mon 04/12/2023

Under Offer: Estate Agents on the Job, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

Under Offer: Estate Agents on the Job, BBC Two

Under Offer: Estate Agents on the Job, BBC Two

Can a new docusoap puts a human face on an unpopular profession?

A worse press than the press: Under Offer's estate agents

Hang about with estate agents (for the only reason that anyone would) and you notice the men among them often stand with their hands clasped pliantly in front of them, with their shoulders bent slightly inwards. The pose semaphores trustworthiness, humility and the morals of a choirboy. Uriah Heep, ever so ‘umble, would have made a fine addition to the trade.

Under Offer: Estate Agents on the Job is a docusoap about a profession that gets an even worse press than the press. The idea is to show its human face. So meet Lewis, who’s a big cheese in Exeter. “I’m the guy that’s sick in the urinal,” he said by way of introduction, before breaking into song. Lewis has been watching too much David Brent, but stick him in a three-piece suit and he can talk the talk. “If I didn’t think it was a good deal I’d tell you,” he fibbed to a client over the phone, and he practically winked at the camera. 

Meanwhile down in Mayfair, Gary is a well-fed serpent in pinstripes who sells properties ranging from £2 million to £120 million. “When dealing with any client important or otherwise," he said from the front seat of his chauffeured limo, "one has to act with decorum and with respect." He got bleeped within seconds. His high-camp office seems to be some sort of all-male harem for every perfumed lackey on Park Lane. “Do you ever get concerned that you won’t sell properties?” the interviewer asked Gary from behind the camera. He favoured her with a withering look that was essence of Madame JoJo. “One would call this Chanel chic,” he said as he showed us around a 13-bathroom monstrosity in SW1 going for just shy of 40 mill. The interviewer, taking the words out of one's mouth, asked what on earth that means. “It means exactly what it says,” Gary explained. It must make more sense to his gangster-rich clientele, few of whom are native speakers.

You’d think that the blood might run a little less coldly in the veins of estate agents where there’s fewer spondoolicks in the mix. “I don’t cheat people, I don’t tell them lies,” boasted blousy blonde Lynn up in County Durham (pictured), where a wreck might go under the hammer for a quid. Saddled with a property regrettably slathered in leopardprint, she resorted to misrepresenting its dimensions with the help of a wide-angle lens. Only Dave, dependable in Birmingham, preferred to say it like it really is. The customer is 99 percent wrong, he advised, and any programme in which Kirsty Allsopp seals the deal with a quick phone call is lying. It takes one profession to know another.

It turns out that there's a reason why Location Location Location leaves out all the nailbiting in property deals. Watching someone else buy a home is eyelid-droopingly dull. Also, while estate agents can all deploy the facile wit of the hustler, who'd choose an evening in their company? Let’s leave it to Louis, whose wife we saw having a baby, to show why. “Buying a house is more from the head than the heart,” he mused. “I guess it’s like a relationship.” A second viewing? No thanks.

You’d think that the blood might run a little less coldly in the veins of estate agents where there’s fewer spondoolicks in the mix


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