Diary of an estate agent

A client abandons her Jimmy Choos in a mousetrap, a home - at nearly £1 million - sells in a day and our agent stages his own lock-in
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


I started my week by meeting up with a glamorous applicant who was looking to buy a £10m house on one of South Kensington's most expensive streets. She arrived dripping with jewellery, flaunting designer labels and tottering around in four-inch heels. I took her to view a property that was not yet on the open market, and we went down to see the basement.

As she concentrated hard on making her way down the dark stairwell, she failed to notice the sticky mousetraps at the bottom and stepped firmly on them, leaving her with both feet stuck to the traps. As she grimaced and tried to shake them off her Jimmy Choos, she gradually became more and more dishevelled. Eventually she gave up, flustered and short of breath, and stepped out of her high heels a little miffed. The sight of the lone shoes at the bottom of the stairs was reminiscent of an episode of Tales Of The Unexpected... Needless to say, we promptly left the basement.


When I got into the office this morning I found out that we had won a great new instruction on a property just off Queen's Gate. By lunchtime we had already lined up five viewings. When I got back to the office later in the afternoon, after a meeting trying to negotiate a completion date for an imminent exchange, there were four offers on the Queen's Gate property. Two were under the asking price, two were over, and all were cash buyers.

I spoke to the vendor and we agreed to finalise bids by the end of the day. He was a very happy customer and was amazed at how busy we were! The bids came in and we agreed the sale - £910,000 as opposed to the original £895,000 asking price - making it conditional on exchange taking place within four days to ensure the buyer was serious. It was just further proof that good properties are flying off the books at the moment, as long as the vendor prices it right.


Today we had an open viewing of a building site in South Kensington. The site was going to sealed bids in three days and the turnout was better than expected. At the end of the day after the last visitors had left I had to lock up.

The place was empty and I bolted and padlocked the building from the outside and went off home. Half an hour later I received a distress call from the office. Three people had been checking out the basement and had been locked in. I headed back towards the site, giving one of the visitors a call on the way to let them know they would soon be rescued.

My attempt at humour, when I told them that one of them had to make me an offer before I would let them out, did not go down as well as I'd expected.


We have been retained to find a property for a well-known man. He is very specific about the type of place he wants and we do not have much leeway. Today we were researching what we could find and after some lateral thinking, we managed to show him an apartment that was not yet on the market.

His busy schedule meant there was no quick decision from him. But he said he was incredibly impressed with our service so I hope we will secure a deal.


Today everyone in the office was nervous. This wasn't, as I first assumed, because my rather large dog, Oscar, had joined us , but because the building site buyer was due to exchange.

The people who had been rescued from the basement had been outbid by someone who came forward and who was able to do an "attended exchange" (where their solicitor turned up in person to exchange contracts and speed up the deal).

A colleague's birthday was a welcome distraction at lunchtime, and as the cake was brought out and everybody sang, the phone rang and the solicitors confirmed the exchange of the building site. Perfect.

Mark Wyatt works in sales at Farleys in South Kensington (020 7589 1234; www.farleysres.com)

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