© Merrily Harpur
Monday morning, and there is a real buzz about the place and plenty of purchasers on our books showing real enthusiasm to buy. Vendors and potential vendors remain uncertain but for different reasons to last year. Back then, they were worried that they would not sell, whereas now they think they will sell but have nowhere to go.
We are now comfortably ahead of where we were this time last year, making us all feel happier. To add to my enthusiasm, we have a new team member. He replaces my former No 2, who has been promoted to one of our central London offices.
An unusual start to the day and a first for me. I arrive at a house and ring the doorbell but the wife has no idea of my appointment. I call the husband on his mobile to discover he is in Spain this is also a surprise to her. I leave them to sort this one out.
It is heartening to see my diary for the day is so much busier, with both pitches and viewings a real indication of movement in the country-house market.
Delicate negotiations continue on a substantial house in the most wonderful setting among hills and woodland overlooking a valley. My client would like to sell and the purchaser would like to buy; however, he is a high-profile footballer and the transfer window is still open! Quite understandably, no commitment can be made until there is certainty as to the location of where he will be playing the beautiful game.
I am interested to hear the figures from my partner, a development surveyor, who reports a real turnaround. He feels that business transactions have quadrupled on the levels of a year ago, and that there are signs of a real appetite among developers to start buying land again.
With great excitement we are preparing an informal tender for a delightful, timber-framed farmhouse; although, it might fall down if one sneezed hard enough. We have already generated 73 viewings and a number of people have indicated their wish to buy. A vendor's survey has already been undertaken so that offers can be made subject to contract only. The outcome is going to be fascinating.
The logjam of clients wanting to sell seems to be building up. With the lack of quality houses to buy, they won't commit to sell. If everyone did something at the same time we would all be okay again.
This is the day when growing pressure through the week for an exchange of contracts reaches its peak and I decide to stay in the office to handle events. Lawyers and banks are increasingly going over every minor detail umpteen times before contracts are ready and funds are available, and this leads to frustration among both purchasers and vendors.
At the moment, it is the way of the world. But a house move is so personal and fraught with emotion that things are often in danger of boiling over. On top of all this, I am getting increasing numbers of calls from potential purchasers in the hope of something coming on to the market for them that they will be able to view at the weekend.
By the end of the day we have two sets of happy vendors and purchasers with successful completions, keys handed over and champagne all round. One lot of contracts was exchanged withwhoops of joy from both parties, while another is all signed ready for exchange on Monday.
Antony Bromley Martin is head of Strutt & Parker's Chelmsford office (01245 254600)