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The (Not So) Secret Diary of a London First Time Buyer; Aged 34 1⁄4 - Part II

For the uninitiatedcould best be described as a sort of curiously 21st Century psuedo-auction; where hapless house hunters secretly e-mail the top price they are prepared to part with for a flat innumerable others will no doubt also have dreams of owning. It's unforgiving.

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:32am - Lie in bed and ponder how much cash to put up for this sealed bid -AKA- my first chance to get on the property ladder. For the uninitiated The Bid could best be described as a sort of curiously 21st Century psuedo-auction; where hapless house hunters secretly e-mail the top price they are prepared to part with for a flat innumerable others will no doubt also have dreams of owning. It's unforgiving. I first saw this homestead on Saturday lunchtime and have had a mere three full days to consider if I want it. Such is the demand in this market. 72 hours to judge if this is where I want to plunge ALL my life savings and hundreds of thousands of pounds of borrowed mortgage wedge. I'm normally a procrastinator, mull-it-over type bore. That option is denied in this grim, zippy world of open days and secret bidding.

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:35am - I seek counsel and WhatsApp a friend who's lost out on a couple of these. "You've got to hold your nerve," preaches he. "Outspend the piss-ants but DON'T go overboard. 'Cos bankruptcy is a terrible look." Stellar advice. But, Oh! There's more. As part of the process, potential buyers must also draft a letter to the owner outlining why they want to purchase their pad.

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:38am - My rage inexplicably builds as I ponder what to type. I go with the ridiculous: I'd like to buy your condo as my current crack den is frustratingly open plan. And what's more off-putting than the cloying smell of burnt, low-grade cocaine and boozy hookers when you're munching organic porridge before Pilates, eh? EH?!

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:39am - Delete message. Self admonish.

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:50am -Talk myself down. I could write a Why I Want To Buy Your Yard missive with searing beauty and the pathos of a menstruating Sylvia Plath but my offer would almost certainly be passed over for the bloke bidding £250 more. Capitalism is beautiful sometimes...

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 1:58am - Focus enough to write a cringe-filled, circumlocutory note. I assure current proprietors I have been living in and around north-west London for a decade (true), plan on living in the flat and not renting it to parentally-pampered undergrads (true) and that I've been looking for ages (bollocks). I go for the LOLZ route and attempt (see: fail) to appeal to their kooky side.


Buyer's name: David Lewis

Property address: XXX XXXXXXXXXXX Road, London, NW6

Please submit your best and final offer: £347,501.85 (advertised price: £325,0000)

Please indicate your buying position: I have a £265,000 mortgage approved in principle with XXXXXXXXX via my mortgage brokers XXXXXXXXXXXXXX . I have saved up (and been bequeathed) a total of £100,000 which I'm using as a deposit.

Please indicate flexibility regarding timescale to exchange and completion: I am a first time buyer, completely chain-free and can move any time. (Ideally asap...)

Please provide us with any further information that you feel is relevant: LOVE the flat. I fear others of deeper pocket might like it just as much. However - please know this;

1. I'll be living in it personally. I've lived in/around Kilburn for years and definitely WON'T be using the flat as an "investment opportunity" to rent out to some hapless undergrad or to add to my portfolio.

2. I would like to think that - as a stand-up comic - I will be the only prospective buyer planning to spend hours on your terrace writing heinous gags about Nigel Farage and Kerry Katona in preparation for Edinburgh fest. That is all.

This market is bonkers! Good luck to you anyway whatever happens.

All the best,

David L x


Tuesday 4 Feb: 2:23am - Reread drafted letter. Vacillate between keeping horrific looking x/kiss after name. But do. The whole thing is stratospherically wincey but I'm too tired to tinker. Click and press send and note whizzes away. So this is house hunting in 2014. Not just hacking up sums way beyond what the flat is worth but you get to embarrass yourself writing sloppy letters to people who almost definitely won't even bother reading them unless the £££'s match.

Tuesday 4 Feb: 2:29am - Exhausted, excited and feeling bizarrely both alive and dead, I drift off. Househunting so far, to paraphrase a husky Vinnie Jones, has been emotional.

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 12:05pm - Wake up and fumble for phone. Results are in. My bid has not even touched the sides. The majority of offers were between £30-£50,000 above listed price. The winning bid was near on £70,000 higher than advertised. Seventy-fucking-grand. A flat above a converted pub in the wrong end of Kilburn. One-and-a-half open days. A five day turnaround. Dozens of potential buyers. 22 official bids. And absolutely nothing to show for it. For FUCK'S sake...

Wednesday, 5 Feb: 12:26pm - Brew shit coffee. Drink. I make a mental note to shelve all lingering ideas of trying to contribute anything idealistic or creative to humanity. From now I'm just going to earn as much cash, as much dead-eyed dinero as possible. I will also be keeping my mum as far away from this buying frenzy as possible. Let the (absolutely no) fun begin...

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