London Evening Standard - Jonathan Hudson 'Diary of an Estate Agent', May 2018
MondaySummery weather brings renewed interest in West End property. Over the last week we have had a huge rise in enquiries and viewings. While we’re not at the levels of the peak market, it does go to show that when the sun is out buyers get more fuelled up about their property needs.
Today we are out with an American lady who works in the City to view for a second time. She is looking at a new development of six flats in Charlotte Street that’s launching soon.
The southern end of the street is synonymous with great restaurants and cool bars, so it has a super location. She seems tempted by a dual-aspect duplex apartment and wants the week to think it over.
TuesdayA property contact of mine gives me a call, on the hunt for a client looking to buy blocks of flats completing within the next 18 months. Their needs are very specific on area, unit type, price per square foot and yield.
Finding something like this can be very rewarding, but to find something that fits all boxes will be tough. Drawing on my 27 years’ experience, and speaking to my fellow members of Propertymark, I reach out to agents and developers to see what they have that fits those criteria.
Later I’m out viewing a nice two-bedroom mews flat in Bloomsbury with a client who works in IT. He wants to move from north London to be closer to City airport as he flies a lot for work. Initial signs are good.
He likes the fact that the location is quiet, which he didn’t expect in central London, and he loves the lofty style and feel. He asks to come back again tomorrow but the owner says he can’t as he has hired the place out for a photo shoot.
WednesdayI have plenty of overseas visitors today. First I am with a group of property students from Denmark. It’s the second year they have visited and I’ve prepared a presentation for them on the ins and outs of the London property market.
Afterwards I meet some baking specialists from Portugal. They have a new concept they want to roll out in London. We view one restaurant on Shaftesbury Avenue which is a little bit too big for them so we spend some time walking around Covent Garden and in Cranbourne Street particularly because of its busy footfall, as it cuts across Leicester Square.
Back at the office, I receive several replies to yesterday’s request for new development blocks to buy. I work out the numbers on each to see if they fit the criteria required, then package them up and send them over to my client.
This type of purchase allows a buyer full control of a building without any other leaseholders, which makes it easier for renting.
ThursdayAn interesting call comes in today from a seller in Marylebone. Last year we had her property on the market and had some reasonable offers that didn’t get accepted. She is back in touch to ask if those buyers are still looking — we certainly know of one buyer who will be interested.
We get our IT buyer back to the mews property today and he makes an offer, which needs some work, but it’s another sign the market is starting to move a little quicker.
My colleague Simon returns to the office from an afternoon of viewings and tells me he has had to walk around for the last two hours with a huge rip in the seat of his trousers.
He bent down to pick up the post for one of our sellers and the seam gave way, much to the amusement of his buyers.
FridayToday is the student fair. Every year we man a stall at University College London to help guide overseas and second-year students through the lettings process.
It’s as busy as ever, as we advise a constant stream of students on the tips and tricks for renting in London.
After our viewings at the Marylebone property that was on the market last year, we hear from the prospective new buyer who is very keen and makes an offer that should delight our seller.
We’re ending the week by heading out to celebrate an award we received for finishing top Net Promoter Score company for customer service last year. We head to the Escape Games in Oxford Street — it should be a fun evening…