Want to know the truth about flat hunting in the current London market? It absorbs incredible amounts of FQ and EQ

The face of a man who has just completed 35km on a Santander bicycle looking for flats

Undoubtedly one of the biggest events to happen to me, my life and my business in the last 2 months has been my upcoming eviction from my Central London apartment. As such, I felt it deserved a special series of short blogs exploring this event. This is the third in that series where I explore why this happened, what it means for me and my business and how I am trying to overcome the challenge

Followers of my recent blogs will have read all about how I (a successful CEO of a start-up 🤓) found myself recently being evicted from my property and how I developed a plan to overcome this major challenge in my life so I can go back to focusing on other matters.

In this, the 3rd and final part of my series, I share what it’s like to undertake flat hunting in the current market and why it is a real test to your EQ and FQ.

Let’s start with FQ

Flat hunting takes time; unless you are an incredible maverick you most likely need to go and see a property before you agree to rent it for 1 or 2 years.

With the current state of the market (i.e. super competitive), this means having to go see a flat within 48 hours of it being listed (or maybe even before it has been formally listed) to ensure that you have a chance of getting it.

When I first started looking, conversations with estate agents would go as follows:

“Hi, I’ve seen property X on your website that I would like to view, can we arrange a time to visit it?” I would start

“Oh that property you are interested in has already gone, we just haven’t taken down the listing yet. I do have another property that is similar but hasn’t gone up on the website yet; can you come and see it today?”

“Unfortunately, I’ve got client meetings and work all day today, could I see it later this week instead?”

“No, we can’t. It’ll be gone within 2 days. Why don’t you call back when you clear your diary and hopefully we will have some new properties that might be suitable”

No pleasantries, no real attempts to understand my situation. Quite frankly, business is hot for estate agents at the moment so I don’t blame them.

I quickly realised that there is fierce competition for these properties (and I’m talking about fairly expensive flats) so if I was going to find one then I was going to have to do what they suggested and rejig my workload so that I could go and see more properties with much shorter notice.

And so, that’s what I did. I carved out time from my diary and over the next week I spent hours researching properties, ringing around to see what was still available, repeating all the info about my requirements and situation to bored estate agents and then fighting wars with my diary to try and group viewings so as to be efficient and still allow me to salvage some work from my day [not helped by appointments being moved last minute, over-running or cancelled entirely].

As if that wasn’t bad enough, because of the state of the market I signed up with pretty much every estate agent across London (from Bermondsey to Notting Hill, Brixton to Angel) and that meant that every morning my phone would flare up as they all rang me with the latest properties.

I’ve never been so popular, although trying to keep up is quite a job as I simply don’t have enough time [although don’t answer at your peril as they will quickly give up on you and that’s not where you want to be].

The net result was that I went to see 25 properties in a week, squeezing them in between meetings, at the start of the day, at a lunch break and well into the evenings.

As if that wasn’t enough, I packed out the current 3-day May bank holiday weekend with another 12 viewings (about 35km back and forth on a Santander bicycle) thinking that surely that would be enough.

Has that approach been successful?

Well, I’m still waiting to hear from a couple of places that I put offers on🤞but so far the tally reads:

  • viewed over 30 properties,
  • put offers on 5,
  • been outbid on all 5 (they all went for above asking).
  • the other 25 have not been suitable for various reasons (I feel that almost deserves another blog😳)

That success rate brings me nicely on to the EQ side of things

Looking for a flat in the current market really takes an emotional toll. You gear yourself up for the challenge, invest hours researching and go and find somewhere you like only to miss out; so you then go through the whole emotional rollercoaster again with the next place only to lose out again [in that sense it’s a bit like modern dating — or at least my experience of modern dating 🙄].

It leaves you feeling sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, tired, despondent and more.

In between the flats you like, there are the ones that clearly aren’t going to work out and these leave you angry:

“Why did I bother coming to see this?”

“Why did the estate agent show me this; it doesn’t meet any of my criteria”

“How much?? For this!”

You really have to become adept at handling these emotions because otherwise it’ll impact other aspects of your life.

Friends try and help by empathising as much as they can; some even try to help with viewings and/or having a lead on a flat. Whilst this is great, you realise pretty quickly that there is only so much they can do.

It turns out pretty much everyone has a view on what you should do, but ultimately it will be you that has to live there — it can be really hard trying to picture the life you might have in a place particularly if it is unfurnished or the wrong time of day so once again you need to lean on your EQ.

Having said that, it’s definitely shown me how much people care as I’ve been inundated with supportive messages, copies of articles about the situation and offers of a sofa/spare room to crash in.

As nice as this was, all the offers of flats or places to stay all eventually led to no joy (either dates didn’t work or some other circumstance came up that meant each lead fell away) and this also leaves an emotional scar (the hope, the eventual disappointment and the subsequent weird vibe in your relationship for the next week or two — it’s a bit like the word “Inshallah”).

Add to this that my flat dilemma has become the Number 1 topic of conversation with everyone I know so there is simply no escaping it.

All in all, it’s proven to be quite an emotional time.

So, what does that all add up to?

As things stand, I am set to be homeless in one month’s time. I remain optimistic and am throwing myself into the search with even more gusto.

I will crack it one way or another, otherwise I will be crashing with my sister for a while (lucky her!).

It’s good to remember that we are all going through different challenges at any point of our life that can absorb a disproportionate amount of EQ and FQ.

I guess this is just life but it’s a prime opportunity for the old adage of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Don’t worry about little ol’ me, I just wanted to share how the journey has been.

See you all soon…and wish me luck…

Faris is the CEO and Founder of Shiageto Consulting, an innovative consultancy that helps firms and individuals sharpen their effectiveness.

Success = IQ x EQ x FQ

Originally Published on https://farisaranki.medium.com/

Faris Aranki Strategy & Emotional Intelligence

Having spent over 20 years delivering strategic change for the corporate and non-corporate worlds, Faris has experienced first-hand the fine differences between strategic success and failure.
His work has spanned numerous companies (from global behemoths to small start-ups), in numerous countries, across a range of sectors, supporting them all to unlock strategic success.

He came to realize that often what hinders institutions from achieving their goals goes beyond the quality of their strategy; it is their ability to engage effectively with others at all levels and remove barriers in their way. This has led to his passion for improving strategic effectiveness within all businesses and individuals and the foundation of Shiageto Consulting.

Over time, Faris has worked to distill his knowledge of how to solve complex problems in a structured manner combined with his skill on engaging effectively with others and his ability to quickly determine the barriers to a strategy's success. This knowledge has formed the foundation of Shiageto’s workshops, courses and methodologies. Faris believes that any firm or team can adopt these improvements; all it requires is a little of the right support -something Shiageto provides!

On top of leading our business, Faris is now an accomplished speaker and contributor for a variety of outlets.

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