Diary of an estate agent

Our agent rescues a stranded couple, gropes his way around a house with no electricity and saves a buyer with his foot stuck through a ceiling
Diary of an estate agent
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


I sit down with a coffee first thing and catch up with the team after a busy weekend of viewings. One very keen buyer was on a second viewing, hoping to put an offer on a house which was empty.

He wanted to spruce up the place, including extending into the loft. While having a peek up there he lost his balance and the next thing we knew he had fallen through the loft, and was hanging out of the ceiling. We told the seller, who was not amused.

After a few phone calls the viewer politely agreed to pay for the damage. On the upside, a one-bedroom period first-floor flat received multiple offers which went to sealed bids and, thanks to the Bank of Mum and Dad, now has a delighted first-time owner.


I start the day by meeting a solicitor about a probate sale. The owner moved into the property in the Fifties and nothing has been done to the house since. It's sad dealing with probate cases and it breaks my heart to see the home full of her belongings.

I arrive back at the office only to be called out on a last-minute valuation. As I approach the house I get a sense of excitement - it's an incredible, fourstorey Victorian home.

My excitement vanishes as I enter the property. The owner has started a renovation project but barely halfway through, has thrown in the towel and decided to sell. Consequently there is no electricity and I have to navigate my way around by the faint blue light from my mobile phone.


A sale is expected to complete today with a lovely couple who are just a few weeks away from becoming first-time parents. All packed up and excitedly following their removal van to their new family home, I receive a call from their solicitor to tell me that their money has not been transferred to the vendor. I call the couple and explain that they cannot have the keys until the money has been received.

Soon my whole team is on the case. I call the bank and manage to confirm that the money has left the buyers' account and everyone's details are correct, but somehow the money has been lost in financial cyberspace. We arrange a hotel for the couple and a storage facility for all of their belongings while praying that the money will soon appear. Moving can be stressful but this takes the biscuit.


First thing this morning I am frantically calling the solicitor to try to fix the situation for our parents-to-be. He tells me that the money has been received. Hallelujah! I call them with the happy news and we arrange for their furniture to be taken to their new home, where I meet them.

Crisis over, I call the potential buyer who fell through the ceiling to see how the repair work is coming along - and to see whether he is interested in a more successful third viewing. The answer is no.


In our post today I get a lovely surprise. Last year a retired couple inspired by the programme A Place In The Sun decided that, as their kids had left home, it was time for them to start having fun again. So they put their family house on the market with the intention of moving to France.

A spell of bad luck resulted in two sales falling through but nine months later, a suitable family bought their house and the plans to move to France were reinstated. They promised to keep in touch.

True to their word they have posted me some pictures of their rural retreat and an open invitation to visit. After the week that we have had, I might just take them up on that.

Simon Smith is sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward's branch in Brockley, south London (020 8469 0202; kfh.co.uk)

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