It’s still only January but the office is already a buzz of activity. First things first, we look at and respond to all the online weekend enquiries. In all my years of working in a London estate agency, this certainly feels like one of the busiest starts to the year and will hopefully set the tone for the next few months. In addition, we received two offers and I am looking forward to getting these agreed in the coming days.
My first meeting is to revisit a townhouse I saw a year ago when the lovely owner was planning on developing her small two-bedroom home. It’s now well under way to becoming a stunning, three-bedroom family house with a fantastic living space and design features — what a transformation.
My second appointment is at a beautiful new-build apartment overlooking Regent’s Canal with a huge reception room and balcony, which the seller is looking to release prior to the buy-to-let stamp duty increase, as it’s the perfect investment property. After a leisurely stroll back to the office along the canal, taking in the lively delights of Camden, the day ends with an agreed offer, another one in the throes of negotiation, and a new instruction.
As anticipated, the new instruction is very popular, especially as there simply isn’t enough property on the market in the area. By the afternoon, the office diary is full with viewings and our client is very happy.
However, the day isn’t without its challenges. The second offer is proving tough to negotiate, but we are getting the seller and buyer closer to an agreement.
The afternoon is dedicated to managing our under-offer portfolio of properties — speaking to solicitors, sellers and purchasers to establish what needs to happen in order to exchange contracts. As the day draws to a close, we get the sticky offer agreed — I think this was somewhat helped by my second double espresso of the day.
I have a busy day of valuations lined up and each meeting requires detailed preparation, including local comparable sales to assure our clients that we are in the best position to get them the best price. The first stop is a huge penthouse apartment in a sought-after converted factory, a short walk from the office.
I meet a cheery search agent who is looking after his client’s property matters. The penthouse is quirky and stylish, the sort of place I would love to live in. I just know we’ve got plenty of buyers waiting in the wings.
Next, I meet a couple with an 18-month-old son who are planning to move to St Albans. Interestingly, we see this migration route from Camden quite often. Having lived in the area for many years, they are dubious about leaving, but want a family house and garden.
Their toddler involves himself fully in the proceedings, gurgling away and taking a healthy interest in the brochures — trying to eat them and using them as sliding material across the wooden floors. I’m glad our marketing material is put to such good use.
I have time for a quick stop at the office to respond to any messages and emails before running out again for meetings, and a late finish.
Every Thursday we have our regional meeting, which begins at 8.30am at our Little Venice office. We go through all of the deals currently in the pipeline and share details of properties with our neighbouring offices. This is a chance to swap ideas and encourage them to bring their buyers across to this part of London. Marsh & Parsons’ unique “open network” means that our clients’ properties are exposed to a greater number of people, so their chances of getting the best sale increases.
Back at the office, we have multiple offers on a property near Euston, so a bid process is arranged. Each buyer is invited to put forward their best offer, backed up with their buying position and proof of financial status, so the seller can make a decision. When the bids have been submitted, the negotiators wait to hear who has the winning offer. It’s a close call. The seller decides to go with the highest offer, from a purchaser who can move quickly.
Everyone in the office seems to have that Friday feeling and the banter between the sales and lettings teams has reached a whole new level.
It appears we’ve all got full diaries with lots of viewings, and I am on my way to a meeting with a gentleman whose house we were marketing towards the end of last year. Since then, he has spruced up the property and we are freshly launching it today.
As the working day ends, we’re ready to hit one of our favourite Camden watering holes for a well-earned drink — and to celebrate my birthday.
- Enna-Mae Assiter is an associate director and sales manager in the Camden office of Marsh & Parsons in Parkway, NW1 (020 7244 2200).