After a busy weekend away with my family I arrive back at the office to catch up on an equally manic weekend diary and get in touch with new buyers. Offers start being phoned in at about 8.30am on one particular house, which in this business is a sure sign of an imminent deal.
I successfully put that house to bed before lunch, and head off in the afternoon to pitch at a neighbouring house, confident we can do an equally good job should they decide the time is right. A great start to the week.
The day starts with a little hand holding for a delightful and slightly fragile client who we are helping to move for the first time in 40 years. Today’s advice includes choosing an electric range for her new cottage and helping to sort through a number of her pictures to see if there is anything that the buyers might like included. Such little extras make our job unique. This client’s baking is exceptional and so, a slice of fresh ginger cake and a cup of tea later, I set off to value a mink farm with development opportunities. Never a dull moment.
An early sales meeting sets the day up well, with all figures crunched and forecasts made by 9am. I check my emails and I am delighted to find a lovely message from a client who completed at the end of last week. Having at last found his desk computer under piles of clothes in a packing case, he has found the time to send a quick mail confirming his instructions for his lawyer to pay our two per cent fee. “Worth every penny,” he says, so I reply thanking them and wishing them well, while also asking permission to use the quote for marketing.
We receive some terrible news from a sweet lady who recently bought a tired but idyllic cottage in what we had considered was a truly tranquil location. Having bought the cottage as a country retreat where her three cats and dog will be safe at the weekends when she comes down from London, she calls me to let me know that one of the cats has been run over by the postman. What a sad start when you are looking forward to a new life. Hopefully the plans for the house itself will help her get over it quickly.
A revisit to a lovely country house in the afternoon makes a refreshing project for our whole office. After another agent’s failure to produce a buyer in the previous year, we are being asked to advise on this complicated package of arable land, equestrian facilities and fishing, centred around a stunning 16th-century farmhouse.
I go along with one of our rural team allowing the client to see more of what we, as a firm, can offer. It always interests me to pitch for business with them as their knowledge is so different to ours. We secure the instruction with two viewings booked.
A busy morning with a viewing tour of three good houses from just north of Newbury, into Hampshire and finishing 10 miles north of Salisbury. However, after talking to the potential buyer, it turns out that something we valued a week ago might suit better. I make a quick call to the owner of this particular house and he gives the nod to show it this afternoon.
The viewing goes well and the buyers call with an offer half an hour later on their way back to London. I’m sure we will tie it up over the weekend, which will be a great start to next week.
The afternoon is spent chasing the final details on a couple of important exchanges, including the booking of a courier for an amended contract which needs to get from the solicitor to his client, the buyer, and back again. After 20 years in the business, my motto remains: "Any day that something doesn’t exchange is a day that it could fall through."
Both parties are thrilled to be able to relax for the weekend and my client can happily get ready for his impending holiday tomorrow. He arrives in the office this afternoon with a cold bottle of champagne. On to another busy week.
Lucy Winfield is head of sales at Strutt & Parker's Newbury office (01635 521707)