Diary of an estate agent

Our agent in Barnes gets on the wrong side of a falling ceiling, solves the mystery of a dead squirrel and finds vintage porn in the basement
Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


Monday morning was an interesting start to the week. My colleague reported on an open house that had been held over the weekend on an unmodernised three-bedroom house with great potential in Barnes village. When he arrived, he was happy to see several eager buyers waiting outside but looking a little nervous of venturing in.

The door was open and the owner was inside. Unfortunately, she had just trampled dog poo through the house and it smelt very uninviting. After a rapid clear-up and a thorough blast with the air freshener, the buyers ventured in. The smell of the air freshener didn't put people off - we have now received two promising offers on the property.


Tuesday was a busy day with some of the sales team on a training course, so we had a lot of work to do. The apartments above our office were being revamped and there was a lot of noise going on.

Suddenly I heard an almighty cracking above my head, and then one of our ceiling tiles promptly came crashing down on top of me. It turned out that one of the pipes upstairs was leaking from the renovation work and had soaked our tiles, which had crumbled. I went home with a headache and sent the renovators my dry-cleaning bill. It's not just the clients who cause drama in our office.


Today I was working on lettings. We had instructions to let two great flats near Hammersmith Bridge. Halfway through the day I took a call from one of our tenants, who was very distressed.

Having just returned home late from a business trip the previous night they had found blood all over the carpet. They called the police immediately, who were just as confused, until they discovered the victim - a dead squirrel that had somehow got into the property and fallen down the chimney. It was then over to our property management team, who got a cleaner in. All was okay, except for the squirrel.


Out on my morning coffee break today I bumped into a past client. We sold him a wonderful Regency-style villa on Castelnau around a month ago and still keep in touch. We got chatting and he told me about a recent discovery he made in the basement of his new home. While moving around some of his own belongings he had found a large and rather mouldy stash of pornographic material dating back some 20 years tucked into a corner of the room. The new owner was shocked but we laughed it off together.

Back at the office, I told the team, who had no doubts in suspecting the previous owner. We decided not to remind him of what he had left behind.


We completed on a lovely mansion flat close to Hammersmith Bridge last week. The new owner popped in and told us he had had a few transport issues when moving in, with Hammersmith Bridge being closed all week for repairs.

He paused, grimaced and then explained that he had had to divert his removal truck through Chiswick via Mortlake, and got to his new home in the early hours of the morning. We knew that with 20 viewings coming up over the weekend we would have to plan travel arrangements very well.

Come close of play, we all decided to head down to the pub and celebrate the promotion of one of the members of our team. Another day in the life of a week in Barnes.

Christopher Carney is associate director at Chesterton Humberts in Barnes (020 8748 8833; www.chestertonhumberts.com)

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