chat with each one of us to see if we’re a good fit. They proceeded to chat with each would-be-tenant individually and asked the other six competitors to wait outside in the hallway. I thought this was ridiculous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of inconsiderate behavior. Wow… you can’t treat people like that. I just walked away.
The third flat was a bit further away in Fitzrovia – very close to the BT tower near Regent’s Park. Maria gave me the house tour and everything seemed OK. I wanted to have a chat with the other tenants – Paula and John. They were all so young – early twenties. John had this Harry Potter look going for him. I thought it was funny. Paula was very small, young and shy. I didn’t quite connect with the younger crowd and it felt like they wanted me to leave. For example: every time Maria asked “do you have any other questions,” the tone of her voice translated to “just fucking leave already”. My attempts to turn the situation around failed miserably – my questions about their hobbies, interests, work and study resulted in one word or short sentence replies. I became rather uncomfortable and gave up on the younger generation. As I walked back home I pondered about what had happened, whether I looked weird, smelled bad or what was the case?
Today I only had one viewing. The flat wasn’t anything fancy. In fact it was a dump by anyone’s standards – a lot like the place I live in right now… so it felt like home already. However, the dump part on its own is not a deal breaker – I’m a simple man, fancy doesn’t do much for me. I only met one of the tenants – Lauren, she seemed lovely. My biggest critique was that the flat did not have a living room (the available room used to be a living room a long time ago). However the place was cheap as chips and had two balconies. I love a good bargain and I think I could pimp my crib quite a bit if I moved in (get a TV, a carpet, nice curtains… you know turn myself into an interior designer for a day or two).
At this point I think I liked the Exmouth Market flat best and today’s flat would be my second choice. I remember Jamie (the guy from Exmouth Market) saying that they were going to continue showing the place to people until Friday and then make their decision.
So, the question is: do I gamble or do I not? If I say yes to Jamie and wait for him to get back to me on Friday, the second property (the cheapo place) might be gone by that time. If I go for the cheapo option I will make sure that I don’t get my number one choice. Decisions, decisions…
Then I remembered something I read from Seth Godin’s blog. He basically said that anything worth doing might not work. Who am I to argue with that golden nugget?
I decided to gamble.
I contacted Jamie (the guy from Exmouth Market) and left a voicemail and a text to let him know I want to rent the place. Stay tuned!
Ivar the soon to be homeless gambler