Diary of an estate agent

Our New King's Road agent has learnt his lesson about making assumptions after walking in on a homeowner's girlfriend in all her glory
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
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Great start to the week - we held an "open house" on a lovely property in Parsons Green over the weekend. All went very well with 15 viewings taking place in the one hour. I arrived in the office this morning to find three offers on the table already. I'm really looking forward to calling the owner with the good news.

Unfortunately, I also have to inform another owner that her sale has fallen through - the purchaser has not bought a property before and had a sudden attack of the nerves over the weekend as a result of negative coverage about the market.


Had to go and rescue our new negotiator today. He went out on his first solo tour and it could not have gone worse. At the first property, he found the tenant was at home (he had not checked the viewing notes) and they did not let him in.

At the second property he managed to get locked out with the applicants while they were in the garden, and in the end they had to jump two walls to find a neighbour at home. This made him late back to the car which now had a parking ticket. However, every cloud has a silver lining; we spoke to the purchasers and after all that, they liked the second property and are coming back for another look.

Some 10 years ago, during my first week, I did a similar thing; I left a message for an owner and then went round without checking all was OK. I was not aware his girlfriend had flown in the night before and was sunbathing on the roof terrace in her natural glory with her headphones on. Suffice to say we both had red faces and I learnt a valuable lesson in making assumptions.


This morning I am off to visit a house I valued for the BBC's Homes Under the Hammer. This was great as I like having to test my valuation knowledge in front of the nation - you can't get it wrong when the camera is rolling. After a full day, I have to follow up on some work at one house that we were instructed on a few weeks ago.

It was on the market with another agent for three months and they had only three viewings. By my calculation they were overvalued by £150,000. We agreed to take on the property at a reduced price and have had 35 viewings in the past three weeks. I get a great sense of pride at being accurate with my figures and do like it when we can make people happy.


Today I have had to wade into a dispute where the owners want to remove a bay tree from the garden as it was a gift from their daughter. The problem is the purchasers love the tree and feel it makes the house.

The lawyers are saying nothing, no one will budge an inch and emotions have risen to boiling point. However, I know a few landscape gardeners and have managed to rustle up a new tree of the same age for a few hundred pounds. I am hopeful of rescuing the deal, especially as the house is worth more than £2 million.


Exchange and completion day, my favourite day of the week. This is where we get to hand over the keys and see the smiles on the faces of all those who have successfully navigated the most stressful experience of their lives.

We are holding a sealed bid with the people who offered via the open house on Saturday and amazingly 70 per cent of them are cash purchasers. It will be exciting for the owner to sit down and open those envelopes to see the highest offer.

At the end of the day I get the team to sit down and share a glass or two in the office before we all go home. We informally discuss the week gone, and it's a good way to thank the team for the hard work they have done.

Richard Lepper is manager of Chesterton Humberts' New Kings Road branch (020 7731 4448; chestertonhumberts.com)

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