Chelsea estate agent optimistically markets an £850 per week house with unpainted walls and an exposed gas meter by announcing: “It does have a new boiler”
Other than the legendary Roy Brooks, the only honest man in his game, estate agents will be optimistic about just about anything. A bit of damp: “no problem”; a nuclear power station next door: “positively charming” but John D. Wood & Co. truly take the biscuit with the marketing material for a property they are currently trying to let in chi-chi Christchurch Street, Chelsea, London.
Sent to us by an eagle eyed reader, the £850 per week ($1,108, €955 or درهم4,070 per week), 867 square foot three floor aforementioned house has conventional features such as a reception room, kitchen, three bedrooms and a bathroom. It also, rather unconventionally, has walls that haven’t even been painted and are just bare plaster. Pictures show also scruffily made-up beds propped up on wooden blocks, wiring and ageing televisions discarded on the floors and a garden littered with leaves.
Of this strange offering, our reader remarked: “I saw this listing and thought it was a half-finished project and up for sale, but no, it’s a rental. Buy-to-let plainly says can’t afford to finish it, says sod it and tries to rent it out in a half-finished state and describe it as a ‘unique house packed with character and charm.’ I particularly like the exposed gas meter!”
When he telephoned, a member of staff at John D. Wood told our reader: “The landlord would prefer to rent the property ‘as is’ and not do further work. It would be at least £1,000 per week if it were finished. He is happy for any tenant to paint and make further improvements.”
In typical estate agent fashion, she optimistically added: “It does have a new boiler.”
Roy Brooks – “A painfully honest estate agent”
“Beyond any doubt the best copywriter for property advertising in the history of the British press,” Roy Brooks (died 1971) took a “puckish delight in telling the truth” about the houses he was asked to sell.
An example of this Kings Road based eccentric’s advertisements read:
“Do not be misled by the trim exterior of this modest period res with its dirty broken windows; all is not well with the inside. The décor of the nine rooms, some of which hangs inelegantly from the walls, is revolting. Not entirely devoid of plumbing, there is a pathetic kitchen and one cold tap. No bathroom, of course, but Chelsea has excellent public baths. Rain sadly drips through the ceiling on to the oilcloth. The pock-marked basement floor indicates a thriving community of woodworm, otherwise there is not much wrong with the property… Sacrifice £6,750.”
“Wanted: Someone with taste, means and a stomach strong enough to buy this erstwhile house of ill-repute in Pimlico. It is untouched by the 20th century as far as conveniences for even the basic human decencies are concerned. Although it reeks of damp or worse, the plaster is coming off the walls and daylight peeps through a hole in the roof, it is still habitable judging by the bed of rags, fag ends and empty bottles in one corner. Plenty of scope for the socially aspiring to express their decorative taste and get their abode in The Glossy, and nothing to stop them putting Westminster on their notepaper. Comprises 10 rather unpleasant rooms with slimy back yard, £4,650 Freehold. Tarted up, these houses make £15,000.”
Justifying his reasoning for driving his Rolls-Royce from London to Russia loaded up with 1,000 pairs of shoes, Brooks – author of Brothel in Pimlico and Mud, Straw and Insults: Confessions of an Honest Estate Agent – glibly explained: “I take these for old times’ sake – Stalingrad and the defeat of the German hordes. Perhaps I could bring back in return some of their women engineers whose factories I saw prefabricating good homes by the thousands.”