Diary of an estate agent

One owner leaves for Australia with his fish, another adopts a local fox. Our Stratford agent discovers there's a first time for everything
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Diary of an estate agent
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At last, a bright sunny morning. The perfect encouragement to arrive early at the office in Stratford to get up to speed with the weekend offers before the negotiators arrive. Four offers have surfaced, starting the week off with a bang. Two have already been agreed and one owner has sent a list of furniture he will leave behind when emigrating to Australia.

I am relieved to find he doesn’t intend to leave his fish, as I already knew that he planned to take the aquarium.

By lunchtime, offer number three has been agreed and number four just needs the thumbs-up from the parents who are helping with the buyer’s deposit. My afternoon is spent recounting memories of Usain Bolt’s 100m final sprint as I visit a modern apartment in the multi-coloured Icona development next to the entrance of Westfield.

The roof terrace faces the Olympic Stadium and I point out to the owner that I would have joined Usain, but 100m was just 90m too far for me. Luckily, and in spite of my poor jokes, the owner has already handed me the keys and asked me to find a buyer.

One of my valuers begins the day with a fantastic presentation on the current property market and a breakdown of the number of sales and buyers that we have dealt with so far this year. We currently have 15 buyers per property that we are marketing.

With the enormous amount of investment and regeneration around Stratford, it really is fascinating to see people discovering the area for the first time. Today, I visit a stunning ivy-strewn, two-bedroom cottage in Stratford Village. One of the negotiators is with her buyers outside a flat we are selling a few doors down. Transience has always made this job interesting; entire streets of families moving, yet we stay in place around the corner.

An uplifting start to the day — my newest negotiator celebrates her first exchange of contracts. Later, I find myself helping a client carry out the kitchen worktop from his charming Victorian cottage in Thorpe Road close to Wanstead Flats, near Epping Forest, and I am rewarded with tea and cake. This is hugely appreciated having left my sandwich on the roof of the car after an earlier appointment.

It’s always nice to meet owners’ pets but I am surprised by a phone call from my valuer who tells me that one of his new clients has adopted a local fox. There’s a first time for everything.

Chaos ensues after our photographer returns to the office somewhat flustered after an awkward appointment. One of the tenants, a reportedly rather handsome young man, had just emerged from the shower as the photographer appeared in the hallway. He had left his towel on the radiator.

The mutual embarrassment soon fades after the owner telephones through her apologies — the tenants were supposed to be out during the appointment but had forgotten and thought it was the following day.

My day ends with a council meeting with updates on all planned changes around Newham. Of all things, most people seem to be excited about the introduction of the new Boris bikes.

Our weekly meeting concludes with nine new offers agreed for this week. At more than one a day, that’s a fantastic indicator for the summer market. The morning is spent negotiating the final stages of a sale — slightly fraught as the completion dates for the buyer and the seller don’t match.

The purchaser is due to go on holiday while the owner’s tenant is due to depart early. Not to worry — an amicable compromise is reached and both sides instruct solicitors to exchange contracts.

After a meeting in Shoreditch with colleagues I’m off to dinner and drinks in Westfield for my valuer’s birthday. An early night I hope, as tomorrow is a full day for those of us who are working.

* Alex Leigh is sales manager at Foxtons in Stratford (020 8150 8585)

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