Diary of an estate agent

A 96-year-old heading to the Costas for some sun, an old boyfriend lurking in a flat, and some DIY keep one Kennington agent busy
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur


I set off to pick up a client who was taking me to value the house of one of their friends. Ten minutes after knocking at the door of the property to be valued, an elderly gentleman opened up. He apologised profusely for taking so long to come to the door and said that his wife, at the grand old age of 86, was out at work. Therefore, he said, he would be showing us around.

He explained that the reason they were leaving was because, at 96, he had finally retired and they were looking to move to Spain to enjoy the sun. That put a smile on my face, thinking about retiring to Spain... hopefully before I get to 96!


At 6ft, 6ins tall, I am hard to miss; but while out valuing one tiny Georgian property, as I was chatting away to the client, I managed to walk at full speed into a door frame four inches shorter than myself. After a moment or two of excruciating pain I carried on with the valuation, slightly dazed and confused.

I returned to the office and took an aspirin - just in time to find out that we had been given the instruction on a stunning, 3,000sq ft Victorian house with a huge, south-facing garden. This is a house that I would absolutely love to live in. Half an hour later, I had two viewings booked in and I had a very, very good feeling about the situation - I was sure they were going to love it.


Having worked in the same office for eight years, I am used to properties reappearing on our books. A woman had lovingly restored a period conversion to its full glory as an investment and, after a very brief stint on the market at the start of 2007, decided that she liked the flat so much she couldn’t let it go. But the time has come for her to move on, so she returned to us for a valuation. The flat was in a fantastic condition and it was lovely to see how she had turned it from a project into a home.


A woman called to arrange a second viewing for this afternoon on an apartment she fell in love with last week. I was sure that she was already considering making an offer, so with a spring in my step I went to meet her at the property. However, the viewing was abruptly cut short when she looked at a framed photograph displayed on the mantelpiece - and realised that the man smiling back at her from the picture was her ex-boyfriend, with his new family. A swift exit was made.

I returned to the office to find that we had been given the instruction on a property being put on the market by a local surveyor. I have worked with him on numerous occasions in the past but it was a great compliment to know that he has chosen us as the sole agent.


Friday came around quickly again. I popped out to value a top-floor Victorian conversion flat. The place was in great condition except for the bathroom light. I told the vendor, who fluttered her eyelashes and produced a brand-new pull cord that needed to be installed, but because she is a mere 5ft, she couldn’t reach to sort it out.

Finally, an occasion when my height had its benefits! I got on with the DIY and, one electric shock later, we had a new instruction, a working bathroom light and a very jittery estate agent! I adjourned to the pub...
Justin Bhoday is sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Kennington office (020 7582 7773).

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