Despite it being a quiet time of year we are out valuing more than ever, as we prepare a great book of properties for sales to the trophy-home hunters returning with their bonuses. January and February are always very busy.
The Olympics is one of the biggest things to happen in the East End, and it is generating fabulous interest in property around here. We are valuing everything from small studios to large houses for short lets during this summer’s Games, as well as homes for people hoping to sell when the world’s focus is on the Canary Wharf area. It’s great news for a part of London that is often overlooked.
This morning brings a rather gracious phone call from a client whose property had been hanging around a little while. Since he and his family moved to their new home, feedback on their old house had been less than good from most applicants. After months of discussion over the condition of the place, the client finally took our advice and sent in his decorators.
Following an open day of viewings of the spruced-up property, we received three asking-price offers leading to sealed best bids and we finally agreed a sale at eight per cent above the asking price. Needless to say the owner is over the moon and wishes he had taken my advice sooner.
I have a buyer from Hong Kong who, luckily for him, managed to secure his dream house for the asking price. The sale only went through because we managed to arrange a meeting with the vendor in Hong Kong, one of the many bonuses of having such a great network of offices all over the world. Buyers from the Far East are very prominent at the moment, especially in Canary Wharf.
The vendor pops into the office while in London to thank me for my efforts, leading to some amusement as he brings in his whole family including his daughter and keeps referring to me as a “very handsome man”. Although I am a modest chap, I still get the distinct impression that he sees me as an ideal son-in-law. All in a day’s work.
We’ve got the completion for an elderly lady selling her penthouse which she has lived in for 16 years, since it was built. The exchange to completion was very smooth — so what comes next is completely out of the blue.
I go round to pick up the keys in preparation for the new owner to collect them tomorrow, as they are looking to move in sharpish that day. On arrival I find the vendor sitting, enjoying a cup of tea, and not one piece of furniture out of place.
My heart begins to race as the house should be empty by now. She has muddled up her dates — meaning I have to make the awkward call to the new owners explaining that the only way they are going to be able to move in tomorrow is if they spend tonight with me, amid a lot of bubble wrap and boxes.
Andrew Groocock is an associate at Knight Frank's Canary Wharf branch (020 7512 9966)