© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
Property never seems to lose its popularity. The phones have been ringing off the hook and strangely the house to attract most attention is a traditional Wealden timber-framed home near Canterbury, which has been for sale for over a year but gets three offers in a day. Persistence pays and a sale in excess of the guide price looks likely. I spend the afternoon in our Chichester office, talking budgets and forecasts.
The day starts with a near exchange on an enchanting Arts and Crafts cottage. But before that can happen there are some small details to overcome. Inadvisedly I attempt to resolve these in a hurried mobile phone call. With echoes on the phone, and a hill threatening to cut us off, the quality of the conversation is poor and frustrating.
I spend Wednesday (and often Thursday) each week in our Sevenoaks office - a very different market to our Canterbury site. In this popular commuter town everyone wants to live within walking distance of the station, and houses in this area always go to competitive bidding.
But it is not all properties in the town - we have some superb country homes for sale, too, my favourite being an unspoiled rectory in the heart of a village high on the Downs, surrounded by its own land and approached via a winding drive. It is to die for - but under offer and beyond my budget.
I have a busy day planned in London to discuss some new marketing initiatives. It is always great fun working out novel ways to attract house sellers to consider us. We try to make things fun, while keeping a level head at the same time - a tricky balance. Back to Canterbury via the high-speed railway. For years, a journey to London has involved being slowly shaken almost to death by the rattling old trains, so the new ones are paradise. I pass the time working on a brochure for a charming mini estate with a fabulous house, barn and cottage.
The week ends well - four exchanges - two in Sevenoaks and two in Canterbury. As the school holidays approach we must get the remainder of our under-offer houses exchanged. The pressure grows as not only the clients, but also the lawyers handling the deals, go on holiday.
The final note of the week combines sporting prowess with an exchange. We have been waiting anxiously for an exchange of contracts on a farmhouse when the lawyer announces that he is out for the afternoon, playing golf, as it turns out. After some substantial pleading from us he takes the file with him, and exchanges on the third tee. I gather he finished with a slightly lower handicap, so it's a good result all round.
Edward Church is head of agency in Kent for Strutt & Parker (01227 473720)