Diary of an estate agent

In world-famous, millionaires' Mayfair our agent is used to handling ruthless bidding wars, huge egos and champagne celebrations
Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


In the world-famous postcode of Mayfair, the day begins with allocation of hot buyer enquiries to the team. We are managing a property asset register worth in excess of £150 million and currently have clients and buyers on four continents. Mid-morning I head off to advise on a high-value portfolio of Mayfair properties owned by a heavyweight Middle Eastern investor looking for disposal advice.

After some initial research I estimate a value range for the entire portfolio of about £14million. However, I am more than pleasantly surprised as one of the properties, which overlooks Grosvenor Square, is much larger and more luxurious than I had expected. This amazing lateral apartment pushes the core portfolio value to £16 million. Some of the properties we see on a day-to-day basis are truly astonishing.


Today we are mainly busy with phone calls and client meetings involving a hedge fund, a syndicate of Indian buyers and a potential deal with a well-known A-list Hollywood film director. On one of our sales, I have an opportunistic vendor wishing to increase his price by £400,000 just before exchange on a residential development property close to the Hilton, Park Lane.

Vendors often get a little demanding just before a sale. The buyer's solicitor is on the phone expecting an explanation and things are getting a bit heated. After a number of emotional calls to the vendor and buyer, we finally agree on a revised price and do the deal for an extra £300,000 at just over £3 million.


Walked into a highly charged office situation this morning with two of our top deal makers involved in a bidding war on the same property valued at about £5 million. I step in to organise an orderly sealed bids process in the best interests of our client. Both bidding parties are multimillionaire entities with egos the size of Jupiter and qualified banking and legal relationships to match. The deadline is set for best and final bids to be submitted to me for consideration and presentation to our client by 2pm tomorrow. The bidders are left to cool off and contemplate their offers.


Today we are involved in a contract race with a rival firm for a high-value prime property on Mount Street, which of course we intend to win. We do have a challenge on our hands as our buyers are in Italy and West Africa, and their lawyer is in London. After a multitude of phone calls, we get a full legal pack to the lawyers within 90 minutes and agree to set up a signing meeting with the buyers and their London lawyer in Monaco.

After this manic rush, I realise it's time for the sealed bids deadline from Wednesday. The mood is tense as the competing consultants wait for their respective bids to be agreed or rejected. Both bids have statements from legal advisers confirming their ability to exchange within 48 hours, and impressive investment banking credentials. However, one of the bidders submits a knockout offer of £500,000 over the asking price which, after discussion with the vendor, we rapidly accept.


A busy day ahead with the contract race going well, scheduled for exchange this afternoon. We have also landed more than £18 million-worth of saleable instructions this week. Late morning, I attend a meeting to advise a wellknown sovereign wealth fund looking to acquire prime property. The meeting goes well. After lunch the contract race is our focus, and we exchange just after 3.30pm. We are thrilled - even more so when the vendor couriers over some bottles of champagne for the team. Just another "normal" week in the life of a Mayfair property firm.

Mohamed Nurmohamed is director at Chesterton Humberts in Mayfair (chestertonhumberts.com; 020 7629 4513).

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