Diary of an estate agent

It's easy for this resourceful London estate agent to find a home for an equestrian team. But finding a way to move a grand piano up a narrow staircase is a slightly bigger challenge
Diary of an estate agent


The week starts with a flurry of activity as we act as a single point of contact for hundreds of different relocation agents and human resources departments who are looking to relocate employees. One agent, who has been struggling to house two clients since last Monday, emails asking me for help.

The first client is an IT expert moving to London from Texas who insists he will only look at contemporary, fully furnished, south-facing apartments, which have to be in a quiet residential street and no more than five minutes from a Tube station.

As it happens, I think I might just have the perfect place, so before the flat gets snapped up, I send the details to the relocation agent. Her second inquiry is a little trickier and involves the chief executive of a global business. The client is insisting on bringing her dog, which the agent describes as being “the size of a horse”.


It is bright and early and I am on my way to a beautiful six-bedroom house in Chelsea which is being looked at — very last-minute — by a representative of a European Olympic equestrian team. The viewing ticks all their boxes and they rush off to consult with their sporting colleagues.

A few hours later, I receive an asking price offer running up to the end of the Games and thus achieve the highest weekly rent of the Olympic short-let period so far. If that hasn’t got me into the spirit of the Games, I’m not sure anything will.


The relocation agent from Monday calls and tells me that the Texan IT expert loves the flat I arranged for him to see. However, there is one minor issue the applicant forgot to mention. He has brought with him a mini grand piano that will not in a million years fit up the narrow staircase to the flat and he is adamant he will not move without it.

Determined to make this work, although somewhat surprised that the applicant let this minor detail slip, I scroll through my business card to find the details of a specialist delivery firm who in the past have hoisted a piano through a sash window.

I’m determined not to leave the office until I get hold of my contact, especially after convincing the landlord to allow us access one week before the property is officially meant to come on to the market. My contact finally picks up and the movers are booked in.


I spend my morning ensuring that a move taking over a block of 14 flats runs smoothly. I have managed to find a company that has taken all the flats in one building as service apartments for visiting employees. I am greeted by two removal men who are slightly miffed at the prospect of bringing in the furniture for all the flats.

To keep on their good side, I lend a helping hand and we manage to bring in all the linen, towels and kitchen packs in record-breaking time. Just as we finish, I receive a call from the office. One of the employees has mistakenly turned up a day early and wants to move in.

I whizz back to the office, email a revised tenancy agreement to the landlord and company lawyer, and release the keys to him. There’s always one.


As I try to wrap things up for the week, the relocation agent from Monday comes back after several frustrating viewings, still attempting to house the client with the huge thoroughbred dog. As I search our network of offices, I finally find a beautiful house in Chiswick with pet-loving landlords and a big garden. It is a little over budget, but after a quick viewing they decide to go for it, knowing the alternative would have been finding a country house with stables for the Great Dane!

Ed Woolgar is director of corporate services and short lets at Chesterton Humberts (020 3040 8340)

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