The Secret Agent

January 20, 2012 10:10 pm

Bricks and mortals

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Buyers’ attitudes – they either exhaust every option before being satisfied or go with their gut

I have developed a friend crush. And rather alarmingly it is on a new client. We toured and chatted our way through what I thought was a rather lovely property when she commented, “I’m poor, this is all I can afford and I don’t love it.” It’s true that she does mix with the private jet set, and by their standards her property choices are limited.

The crush developed on E almost instantly. As Virginia Woolf once wrote, some people are radiators and others drains – E exudes warmth. She’s looking for a home that can accommodate a family but also has that “wow” factor. She desires something kooky that can blend into many different roles: mother, wife, daughter, creative, muse and lover of people.

I realise, as we talk, that she’s describing a place that is a reflection of her own character but also malleable enough to incorporate all her family’s needs. I need a converted church, an artist’s studio, a Queen Anne gem on the Chiswick Mall – something a little unconventional but perfect, and within budget.

Buyers’ attitudes fall into two categories – those who exhaust every option before being satisfied and those who go with their gut. As a finder my job is to offer knowledge of the market – to help deliberate whether the compromises can be bettered or whether they’ve hit the jackpot.

My platonic crush is “gut” rather than “process” and as I tried to come up with a property that would suit her, I started to think of friendships. There are those of old that are gelled by shared experience and the passage of time; those that you let drift; those you wonder why you still pursue; and those that are (dare I write it) somewhat self-serving.

So perhaps the way we choose our home is the way we choose our friends – some of us strive for something different, while others, the lucky ones, are truly happy with what they have.

secretagent@ft.com

More columns at www.ft.com/secretagent

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