Some people think looking for a flat is stressful.
I love poking around strangers’ homes.
LSB and I have been doing a lot of it lately.
In fact, it’s turned into quite a nasty little habit.
It began last month, when I developed an epistolary relationship with an English gentleman named Mr Humphreys. He was advertising an apartment just off Gendarmenmarkt, one of Berlin’s prettiest squares.
Mr Humphreys had bought the property for his daughter while she attended university. Since she had now completed her studies, he was looking to rent it out.
But poor Mr Humphreys was ill and his treatment meant he was unable to travel to Berlin. He was simply keen to rent out his beautiful, affordable apartment to a young couple just like LSB and me.
“You seem to be a very nice person,” Mr Humphreys wrote to me, adding “I can assure you we will not have any problems.”
Mr Humphreys had a formal, near-native prose style. He offered to send me the keys to his apartment. The rest, he said, would be taken care of by a letting agency.
There was just one small matter. In exchange for mailing us the keys, he required €1,340 to be transferred to his account – so we could “trust each other.”
I thought I might trust Mr Humphreys more if he agreed to Skype with me. But as well as being in poor health, Mr Humphreys suffered from shyness. Ideally, we would just transfer the money. After all, it would be immediately refunded if we decided not to take the apartment.
While I was corresponding with Mr Humphreys, LSB decided to check out our future address. It was a Chinese restaurant.
And as much as it pained me, I concluded my correspondence with Mr Humphreys.
LSB and I then narrowed our search to flats which existed.
(Part 2 coming soon!)