Diary of an estate agent

Our Sevenoaks agent kick-starts a chain, sells a mansion and gets multiple offers from London emigrés in search of places at Kent grammar schools
Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


Monday in our Sevenoaks office begins as Saturday finished - with me sitting with a committed buyer trying to work our way through a homebuyer's survey with less actual content than my lunchtime Shapers sandwich.

In a desperate attempt to avoid committing himself to any opinion, the surveyor has recommended timber, damp and structural reports. Very frustrating... but if we can sort it out we are very close to agreeing a sale that will kick-start a wobbling chain, and if we can get this one on the way it would be a promising start to the quarter.


We've just completed on a farm sale and are now selling a similar Tudor farm further south. I love to sit in when the farmer is available to show viewers round, as it always lifts my spirits listening to him. I appreciate the knowledge, integrity and wisdom which are a farmer's essential characteristics.

This part of West Kent is Darling Buds Of May country with oast houses and barns aplenty. When combined with an excellent grammar school system and a speedy commute to the City, it's a tempting mix. I've never regretted my move down from south-west London a decade ago.


It's a good day. A colleague has exchanged on a big sale on Sevenoaks's most exclusive estate. The last time I visited a property like this I had to buy a ticket. It's truly palatial, with media rooms, saunas, a fantastic wine cellar and endless reception rooms. Acres of garden and a garage block complete the package. We're delighted with the sale. Exchanges count in this business, not just an agreed sale - the year is looking up. We order a huge pile of takeaway pizzas to celebrate.


We've had two major house-price indices reports this week. One was up for last month, one was down for last month. Not surprisingly people tend to favour the result that supports their own negotiating stance. In the afternoon I value a slightly dilapidated country pub. Its charm is huge and I smell a deal. Trouble is, the landlord isn't selling - yet.


We complete on the archetypal Sevenoaks property, a detached family home a short walk from the station. Nine families had offered on the property in only six days. The seller is delighted.

The new owners, a lovely couple from London, are about to become Sevenoaks's newest residents attracted by the good commute, the grammar system and a host of first-class schools in West Kent, a lovely place to live. As long as they keep coming here we'll be happy to help them settle in.

Mark Sparrow is an associate at Chesterton Humberts, Sevenoaks (01732 741212); chestertonhumberts.com.

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