Secret Agent: 'Much to the fury of our boss, any price cuts we make are showing up on a new website'

You might expect a website called Property Snake to be some kind of forum for disgruntled home-owners and buyers to rant about venomous and slippery estate agents. In fact, as regular readers of this supplement will know, it's a list of all the properties on the UK market which are selling for a reduced price. There's quite a lot of them and, with the rumoured imminent slump, Property Snake has suddenly become big news in the industry, much to the fury of estate agents everywhere. Except Gavin.

"I don't understand," he said, as is often his response to the morning meeting. "Isn't this website just trying to be helpful?"

My manager smiled condescendingly. "Is it helpful to you, Gav?"

Gavin picked pensively at a freckle. "Yes."

"How exactly? Are you buying a house?"

Gavin giggled. "No."

"Are you selling a house?"

"No."

"For pity's sake!" my manager exploded, thumping his desk. "Of course you're selling houses: you're an estate agent!" I can't say that I would have made this assumption, especially in Gavin's case – he's yet to master the complexities of Yale locks – but there was no interrupting him. "A website that shows prices are falling is not a helpful thing for us estate agents, Gav. Vendors aren't going to want to sell, and buyers will be expecting a bargain. So it's lose-lose. Comprendez?"

It was difficult to tell from Gavin's trademark vacuous stare quite what he understood, but fortunately we were spared the torture of finding out by the arrival of a small bald man.

"Mr Barker!" my manager said, drawing himself up and rearranging the crotch of his trousers before proffering his hand.

The bald man bravely shook it. "Morning, Sir."

From the pitifully grateful grin sweeping across my manager's face, it was clear that he'd only ever been addressed as such by call centre workers on the other end of the phone line. "What can I do for you?"

"My wife and I have thought long and hard about your valuation," the man began – his first error: no one should ever think long and hard about anything that comes out of my manager's mouth. "And we'd like to go for it."

It wasn't until my manager, foaming with excitement, had committed the man to a contract before slow-waltzing him out of the office, that we all discovered exactly what he'd signed himself up for.

"Isn't £780,000 a bit steep?" Justin ventured.

"Of course it is!" my manager said, still grinning. "We'll knock him down in a few weeks to something more realistic. But for now, rejoice!"

This seemed to satisfy the zoo that is our office, with the exception, strangely, of Gavin. He was sitting at his desk with furrowed brow. "Did you say you're going to reduce it?"

"Yes, lad, keep up."

"But if you reduce it, it'll go on that Property Snake website, which you said is lose-lose."

It's a first, but I think Gavin might just have won-won.

Suggested Topics
VIDEO
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?