From the look of the almost duck-egg-but-not-quite kitchen cabinets in the photograph, I thought hey I could just about bear with it, maybe even find some temporary stickers to go over it.
Hastily putting my trainers on I skipped out of my friend’s home feeling positive and as if I were about to get my independence back. I imagined myself walking down these very streets to my new home, oh what fun it will be.
Beautiful Georgian houses left and right, painted cream with delicate black balconies gracing the stonework. I was beaming, until my maps informed me to turn right, where on one side of the street the buildings grew taller showing just their ugly backs, as if turning a blind eye to the tiny houses on the other side. Poor little houses, I thought.
Some people stumbled out of a basement hostel, only £20 a night, if I get desperate I suppose. I counted down the numbers hoping for a pleasantly painted front door, and it wasn’t all too shabby. I shook the estate agent’s hand firmly, he seems nice, so he must be showing me a lovely property that he might consider living in himself. Wrong.
The kitchen suite was the least of my problems. A boarded up fireplace which could have been a lovely feature, interrupted my peripherals. The crumbling walls were casually blamed on the tenant.
“Washing machine is in here” he points to the corner of the BEDROOM. The bed is squeezed into a cove where behind it is a secret door, but where does it lead to? storage perhaps? No that leads to the communal hallway. Cool, well at least if there’s a fire I can clamber through from my bed.
The shower room leaves little to be desired, with a toilet positioned as though your nose may make contact with the wall as you sit on your throne.
I daren’t ask if any of the furniture is included, the black leather (vom) sofa plonks itself sadly in the middle of the kitchen come living room come office. As if to say “this is it, mate”
All the curtains are closed, because you can’t open them, they’ve not been attached to the tracks. They simply hang gaping, like in a squat.
The top of the kitchen cabinets are lined with many different bottles, I remark on the fun they must have, the estate agent replies that the person lives alone. This place would drive me to drink I think, and so I leave gracefully down the crumbling steps never to face that street again.
With a refreshing sigh I move back inland to Hove, oh lovely Hove you’ll make it all better won’t you?
The creamy buildings come back into view, the streets widen and I’m feeling like I can breathe again. Fuck it, I’ll have a little skip along to my music. Must get back into positive frame of mind house hunter mode.
I approach a bit too beaming towards the estate agent, who is encased in his branded car along with what looks like a little apprentice with a notepad.
The apprentice looks nervous. He’s not entirely sure whether to get out of the safety of the car as I wave enthusiastically at him.
The front of the building is lined with the various floor’s bins – this will be my view out onto the world.
I’m asked to remove my shoes before going in. I oblige with a little glimmer of glee as I imagine the flat to be totes gorgeous and clean. Instead I am greeted with a distinct waft/slap in the face of cleaning products clearly used to cover up the smells.
I am informed that the current tenant is French, which for some reason the estate agent likes and uses almost as a selling point. There are Sainsburys bags nestled in various coves, one curtain up strung by the strings not hooks, the other folded up on the floor. So far the stench is making me feel woozy and I’m surprised I’m able to take in any sort of detail.
My socks begin to feel damp as I’m informed that the carpets will be cleaned before the new tenant moves in. I hesitate to say that it’s quite possible that the current tenant is providing his own self cleaning service, through dousing the carpets in what can only be described as dirty dish water mixed with bleach.
The estate agent educates his protege “This is the usual type of property studio flat, actually rather spacious”, the apprentice tries his hardest to not look as horrified as me, he covers it up just as well.
This (I think) will drive him forward to earn ridiculous amounts of money so he can end up on Ellen and talk about the time years ago he showed a poor 30 something around a studio flat and thought “not me, not this”.
I keep my fake-est smile attached to my lips for fear if i relax them I might vomit from the stench.
We exit the property not forgetting to put our shoes on. As the apprentice struggles with his shiny patent pointy shoes I ask him about how it’s going . He’s actually on work experience and “loves” it so far. Do you really? I think. Well at least you have the potential of an estate agent to bamboozle with lies and high expectations.
I breathe in fresh air and race around the corner so I can stop myself from being sick, I call my sister to relay my shocking experience and begin to retch as I describe the horrors therein.