Diary of an estate agent

Our busy Fulham agent finds a tenant in flagrante, takes a hair-raising ride on a scooter and discovers it sometimes takes a cunning plot to win a sale
Legal cartoon

MONDAY


I wake up and rush to the office because last night I agreed two sales between 7pm and 9pm. As a result paperwork is mounting up. My diary is looking quite full with viewings and half of them are (very happily) second viewings, so fingers crossed they will be positive. One of the second viewings is at a house which is let to "sharers" and on the market at
£1 million.

I meet Mr and Mrs Applicant outside the property and we all go in. I shout "hello" just to check that no one is at home, and the coast seems to be clear. Mr Applicant leads the way up to the master bedroom, walks in — and quickly reverses out, looking very flushed. Turns out one of the tenants has been on holiday with her boyfriend and the other housemates haven't notified either of them that the viewing is taking place, resulting in them being caught in flagrante. The good news is that once the embarrassment disappears, Mr and Mrs Applicant make an offer and we agree terms.

TUESDAY


Long day ahead as we have a public relations drinks party, with journalists, at our headquarters in Hill Street this evening. I have a viewing 15 minutes before the party is due to start. Ivor, who runs the office, suggests he waits for me and gives me a lift on the back of his scooter. I accept, nervously as I have never been on a scooter before.

My day continues, chasing solicitors and speaking to anxious vendors who are expecting to exchange. The dreaded time has come and Ivor is waiting outside the property I have just finished showing, with spare helmet in hand. All I can say is, when I arrive at Hill Street I am speechless and very grateful to be handed a drink.

WEDNESDAY


Today, I hear for the fourth time I will be exchanging on a house in Musgrave Crescent. My colleagues sigh, as I keep saying exchange is imminent. This time, however, everyone is finally ready and we exchange early in the day to a charming couple who are downsizing from Chelsea. They kindly invite me to their house for a glass of champagne to celebrate, but sadly I cannot attend as I am having drinks with a hotelier in Mayfair (and networking hard).

THURSDAY


The day starts with: "How do you feel about trying out a scooter tomorrow?" I don't think I can have been listening properly, as somehow I agree — it must be seeing how quick and proactive the boys seem, rushing around on two wheels. In particular Ed, who joined the office only recently, has been great; I think it also helps that he can charm most of the women who come through the door.

He has just exchanged on a superb flat which had previously been on with two other agents. Ten minutes later, another colleague gets a phone call from a solicitor confirming that he has also exchanged on a property. I spend a large portion of the day on the phone chasing my sales but sadly there's no exchange for me today.

FRIDAY


I remember to bring in my trousers to try out the scooter at 3pm. The phones are manic as everybody wants to arrange viewings for tomorrow. I go out and do a couple of positive ones. I think the gods are on my side this afternoon as it starts to rain, and the boys agree it would be a bad time for me to try the scooter.

Later in the day I receive a call from one of my buyers who is upset by the survey report about the property she and her husband have made an offer on. They love the house but can't see how they can afford to buy it and make the necessary repairs. Luckily I have a wonderful client who is very understanding (and also knows the market). After many discussions they agree to split the cost of the repairs and move to exchange. A result.

Alexandra Mathew is a sales negotiator at the Fulham office of Strutt & Parker (020 7731 7100)

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