Diary of an estate agent

Our busy Canterbury agent falls for a fabulous new-build home, sings the praises of a perfect seller and discovers a kitchen to die for
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Diary of an estate agent
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


Plenty to look at this week but there is still some reluctance on behalf of vendors to commit to selling. We have been as busy as I can remember in the past 20 years at this time of year, despite the recession and a looming election.

The morning started well with a handful of would-be buyers calling the office to register their offers/interest after the weekend viewings. The highlight is a house that has been on the market for at least a year with other agents and failed to sell. We were instructed at a marginally reduced guide price. Four viewings this weekend brought three offers and after a few fraught calls we end up agreeing the sale at a price above the guide price. Result!

A long-standing prospective client called into the office. Did they finally give me their instructions? Sadly, not. But she did thank me for my input into a choral event over the weekend to raise money for charity.


Is winter over? The sun is shining and my car tells me that it is 13 degrees Celsius outside as I speed off to the coast to see a wonderful modern glass house with fabulous sea views.

I sit in the window with sun flooding in, enjoying the view and having a sensible conversation with the owners who designed and built the house. This is the quality of build that all house builders should aspire to creative design and individuality. Why is this country so full of pastiche architecture that will not stand the test of time?

I am warming to this subject. We are beginning to see the period houses of the future! This house will get the phone ringing.


Today I meet a wonderful retired antique collector. His house is immaculate. Not a speck of dust or chipped paint in sight. This is text-book presentation on how to show a house for sale. If only other sellers would realise the importance of good presentation. And it is a joy to listen to this client tell me about his collection of antique silver.


The sun is still shining and we are promised a good weekend. There seems a long way to go between now and then. I burned the midnight oil last night putting together a brochure for a property we are due to market in the next month. This is a rare house with masses of history, and the brochure needs careful attention.

It is local newspaper day today and the phones are already busy as we featured a farmhouse for modernisation. This is likely to generate considerable interest, not least for the fact that a model railway occupies the barn, but sadly it is not in the sale. The family has spent considerable time in clearing out their memorabilia, and it is sad to see the end of an era, but every house moves on with a new owner and a new lease of life. Everything can go except the weather vane on the barn it’s a family heirloom!


I’m glad it’s Friday but I would like another day this week. This morning I visit a property for the fourth time in as many years. I have been advising the owners on how best to maximise their investment, a lovely stone and timber barn in a sunny and welcoming garden. The last time I visited I politely suggested a small reorganisation of the rooms to make the building more family-friendly. They took me at my word and have demolished walls and created a fabulous new kitchen, the envy of every budding cook. Great! Now it’s down to me to achieve a price that reflects their investment no pressure there then.

I return to a busy office with lots of weekend appointments. The sun is still shining and my vegetable garden beckons for its spring makeover it will probably rain tomorrow.

Simon Backhouse is a partner in Strutt & Parker’s Canterbury office (01227 451123)

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