Properties, as well as people, may have different names and, of course, different addresses, but they all come with the same idiosyncrasies. And that’s why I love my job. Monday mornings are my favourite — full of hope for the week ahead. In the lettings market, our landlords are rejuvenated from the weekend and our tenants, fresh from viewings, are ready to make decisions. I have clients calling and emailing me for updates and tenants eagerly awaiting news from the offers they have made. It’s a great start to the week.
The morning starts at 8am with a weekly meeting, where our Notting Hill team catches up with their Holland Park and North Kensington counterparts. We discuss all our available properties, as well as the agreed tenancies from the previous week. It was a great week, but that’s not unusual for this time of year. From an outsider’s view, I imagine that we might resemble peacocks ready to show off our fabulous feathers — starched collars at the ready. Appropriately, our meeting is in Holland Park, with its famous peacock residents. The afternoon is dominated by the launch of an apartment in Westbourne Gardens, which we have let for the past four years. It’s a cracking place and there has always been significant interest from several parties. Once again, within just a couple of hours, the landlord has the pick of three competing offers — she decides on the one that is significantly over the asking price and without a vacancy period between the tenancies. Needless to say, she is delighted.
I’ve been working with a particular client for 18 months now. He owns an antiques shop in Portobello Road and made the decision to convert the upstairs into a residential rental property. The unveiling of the apartment was a momentous occasion. The property had been in his family for more than 150 years and he grew up there, although the property had since been empty for 50 years. Throughout the 18 months, with regular visits, I have been advising him on how to maximise his rental investment. Now we are ready to start marketing the flat. Meanwhile, my team, who are fully aware of my dealings with this client, are already considering potential tenants. A colleague has someone in mind and promised them the first viewing. A few hours later, the offer is accepted and the let secured. Later, it transpires that the new tenants had family living in the same place as the landlord — a match made in heaven.
This is easily my busiest day, with five rental valuations at properties all over Notting Hill. But not before a “register meeting” in which we discuss feedback from all the recent viewings. We use these meetings to discuss both positive and negative feedback and update our landlords. Later in the day, I’m with a client to see one of their recently purchased properties. We spend about an hour in the flat, discussing the work planned and how to maximise the flat’s appeal. As we go to leave, we realise the door has jammed. After several failed attempts to exit, we resign ourselves to the fact that we are well and truly stuck. Did I mention that this is a lower-ground-floor flat with no back door and only a lightwell at the back? An hour later, after some fairly heated exchanges between my client and the builders, a ladder appears down the lightwell and my client allows me to go first. I try to remain professional and with a modicum of dignity while climbing a ladder — quite an art, I can assure you.
Today starts with a bang. There are four offers on my desk, which means catching up with four of my negotiators, followed by four sets of tenants and finally four landlords. Thank goodness for coffee. We are lucky to be in the centre of Notting Hill, with plenty of choice for a caffeine fix. Several phone calls later and we’ve agreed three out of the four offers and paperwork is already under way. Not bad for an hour’s work. The last one is a little trickier, with a landlord in Australia and a tenant in California. Timing is key. Preparation for the weekend move-ins and some last-minute paperwork means it’s 6pm before we know it. It wouldn’t be right to end the week without a glass of wine to toast the team.
Georgie Noel-Shore is an assistant lettings manager at the Notting Hill office of Marsh & Parsons (020 7313 6910)