Under Offer – Estate Agents on The Job

Posted on May 2, 2014

I don’t know how many of you have been watching the BBC 2 documentary series about estate agents but if you haven’t, get on iPlayer and watch it, it is great TV with characters that you assume you are going to despise but somehow you can’t help but like.

Most of you on will have had some dealing with estate agents in the past but probably not as many as me (7 moves in 20 years) and I have to say that in the majority of cases, I have dealt with misogynists, bullshitters and over friendly invaders of personal space; the human versions of a red setter, bounding all over me, trying to call me Rob and calling my partner “the Missus” or “the better half.”

My favourite moments with estate agents are hard to put in order as there are so many, but I will list the top three that come to my mind.

1/ Ringing a woman from Poulters in Tadley, five years after I had last spoke to her and when I said my name hearing her say back; “Do you know, before you even said your name, I thought…I know who that is, it’s Robert from Mortimer Gardens.”

2/ A young lad turning up to show me and my ex wife a property in Basingstoke, who as an introduction, pointed at his Ford Fiesta with his key and said; “That’s not my car, I’ve got a BMW but it’s being serviced.

3/ A 24 carat twat who turned up at my shabby two bed flat, called another agent (Redwoods) dead woods, and proceeded to walk around the flat whispering to himself, just about loud enough for me to hear… “Lovely place, lovely place…This will sale quickly.”

So as you can imagine, before I started watching this series, I made sure that my steel toe capped boots were firmly out of reach as a new TV is something I can’t afford right now.

Anyway, as I started watching, I became, somewhat bizarrely, totally addicted to the characters that included a couple of likeable spivs desperately trying to make a living in Dagenham, a demure lady selling Scottish retreats, a woman operating in the depressed town of Spennymoor and a cocky young lad spinning a yarn or two in Exeter.

However, the stand out characters for me, have to be Gary, operating in Mayfair, London, and Dave Simms, who specialises in selling, mainly to Asians, in central Birmingham; they are both amazing characters.

If you are a football fan, you will surely agree with me that Dave from Birmingham, must, surely, be the bastard son of former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager, Ron Atkinson. The resemblance and accent in particular, is uncanny.


Dave Atkinson…Sorry, I Mean Simms!

He is a Birmingham boy and comes from my era when every young lad had a paper round and had to work from an early age to survive, so I can’t help but like him. However, he is also at the age and of the character, where you can’t help think that he is an accidental, inappropriate racist joke about to happen.

Fair play to him though, he knows his manor off by heart and he deals with the Asian community in a blunt forthright manner, as he knows that is the way it has to be, otherwise he will get messed about with bartering and time wasting. They respect him for that and on the face of it, he has made a decent life for himself; he is the type of bloke who could tell some great stories over a pint in the Aston Villa executive box.

Gary Hersham is a multi-millionaire, the go to man for the rich and famous. Pompous, arrogant, incredibly rude and in no mood to mess about with time wasters, this is a guy who knows the mega rich market inside out.


Gary Hersham: The Go To Man For the Mega Wealthy

I guess he intrigues me so much because in the last few years, I have worked (at the bottom of the food chain unfortunately) on many of the properties he has marketed in Upper Brook Street, Hill Street and Trevor Place; it is an extraordinary place to be, where properties range from £15 – £80 million, with Gary making handsome rewards through his contacts and knowledge.

At 60 years old, he doesn’t need money, but such is the aura he has created for himself, the mega-wealthy want to be associated with him; it is almost a members club where, if you are buying or selling through Gary Hersham, it is a sign of status. Go to him trying to buy or sell anything under £5 million and he will abruptly tell you to fuck off and don’t come back until you have some proper money.

His world must be one of fascinating stories and after seeing him in action, he is someone I would love to have dinner with, as he is a best selling book waiting to happen…The Diaries of Gary Hersham would be impossible to put down.

However, with his status comes danger too, as he is undoubtedly dealing with some of the ‘colourful’ characters that are inevitably involved in that kind of market and last year, he was battered by a gang of thugs who ripped him from his Mercedes, punched him to the ground and stole his watch and keys. Typically unbowed he was back at work within 48 hours saying; “It was an expensive and sentimental watch…I shall wear an Accurist from now on.”

He summed up the obscene London Market when he said: “If I wake up in the morning wanting a yacht or race horse, I would have to think about it…The people I deal with, do it on a whim.”

He is a complete and utter pompous bastard, but the kind of total pompous bastard I would love to meet.

So, if you haven’t watched ‘Under Offer’ I urge you to do so; it is an excellent piece of television and worth viewing, if only to see Gary Hersham and the bastard son of Ron Atkinson operating brilliantly, in two staggeringly different markets that are little more than 100 miles apart.


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