London Evening Standard - Jonathan Hudson 'Diary of an Estate Agent', September 2018
MondayOur lettings business goes bonkers in September, with more than 100 enquiries most Monday mornings after the weekend’s activity. To maintain our high standards of service we’ve recruited extra help just so we can deal with the sheer volume.
After a catch-up with the team I’m off to view a building in Bedford Square with a secretive buyer who I’ve been told is a “VVIP”.
I meet his PA and we view the house — glorious high ceilings, big Georgian windows, grand original staircase and a wonderful drawing room overlooking the square. But it still isn’t quite right as this client has a particular taste.
We chat afterwards and I try to find out more so I can find the right place for them. I’m told to “think bigger than Simon Cowell”.
TuesdayIn this slower market we’re not quite as busy in sales as we are in lettings. However, the last couple of months have really picked up, with sellers becoming more realistic in their prices.
This has enabled buyers to agree deals but getting them through to completion is the tricky part. We have a healthy pipeline of agreed business but each one has its intricacies.
At one building in Marylebone the managing agent has sent out a letter saying major works are expected, which causes our agreed sale to shake at the last minute.
WednesdayI need a coffee to fire the engines then I’m back to Bedford Square to value an embassy building.
With these buildings sometimes they only want us to provide a valuation for bookkeeping purposes but sometimes they are selling and moving on. It’s only when I get there I realise it is purely a valuation at this time.
Next up is a beautiful house in Colville Place. The owner is a Cypriot ex-airline pilot.
This place is in a peach of a position with direct views over to Crabtree Place, a green open space in Fitzrovia, from the south-facing roof terrace.
We agree terms to market it at £2.85 million. He is an intriguing man and we chat for a while about his times flying all the big Boeings around the world.
ThursdayLettings are still frantic and when the consultants are out showing properties the enquiries keep coming in, including many from students returning from holiday who have left it late.
It means a lot of us in other departments are fielding calls and helping to book in more appointments.
My colleague Simon went out at 11am and isn’t coming back to the office until 4pm with back-to-back viewings, while Laura has appointments as late as 8.30pm.
I meet with a client late afternoon. He’s an award-winning documentary producer and we look after a few buildings for him.
We meet at Balans in Old Compton Street and just as we start talking a jazz duo starts playing live music — great to listen to, but it’s hard to talk.
FridayCompletion day today for an office suite we have acquired on behalf of a production company. The deal has dragged on, like many at the moment, but we are finally there.
Keys are handed over and we arrange for our specialist builders and fit-out team to head in and make required changes. It is located just north of Covent Garden Piazza and has cool exposed brickwork.
This area holds so many fond memories for me over the years. I can still remember visiting the Covent Garden General Store opposite as a teenager. How things have changed.
I head back to the office to meet a contractor to run through some works that he will be doing on our behalf for a client this weekend. He normally likes a Friday beer so we bag a seat outside Señor Ceviche and enjoy the last of the sunshine.