Diary of an estate agent

Our busy Covent Garden agent keeps a client in the dark, loses the perfect sale and is baffled by the mystery of the million-pound bag
Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur


Ah, a New Year and new start. I'm not making any resolutions I cannot keep, but Monday mornings are normally the busiest time for trawling through internet enquiries so I resolve to get all these queries out of the way early. A few hours later and I have prepared for a day of viewings ending with a five o'clock in Soho.

At 4.30pm I'm on my way down Drury Lane to meet my applicant who wants to view a new penthouse apartment, only to find there has been a power cut on the top floor. Luckily the tenant has a candle and, together with the flash from my mobile phone, I manage to just about complete the viewing. It would have probably gone down as the worst viewing in my career, but the client tells me that he would like a second viewing with his wife.


Buying a low-priced apartment in Covent Garden is a rarity and, once on the market, they are usually snapped up within hours. This morning we have five applicants going to view a onebedroom flat and I mosey down there beforehand to have a preview.

Advertised as a one-bedroom, what I didn't realise is that a separate room the size of the bathroom has been dedicated to Cup-a-Soup storage... the vendor is obviously preparing for a long winter.

Surprisingly all the applicants are impressed by the property, and I get two offers on the flat in the afternoon, managing to secure the asking price for the vendor's retirement fund.


After a busy start to the day I am told that we are taking on a one-bedroom Georgian apartment in excellent condition on a beautiful garden square in Bloomsbury. Immediately one client comes to mind; he has been house hunting for months and just hasn't been able to find his "perfect property".

He just happens to be after a one-bed on a Georgian garden square in Bloomsbury. Bingo! When he turns up at the property he is blown away by the building. While walking out of the flat and feeling chuffed with myself he drops the bomb. Although he loves the place he couldn't possibly buy it as it is too perfect. Sorry, too perfect? In this industry you can never pre-empt the actions of a buyer, but this is a first for me.


Selling property is rarely straightforward. There are often complications and arguments and I am of course used to this... but it doesn't mean we wouldn't all like the "perfect sale".

Today is an average day up until late afternoon when I receive a call from a well-spoken gentleman who seems in a bit of a rush. He wants to book a lastminute viewing on a £1.25million apartment close to the Strand. I go to meet the applicant at the property at 5pm. He is impressed; so much so that he puts down a near-asking price offer on the spot. He also adds that he is willing to exchange and complete within seven days, which blows another offer from the joint agent right out of the water. If all runs smoothly over the next week, I think this will be one of those "perfect sales".


The Christmas tree is coming down and I recall nostalgically the Chesterton Humberts nationwide competition for best festive window. After a heated debate in the office, we finally decided on a tasteful tree and snowflakes.

We were in the middle of this debate when a man came into the office carrying a large bag. He was clearly cold, and hunched over his suitcase. He asked what he could buy with £1 million and then looked down at the bag. I showed him a selection of properties, then looked at him and then the bag. He didn't hand over a trunk load of dosh, and after warming up a bit and making a few enquiries, he left — with his bag. To this day we don't know whether it was full of big notes, or if he just came in for a warm.

Paul Lynch is a sales negotiator at Chesterton Humberts' Covent Garden office (020 7836 2888)

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