For most people their home is their most valuable asset, so it’s vitally important when instructing an estate agent to make the right choice. There are certain things that one should look for in an estate agent; competitive fees, the standard of their marketing, advertising on major portals, and the length of contract, for instance, but it is unlikely that you will instruct your agent on the back of their vacuum cleaning ability or, indeed, lack thereof.

I like to pride myself on being professional and friendly and will always do my utmost to keep both vendors and applicants happy. And so it was, on one cold and windy Sunday afternoon that I found myself on a viewing at an old Victorian cottage in the middle of the countryside. The viewing seemed to go well and as we said our ‘goodbyes’ on the doorstep, I noticed that there were quite a few leaves in the entrance hall. Were they there when I arrived? Had they blown in after I entered the property? Had we brought them in after looking at the garden? Quite simply, I didn’t know. So, I thought it best to clear up the mess just to be on the safe side. I told the applicants that I was staying behind to clean up. They looked at each other somewhat quizzically. Clearly they didn’t think I was being serious.

So once the front door was closed, I set to work. I found a rather posh-looking cordless and bagless vacuum cleaner (you know the one) and started the process of hoovering up the leaves. The trouble was the nozzle was too small to suck up whole leaves so I had to suck them up, pull them off, place them in the bin and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Eventually all the leaves were safely in the rubbish bin but in their place was a mixture of dirt and mud. Was that us too? Out came the brush attachment and off I set to work once more only this time cleaning the floor. Within no time the entrance hall was looking resplendent but, hang on, what was that on the kitchen floor? Was that some of the same debris? Had we brought that in too? No time to dwell so the kitchen got the once over, as did the dining room and the rear lobby just for good measure. There was no way any other debris in the house had come from us walking back in from the garden. Mission accomplished. Or so I thought. Just as I was about to put the vacuum device back in its rightful place I noticed another rogue leaf on the kitchen floor. I went to suck it up but, without warning or reason, the vacuum cleaner had no sign of life. I tried again. Nothing.

It was at this point there was a knock at the door. I opened the door, vacuum in hand, to find the applicants standing there amazed that, true to word, I had indeed set about cleaning the house. They had decided on the walk back to the car that they wanted the property and were happy to make an offer straight away. They had intended to wait for me to re-appear but were probably concerned for my safety or, more likely, had become bored of waiting, so decided to walk back. I thanked them for the offer and told them I would speak to the vendor as soon as possible.

So, back to the non-responsive sucking device. It occurred to me that the cylinder may be full so I duly emptied it and tried again. Nothing. Perhaps it was the filter? I carefully dismantled the device and found the filter. As my wife will testify, I’m not the most practical person and DIY is definitely not a forté of mine, but I did notice under the muck and dust that the filter had a tap symbol so I quickly ran it under the tap. As the water washed away the grime it revealed lots more tap symbols so clearly I was doing the right thing. Phew! Something I do know is that water and electricity don’t mix so I thought it best to dry the filter before putting the apparatus back together and surely the quickest way to dry a wet item is to wave it in the air in a fan-like motion? And, just for good measure, do it vigorously so it speeds up the process? What I soon discovered is that it does indeed speed up the process but it also sends a 180 degree arc of dirty water flying through the air. And, furthermore, not only does it fly through the air but flies some distance too. So there am I standing in the middle of the kitchen with a nice clean, dry filter but surrounded by a halo of dirty cupboards and worksurfaces.

Consequently, I ended up cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom and returned the poshlooking vacuum cleaner to its home in the holder on the wall (which, incidentally, still wasn’t working) and left the property in order to find somewhere to lie down. I confessed all to our vendor on my return to the office and also gave them the good news of the offer. I’m happy to report that, not only was the offer accepted, but my vendor was extremely happy to come home to a sparkly clean kitchen. They also admitted that the leaves had been there when they left that morning but they had forgotten to clear them up before the viewing. Furthermore, the vacuum cleaner was working perfectly. It had simply run out of battery…

Whilst it’s unlikely that people will instruct an agent on account of their cleaning ability (or lack thereof for that matter) it is important to instruct an agent who always has their vendors’ best interests at heart. And, by the way, I now keep a dustpan and brush in the car…just in case!