"Just interested in ethical banking and stuff?"
Having come into contact with several estate agents in recent months, I've become aware of the huge variety in their hairstyles and dress sense, as well as their approach to what they do. Taylors are the worst I've encountered.
1) They are based in a supermarket. In Morrisons in what they like to call Cardiff Bay. Only it's not Cardiff Bay, it's a shopping estate on the no-man's land between Cardiff Bay and Penarth. A box of twelve Stella stubbies was on the man's desk.
2) We had an appointment at 5pm and had left work early to be there. The mortgage man nipped outside on his mobile just as we arrived so we had to wait with his colleague - who said nothing useful or interesting - for the next ten minutes. Eventually he went to fetch mortgage man from his private phone call.
3) The mortgage man wasn't very good with customers. He told us we needed an Agreement in Principle. We said that the Co-op wouldn't do one of those until we had applied for a mortgage, which we couldn't do until we'd had an offer on a house accepted. But every estate agent will ask you for one of these, he replied. (No-one else has.)
We repeated what we had said, adding that the Britannia Building Society had said the same thing as the Co-op - no agreement until you apply. Seemingly unable to move on, mortgage man pulled a sheet of A4 paper with the header 'Mortgage Agreement' from one of his drawers. This is what you need, he said, holding it up for us to see. He called his colleague over and asked whether that was what all estate agents need. After this onslaught, he told us not to be defensive.
Staggering on with the conversation, he asked whether we had received mortgage advice.
"Yes, we've arranged things with the Co-op."
"Ah, but I'm independent. [What are you doing sitting in a Taylors branch in Morrisons then?] The Co-op will only show you Co-op products. What if I show you some deals here that could save you £90 a month?"
"It depends who they're with."
"Oh, like ethical banking?"
4) They either lied or broke the law. When I rang to book a viewing I was told that as it was a "repo" (repossession) legally they had to make sure that we could afford it before they showed it to us. I agreed to visit said branch - travelling far across Cardiff in rush hour. The mortgage guy in the branch asked if we'd arranged finance, we said yes thank you and he gave us his blessing to see the property.
"But you haven't seen any proof - it's just us saying we can afford it", I protested.
"It's ok - I've asked if you can afford it. If you put an offer in and can't afford it then we'll know."
Either they just wanted us to go there so they could flog us a mortgage, in which case they lied about it being a legal requirement for them to check our finances as this was a "repo", or they broke the law as they let us see it without checking our finances beyond us saying what we could afford.