Diary of an estate agent

A stunning Georgian rectory, cash buyers, greedy sellers and computer glitches keep our agent busy in the week of the election
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


Driving into the office, I’m thinking about the week ahead. It’s May, we are on the verge of electing a new government and with the ash hopefully settling over some other place, we are hoping for good viewing levels.

Last week, we conducted our first viewing of a very smart five-bedroom family home in The Park, one of St Albans’ prime addresses. This is a private sale with no advertising to be carried out; a real test for an agent in matching people to property. Later this week, we launch a stunning Georgian Rectory in 200 acres — an exciting prospect, and we have our Open House Day on Saturday.


After the office meeting I am back at my desk for the first call of the day — it is from the viewer of The Park; yes they are interested, have cash funds and offer at five per cent below the guide price, and we win the instruction to sell a good semi-detached house in St Albans with seven bedrooms.

We sold the adjoining house in May 2008 for £930,000, while the guide price for the new instruction will be £1.15 million; certainly it is in better condition than its neighbour, but it’s an interesting reflection on prices.


The vendor at The Park has instructed me to reject the offer and wonders now if he would even accept a bid at the guide price; this is the dilemma with a private sale, the market has not been tested in full and there is less likelihood of competitive bidding. Gearing up for the Open House Day, the balloons arrive. But do we have enough properties to make the day a success?


It’s launch day for our Old Rectory with five viewings already booked in quick succession. Clients are pleased, as am I, particularly as we know them all and there are some key players. Disappointed though that one party I had in mind is stuck in Florida and not able to get back.

The buyer for The Park comes back with his best and final offer at the guide price and moves the proposed completion date to suit the vendors. Called my client immediately, but he now wonders if he is getting enough. We agree to sleep on it, but I am going to go through my comparables again.


Arrive in the office to find that our server is down. For a Luddite like me, it is remarkable how frustrating this is; not having any telephone numbers because they are all locked into the system. Thankfully, the ever-patient Nicola, my PA, office manager and techy brain, arrives and restores order. The Open House Day picks up steam, the rota is organised for manning the properties and balloons distributed. More viewings for the Old Rectory, and then my colleague Rozanne has a long-awaited success as her client exchanges. Whoops of joy as this falls within the year end.

I call my client at The Park, expecting the worst, but he is anxious about the outcome of the election following Mr Clegg’s debate success, and with my comparables table to ponder on, too, he decides to accept the offer.


We meet at 9am, plan the day and move off to the various houses. By 10am I am blowing up balloons to hang on our signboard. Our client offers coffee but there’s no time as viewers start arriving. A stream becomes a flood and soon I can’t work out which child belongs to which parents. But everyone seems to be getting on, and some move off to other properties.

By 2pm I am back at the office with a load of paperwork to do before the year end and our auditors appear to be getting ever more demanding. Looking forward to a quiet dinner with Mrs Rimell tonight.

Mark Rimell is a partner at Strutt & Parker in St Albans (01727 840285).

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