‘So I thought I’d take a chance on the smart fat girl. The others were all such….disappointments. I had hope….lord knows I live on it.’ I’m quoting (perhaps somewhat inaccurately) recent Oscar winner Meryl Streep as the Anna Wintour character in ‘The Devils Wear Prada.’ It was on television the other night and I had forgotten what a good movie (of its own light-hearted genre) it is. Streep, of course, gives a stellar performance, witheringly dismissive and deliciously unforgiving as a fashion doyenne.
The line struck me as the question of ‘hope’ was on my mind. This time of year is always so full of it; the possibility of things, spring dawning, daffodils coming into bloom, a general sense of renewal and, dare I steal another quote, ‘the audacity of hope’. Whenever we start a search for a client I tend to believe (unless their expectations are wildly off-base and then it’s our job to remedy that) that the right property will come up, whatever the impossibility may seem at the time. And so far, touch-wood, it usually happens.
One client I’m working with at the moment does need some slight management of expectations. She amused me rather as we looked around a house and she lamented the fact that her £6 million budget could get her so little and frowned upon South Kensington as ‘sketchy’. It’s not the most frequent adjective I’ve heard describe the area. But chac’un a son gout, as the French would say. The search will continue and the right place, in a more salubrious neighbourhood will be found.
The feeling of hope was inspired last week by a client exchanging on a Kensington house. The street he purchased in has a particular charm and could be found in no other city but London. Along the path from offer acceptance to exchange we had encountered a few hiccoughs as structural issues were revealed. Unfortunately they came rather late in the day but we got there through the efforts of surveyors, lawyers, me in part and largely the perseverance of the client. For ultimately that’s who it comes down, and this client is straight forward and a pleasure to deal with.
It’s always hard to get that balance right of looking after both the clients interests and making sure the deal goes through (if you believe the deal should go through). I have – in the past – advised clients to pull out of sales if legal issues are revealed and have no qualms in doing so as my job is to protect my clients. Any client knows that my fee is what a ‘success’ one so a purchase is necessary for me to get it, I hope equally it’s apparent that GG, Boy Wonder and I put our clients first and not financial self-interest.
Movies have in the media this week with the Oscar spreads coming out in magazines. I went to see the best picture winner ‘The Artist’ and though charmed by it was ultimately a little underwhelmed. It’s the problem when you hear a lot of hype about something – whether it be an artistic item (film, book, theatre), person or property – you’re almost disposed to pick holes in whatever the form may take as you’ve heard so much praise.
I’m conscious of never praising properties too much (even if I believe they warrant it) as it’s better for the greatness and wonder of the house or flat to be revealed to the potential purchaser as they see it for the first time rather than having to listen to lyrical waxing in advance. It’s so much more likely to be a disappointment then. It’s the same methodology I employ if I’m ever introducing people – keep it factual and let whoever it is discover the joys, humour and heart of the other.