The Old Friendly Home Advice Agency

My days of violence are behind me, I like to think. I was quite the firecracker back in my youth, and Wagga Wonga Primary School knew it. Hattie Borden made the mistake of making fun of my stockings, so I knocked out six of her teeth. It beat the previous record (when Archie Mason knocked out four teeth in a freak draughts incident) by a whole two teeth. I was quite proud of that until I grew up a bit and realised that there are better things to be remembered for.

And while property advocates in Melbourne are now running around everywhere, I like to think that I at least had SOME part in helping the industry along. My pretty older sister wanted to be a real estate secretary (women couldn’t be actual agents back in those days). At that time I adored my sister and it was my life goal to do whatever she did. No internet back in those days, obviously, If you wanted to buy a new home, your options were limited to looking in the newspapers and having an estate agent TELL you what it looked like. Then you could go and look at the property yourself, of course. My first ‘business’ was Helena Naismith’s Friendly Home Advice Agency. Think of a buyers advocate, but a lot less formal, you didn’t have to pay for the privilege and I had no real training or expertise. People would contact me, I’d run along to the place where they wanted to buy and I’d give them a full run-down of the lovely houses I found, preferably over tea. I only ever got about eight customers, mostly friends and family (then that one fellow who fancied me and was using it as an excuse for us to chat). Anyway, I did that for a while before my pretty sister moved into her nursing training. Naturally, I dropped the buyers advocacy stuff and took up full-time veterinary services, with a focus on disabled rabbits.

And lo and behold, decades later, look at all the property advocates! Trustworthy, Melbourne-based…and I can’t really prove that the original idea was mine. Still, I like to think the spirit of Helena Naismith’s Friendly Home Advice Agency lives on, in the modern era.


The Perfect, Scented Home

Everyone’s house smells like something, and I want mine to smell like brownies. I know that if you keep smelling the same thing over and over again, there’s a chance you’ll just get used to it…but if it was brownies, then I don’t think you would. I don’t spend a great deal of time in the house anyway, not quite enough to truly get used to the smell. And when I go away on business trips, then I’ll come home and the aroma will be as new.

I realise that’s a difficult criteria to give to a buyers advocate. Melbourne is a growing city of economic significance, the amount of high-end properties in my search area that smell like brownies, but I have faith in the industry.

See, I read recently that a home should be your sanctum, a place where stress can be abolished as you relax in peace and harmony. That’s the idea, anyway. When you have to deal with stressful situations in the home, you should strive to move them to a neutral room where you can cordon off the negativity. That way, the majority of your living space is a place of mental and spiritual rejuvenation. That’s the idea, anyway, and I think it’s been working quite well. But then I read ANOTHER piece that espoused the virtues of engaging the five senses. My grandmother always used to make brownies on special occasions, and we only ever visited her on special occasions, so…positive association.

Too much to ask? Too much to ask, yes. But I need my personal nirvana from the stresses of work. I know Melbourne’s property advocates are up to the challenge of bringing me…something. Maybe just a place with open spaces that can be filled with brownie-flavoured air fresheners. I don’t know if they exist, but I’m sure you can get them custom-made. Or maybe there’s a spray. I’ll ask the advocate. They know things about houses.