Donald MacInnes: Would I shell out £250,000 cash for a gaff smelling of dry cleaning?

I promised (threatened?) when my wife and I started viewing new homes that I would keep you up to speed. We haven't bought a house yet, but things are trundling along. We have so far viewed half a dozen, all of them within a couple of miles of where we currently hang our hats: Blackheath, in south-east London.

If you're not familiar with this part of the capital, it sits right next to Greenwich (of "What time is it?" fame) and Lewisham (of "What time did the police station stop burning?" fame).

Greenwich being a lovely and leafy little demi-village on the river, it would probably be cheaper to buy the 02 Arena, which squats by the Thames, than to purchase a house there. Lewisham is similarly rejected, although that tends to be because, having lived in a bachelor flat there, I have heard enough screams, gunshots and wailing sirens for a lifetime. Actually, most of those sounds emanated from the flat below, which contained a man with about nine distinct personalities, who liked to knock on my door in the middle of the night in his pants. And not in a good way.

Thus we find ourselves trawling property websites for areas which offer some aspects of these two very different neighbourhoods. And, like dipping a crab paste-smeared big toe into a river full of piranha fish, as soon as you alert London's estate agents to your desire for a new gaff, you are immediately surrounded and completely besieged by swarms of well-dressed, if somewhat shifty, 25-year-olds; outwardly enthusiastic, but so utterly jaded with the whole process that you expect to wander into the kitchen of whichever empty house you are perusing and find your representative slumped on the floor, dribbling sad tears on to their iPad.

The first flat we saw was a good example of this. It was located above a dry cleaners, meaning that the whole flat reeked of whichever steamy chemicals they use to get that red wine stain off your best duvet.

As he jiggled the key in the lock to let us in, the estate agent sighed the sigh of the truly hacked-off and said: "Of course, no-one will give you a mortgage for this. It's the dry-cleaning chemicals, you see. They damage the… eh, they affect the… well, they're not good."

I cast a glance at my wife, who returned my expression of "Why is he showing us this place if no one will mortgage it?" However, it being our first viewing, we thought we should go through with it, so gave the flat the once-over, but with all the attention to detail of Prince Philip inspecting some troops in Manila in 40-degree heat when lunch is already being served.

Maybe our guy didn't think we needed a mortgage. Maybe he thought we would pay cash. But do I look like the kind of guy who keeps a quarter of a million quid in his pocket? Don't answer that…

Twitter.com/DonaldAMacInnes

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Administrator

    £13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Dialler Administrator

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...

    Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City of London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen