Diary of an estate agent

Clients brighten up January with a big sale; an old gin factory brings in some fizz, and it's open house in Primrose Hill for one busy Camden agent
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur


I decide it is time to get our team on the phones - to clients and contacts. This cold January morning is made a lot brighter when this results in an invitation to do a valuation at a magnificent five-storey Georgian town house in Albert Street.

As I look round this colourfully decorated house I can think of at least five potential buyers already. Back to the office just in time to be told that I have another two valuations booked in for this afternoon. Let’s hope this is a sign of positive things to come.


We took a good number of yet-to-be- completed sales transactions over into this year from last year and the majority of these should complete in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, one sale fell through this morning as the buyer has suddenly been posted overseas for work. It’s always disappointing when something you have been working on for months ends this way but sometimes there is little we can do.


I’ve never been a fan of Wednesdays and this one is no exception. I get a call from a client in Primrose Hill cancelling an appointment for this morning. This follows a pattern with this gentleman. Tomorrow he will be back on the phone to berate me for not getting enough viewings only to cancel again if I rearrange.

A great bachelor pad overlooking Regent’s Park has recently come back on to the market having been let for the last year. The tenant is understandably not keen for us to find a buyer and is not making it easy to show potential buyers around.
Sometimes things can get very complicated in this business.


Thankfully Thursday is looking like a better day. We finally exchange contracts on two properties: a one-bedroom basement flat in Primrose Hill that has, very surprisingly, taken 72 weeks and approximately 50 hours of work to sell, then a five-bedroom semi-detached villa in Camden Square that completed in only two weeks.

This afternoon I am valuing a modern canalside apartment with its own balcony and - gold dust - its own parking space. The original building was part of the Gilbey’s Gin factory and so I plan to call Melanie, our historian, to see if we can find out a bit more about it as it might make a nice press story.

The vendor is something of a history buff himself and we chat for a while about the building and its surroundings. Alas, my O-level history is no use whatsoever.


We have two open houses this weekend so we go through the finishing touches, making sure everything is looking clean and tidy. We are expecting about 30 people at the first house in Primrose Hill and nearly as many at the flat
in Regent’s Park so we’ll need to have our wits about us and be thoroughly prepared.

As the forecast is for an icy weekend I have suggested to the vendors that they up their thermostats. I also try to suggest that perhaps they would like to do some sales shopping while the viewings take place. Over-enthusiastic vendors can sometimes do more harm than good.

I’m confident we’ll get some good offers tomorrow so then it’s home to log on to eBay to try to sell the drum kit I bought the kids for Christmas — before the neighbours form a lynch mob.

Matt Poore is an associate director at Chesterton Humberts in Camden (020 7267 2053)

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