Secret Agent: A Day in the Life of an Estate Agent

'My buyer wants a psychic cleaner to check for "bad energy". I've got some of that'
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There's nothing more guaranteed to stress me out than a client who, halfway through buying a property, asks to revisit it. Usually, this is just because they want to faff around measuring up for new curtains, or because their mother wants to have a nose, but I can't help panicking that they'll notice that the window frames are rotting, or their mother will point out that the kitchen's too small to eat in, and, suddenly, the sale will be off. Consequently, when the purchasers of a £650,000 house called me up requesting "access", I was less than enthusiastic about granting it.

"What for?" I snapped, like a jobsworth security guard.

"We'd like to take someone round," he replied, as images of beady-eyed surveyors and pessimistic structural engineers flooded my vision. "A consultant."

I laughed, nervously. "Is the house ill?"

"Possibly," he replied, gravely, "which is why we want a consultation with our Psychic Cleaner."

I assumed this was a joke, that he was a master of the deadpan delivery, but as he carried on talking, I realised he wasn't a skilled comedian at all; he was weird.

"My wife is very good at sensing things," he said – though obviously not that good given whom she'd married – "and we don't want to move to a house with bad energy."

I resisted the urge to release my own bad energy, and politely agreed to take them round the following morning, before replacing the handset and wailing.

"You'd better have someone with you," my manager soothed, in what I initially took to be a rare moment of concern, until I realised this was just an excuse to get shot of Gavin. "Your chance to be a knight in shining armour, lad," he said, addressing the freckly rodent. Gavin flashed us his vacant grin.

Having prepared myself for a sandal-wearing willowy woman in tie-dyed clothing smelling of incense, I was slightly disconcerted to be met by a fatter version of Anne Robinson. "Shall we get on with it?" she snapped, and, like frightened schoolchildren, we all filed in.

Thankfully, the vendor wasn't around to witness the extraordinary performance that followed. If I'd thought the purchaser peculiar, his "consultant" gave the word new meaning: she whipped out some dowsing rods and started waving them across the floor.

"What's she doing?" Gavin whispered, as the purchasers looked on anxiously.

"Checking for geopathic stress lines," Anne barked.

We waited patiently as she continued her silent dowsing. "Ah!" she suddenly exclaimed, hovering over one particular tile in the hallway. "I've found it."

I couldn't work out from her convoluted explanation what it was she'd actually found – apart from a couple of mugs prepared to pay her – but she's returning next week to practise earth acupuncture on the stress lines. With the sale now in jeopardy, I think I'll be turning to alcohol rather than acupuncture to deal with my stress lines.