Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Help to Buy Schemes Are Not Helping Me

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Help to Buy Schemes Are Not Helping Me

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

WHERE have all the tenants gone? It feels like someone has pulled the plug and they have simply drained away. Usually, when I advertise a rental property, I start to get phone enquiries within 48 hours. This time my initial advert didn't lead to one call or even a single email.

After a couple of days, I thought I must have listed the wrong mobile phone number. But I checked and it was correct. Perhaps I'd included the wrong email address? No, that was fine too.

Then I was worried my mobile was faulty -- it can be temperamental at times. I called it from my landline. It was working just fine. I checked my emails 50, 100, 1,000 times as the days went by. Still nothing.

After a week I reduced the asking price and I did get a couple of enquiries, but nothing more. After another few days I started to panic and dropped the price again, this time to well below the level I achieved on a similar property in the same area this time last year. That'll do it, I thought, and waited for the phone to ring.

But still it didn't. In just under a month I've had only 10 enquiries by email (not counting all the phone calls from letting agents trying to win the business) and two viewers -- not counting the three who didn't show up.

A couple of weeks ago I caved in to pressure from two particularly persistent letting agents and invited them to see the property with a view to them marketing it.

And then I fell for the oldest trick in the book. No, not the one where they grossly overvalue a property to win your business, I'm wise to that one now, but the one where the agent says they've got a viewer already waiting to look at it that very evening. Then, when you say: "Oh go on then," they drag someone round whose face says: "Why the hell have they brought me here? …

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