I can see why this agency has five stars. I moved with my partner into a flat in Hanwell in October 2012. A few months later, I think I can give a balanced review. When reviewing, I always give negative points as well as positive, but I feel unable to do so in this case - it\'s just a matter of convention, I suppose. So, this balanced review is entirely positive, but I have evaluated my experience carefully, so it is not blindly so.
We visited about six or seven agencies during our search for somewhere to live over a month or so. We were beginning to get a little irked by the attitude of most estate agents who advertise themselves as the \'best in the area\'. The attitude of most estate agents seem to match their self-review. Castle is the opposite, in my experience. Whereas other estate agents are influenced by the commercial habits of self inflation, Castle demonstrates rather than states.
I think our positive experience is mainly because of the atmosphere, staff, and the ease with which we moved through the process of renting a house, even though we were both self-employed.
The office has a more homely feel to it than most agencies, and the team run by Surj is very professional and courteous without being cold and unfriendly. They enjoy their jobs, they enjoy people, and it shows. They work well together. The glibness that characterises estate agent stereotypes wasn\'t there. So, full marks for atmosphere and staff.
The process of renting a flat using Castle took much of the pain away from moving. As I already mentioned, we are both self-employed, and this usually is enough for estate agents to either ignore you or request lots of supporting material, a guarantor, and so forth. This, we had experienced countless times before. Castle does have safeguards, and we were required to obtain references and so forth, but the place is run in such a human way that we never felt as though we were being made to jump through hoops, and we gladly gathered the materials needed. It was the staff who made the decision about whether we were able to pay the landlord or not, not a collection of arbitrary criteria.
A further point with which I am most impressed is the personal service. It happened that we were both away from London the week running up to having to move out of our old places (we moved in together for the first time!) and we would have nowhere to stay if we waited until the following week. Castle made special arrangements so that we could get our key on a Sunday morning. This was a real faith-in-humanity-restorer, as we wouldn\'t have blamed them if this was impossible.
I have dealt with very fine companies in the past, but this is the only estate agency I feel positive about. London is a seller\'s market, so it is a mark of genuine professionalism and quality of service when a London estate agent makes a customer feel valued.