John Walsh: Depressed estate agents need something to perk up their drooping spirits

Tales of the City
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The Independent Online

It's a frustrating time to be an estate agent. Just when you thought the worst property slump since the bombing of Dresden was over, the Bank of England drops the bad news: mortgage loan approvals in January were down by 17 per cent on December. You're depressed. You need something to perk up your drooping spirits. Could lurve be the answer? With immaculate timing, Property Week magazine announces a lonely-hearts column, "Property Match," with the come-on line, "Are you looking for romance with someone who understands that property can be a 24-hour career?" Brilliant. But whatever will the submissions be like?

Gwendolen Close Small, slender but attractive 25-yr-old apartment seeks mature buyer. Contemporary exterior with superb balcony. Interior mostly white and yet to be tarted up. One single bedrm. Small reception room with one-bar elec fire. Small kitchen. Small fridge for ready meals. Small cat in basket. This youthful property will respond well to imaginative refurbishment, though a degree of plastering may be required. Beautifully presented, and surprisingly cheap. First timers not encouraged. Islington area.

Elsworthy Grange I am a generously proportioned (600 sq ft) two-bed Edwardian house with many period features, including white thatch and enormous basement. Some evidence of flakiness and bomb damage, but recently updated to v good standard. Handily placed for local amenities, eg Queen's Arms, Pig & Whistle, Dog & Duck, Royal Oak, All Bar One, A Taste of the Raj, Kalsi's Kebab Kabin etc. Lge bedrm. Lge bathrm. Carpet between bedroom and bathroom somewhat worn. Mature 80ft garden, laid mostly to empty Tennants Extra cans. Early inspection recommended, indeed desperately urged. Holloway Road.

Gavin Grove Delightfully fragrant, two-bed maisonette, designed by Chouchette et Camus, my dear, of Limoges. Two recptns with marble caryatids in doorways and, if I may say so, the most heavenly ruched effect around pelmets. Extremely well proportioned; sole use of rear garden. Handy for shops, bars, restaurants and those cheeky boys with greasy hands in the Quik-Fit rubber tyre emporium. Simply cannot wait to be scrutinised at close range. Bath.

Duchess Mews Behind impressive Victorian façade lies this evergreen, ready-for-anything, three-bed loft conversion. Many original feats, ancient plumbing and exposed beams, but property has determinedly youthful atmos. and fittings: Bose speakers with iPod dock, Ron Arad furniture, home cinema, also complete set of Saga magazine, 1975-present day. Scent of Eau de Je Ne Regrette Rien permeates master bedrm. Receptions recently stripped of chintz curtains, grand piano, photos of grandchildren etc., and replaced by strobe lighting, leather sofa with restraints, hi-fi with sub-woofer. Hoping to be inspected by as many as poss before too late. Time-wasters encouraged. Kent.

Ronnie Quadrant Simple, no-nonsense, stripped-down accom. for unpretentious geezer. Got that? Bedroom. Other room. Other room. Room with bath and bog. Kitchen. Beer cupboard. What you looking at? Property's within striking distance of people ill-advisedly walking in Brockwell Park, asking for trouble. A stone's throw from VG supermarket, staffed by old git in turban. Fancy a bit, do you? Herne Hill.

Beyonce Hill Superbly bubbly, wackily, kookily individual modern single girl's flat designed for max fun and party frolics with crazy gal pals, followed by little cry when they've all gone. One bed, with Kate Greenaway w/paper, shelves filled with zany collection of furry Jumbos! Receptn room w/massive sofa to fit 10 shrieky mates discussing hopelessness of foul men (just kidding!) with tons of chocs and Lambrusco. Small patio with trampoline. Early inspection yummy. Didsbury.

Havisham Way Tall, thin, pre-war, four-storey prop. in undeservedly neglected Ldn borough. Pale, etiolated décor. Small high windows occluded with dust. Gravely appealing air of retreat from outside world. Main receptn. decorated with amusing "cobwebby" effect, and regrettable quantity of mice running across abandoned wedding cake. Shld have vintage appeal for understanding owner, who must be prepared to contemplate marriage and go through with it this time.Gray's Inn.