Diary of an estate agent

Our Chelsea agent deals with a landlady in her knickers, a ceiling falling in and helps a client pack up her house to move abroad
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Diary cartoon 31 Aug
© Weef


I arrive at the office bright and early to deal with an emergency. A tenant of ours is in London for the summer and the ceiling of her flat has collapsed in the middle of the night. Tragically a neighbour, a couple of storeys above, has died in the bath while the water was still running, resulting in extensive damage to the reception room of the flat below.

Luckily, our tenant has come to no harm so we help her to move into a hotel for the next couple of days. Needless to say, there is much work to do to sort out this catastrophe - so we postpone our regular Monday morning team meeting to organise quotes and repairs and aim for everything to be back to normal by Friday.


Delighted to have won sole agency on a new instruction within a prestigious development off the Kings Road. It’s going to be such fun showing this immaculate flat - a real luxury bachelor pad with the latest gizmos and technology, such as fingerprint recognition technology - so there’s no danger of leaving the keys back in the office.

Before my first viewing, I familiarise myself with all the mod cons to make sure I don’t turn the shower on when I want to open the curtains. Our marketing strategy works fast and by 3pm I’ve scheduled back-to-back viewings until 8pm - all for corporate clients and city bankers.


Back to earth again, I spend most of the day helping a client who is moving abroad. It all happened quicker than expected: her house sold in record time, leaving her no choice but to put everything into storage.

Moving house is stressful even in the best of circumstances but, in addition, there is a new job abroad, a divorce and impossibly tight deadlines. So I roll up my sleeves and set to work helping the removal men to keep spirits up. All in a day’s work.


I arrive to a wonderful delivery of fine French wine for the whole office, courtesy of a property owner - as a result of the recent completion of a three-bedroom sales instruction.

After that I go to a prestigious flat in Chelsea, having requested permission from the owners to show the place to prospective applicants. I turn up with my client to find the landlady prancing around in her underwear and the landlord still in bed.

So I quickly whisk my applicant away for a coffee and re-schedule the appointment. Not a good start to the morning as my applicant now has to wait to see the property again.


News comes through that we have completed on the sale of five flats in the same block in SW5, achieving a record-breaking price per sq ft.

Our MD cracks open the champagne to celebrate. The week has been exciting and rewarding, despite a shaky start with the collapse of that ceiling, but it’s not quite over yet - my colleagues and I still have another 10 viewings to do before 4pm tomorrow and my manager has just given me two new instructions, also for tomorrow. Who said the London property market was dead in summer?

Marcus O'Brien is a junior sales and lettings negotiator at Susan Metcalfe Residential's Chelsea office (020 7581 3349)

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