Diary of an estate agent

Our Camden estate agent admires the unique sales technique of a vendor who didn't leave much to the imagination
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I start the week well with a number of offers coming in from an open house we staged on Saturday. The flat is a three-bedroom builder/developer’s dream in Chalk Farm, so we have people fighting over it, which makes the vendor a happy customer.

My afternoon manages to ruin the good start to the week, though, as my company car is “accidentally” parked in a suspended parking area and towed away. After tracking it down at the local car pound (and forking out a huge sum), I knuckle down to sort out all the offers from the open house.


Following yesterday’s activity with the offers on the flat, we eventually agree a sale - £50,000 above the asking price! After agreeing, my manager and I go to preview a unique new apartment overlooking Regent’s Park, but are running a bit late due to roadworks at Primrose Hill.

When we arrive, the photographer and energy surveyor are waiting outside and looking a bit perturbed. It turns out that they’ve been into the apartment, only to find the vendor sobbing over her dog which has clearly had some violent bowel problems. They tried to help but in the end the dog was whisked off to the vet. That was one event worth missing - thank goodness for that traffic jam.


My first appointment today turns out to be one of my most memorable viewings. I meet a female applicant outside one of our more expensive properties first thing in the morning, knock on the door and patiently wait for an answer. Nothing happens, so I continue to knock.

After about five minutes, the male vendor, wearing just a towel, lets us in. We are talking more hand towel than bath towel here. The applicant is looking shocked, especially as the owner continues to swan about the house in his mini-towel, clearly unfazed by the pervading embarrassment of the lady I’m with.

When we leave the property, however, she states how much she likes the house and makes an offer. Later, I wonder if maybe the vendor was practising a selling technique of his own, and perhaps the buyer admired more than just the house...


The day starts with a frantic buyer on the phone, panicking because contracts haven’t yet been exchanged on the property he is purchasing, and it seems increasingly unlikely that it will be completed by the stamp duty cut-off (for properties costing more than £1 million). Not a good start.

Later in the day, I encounter another bizarre selling technique from a vendor who insists on serenading us with his piano playing while the applicant and I view the house. It is very off-putting. I decide to make sure that the next showing happens when the owner is out. The viewer certainly doesn’t like the tune and we leave the property feeling dazed and confused.


Friday is deal day! The frantic £1 million-plus buyer’s call yesterday seems to have paid off as today he finally exchanges, with completion set for the day before the stamp duty deadline (saving him more than £15,000).

A number of deals that were looking shaky also see contracts exchange, which demonstrates signs of a strong market and increased buyer confidence. As I have the majority of exchanges today, my manager declares the drinks are on me, and off to the pub we go!

Rob Philp is a senior negotiator for Chesterton Humberts in Camden and Regent’s Park (020 7267 2053; chestertonhumberts.com)

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