Diary of an estate agent

Our busy Islington agent demolishes a client's bookcase, averts a last-minute crisis and says sealed bids have well and truly returned
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur


Back from skiing, and with "goggle eyes". Is it acceptable, I wonder, for a bloke to put fake tan just around his eyes so that they match the colour of the rest of his face? Spend the morning catching up with hundreds of emails.

I am pleased to find out that one of the properties we launched before I left had 29 viewings on Saturday, resulting in two very competitive offers. I am really pleased for the vendor and we expect to go to sealed bids. An excellent and very rapid result for our client.


Some sales processes just take forever. One vendor, who I have been in touch with for more than a year now discussing fees, valuations and so on, rings me out of the blue and gives us the go-ahead. I am really chuffed about this one as it is a gorgeous and quite substantial central Islington double-fronted house, now on at £825,000. Such properties rarely come to the market, and this should generate a lot of attention. There really is a lack of quality stock on the market at the moment. Properties like this are flying off the books.


During a valuation today the client seems to be rather intrigued by my skiing-holiday eyes and proceeds to bring out an entire album with photos of her looking, it has to be said, even worse than me! She's got several where she's sporting a positively beetroot face and white circles around her eyes.

As I lean over to inspect her pictures, I don't realise that I am resting my weight on a particularly delicate bookshelf, which collapses forwards. Very embarrassed, I start to pick everything up. Fortunately, the vendor tells me to stop apologising. Apparently her ex-husband bought that bookcase and she was looking for an excuse to get rid of it.


Complications arise today on the brink of exchanging contracts on a top-floor apartment in Highbury. The purchaser happens to drive past, only to see that the freeholder has erected a mass of scaffolding in order to make repairs on the roof. Concerns arise swiftly as to who is going to foot the bill; as we are in the process of exchanging contracts, neither party wants to cover the cost.

The purchaser kicks up a huge fuss and demands that the vendor cover the amount. I don't like the way this is heading. By the end of the day, the purchaser calls up with his tail between his legs as his solicitor tells him that the work was documented in the management pack. He says he will pay up.


I'm glad it's Friday, and the good news comes through that on another sealed bid there is an agreed sale in excess of £100,000 over guide price. This is on a great house in central Islington.

The afternoon is spent preparing some open-house visits for the weekend and trying to persuade their owners to go and visit some relatives while we do the showing around. Having a vendor look over your shoulder while conducting a viewing of a property is not ideal.

I am happy to leave at close of play with a number of sales agreed, some over the asking price. The tan lines have started to blur and I am looking like a normal person, well almost...

Graham Stubbs is an associate at Chesterton Humberts' Islington office (020 7359 9777)

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