Diary of an estate agent

Our agents gets firm with a snooping seller and frees a buyer oblivious to the fact he's locked in
Diary of an estate agent cartoon

Monday


Following a strong wake-up coffee, it’s time to discuss the offers from a weekend of open houses and viewings. Clients are naturally keen for feedback and an offer is an even more exciting prospect.

This morning we are having discussions with a couple of clients who are proving to be a little difficult. One seller, who has received a slightly low offer, has to be convinced that he should counter-offer rather than take the first one that comes along.

Another seller who receives an offer at the asking price following a considerable number of viewings has now decided that he is under-selling and believes we should market his property at a much higher price... when will people learn that the agent knows best!

Tuesday


Tuesday starts with a meeting of a new vendor in one of Little Venice’s smartest coffee shops, Raoul’s, to sign paperwork, collect keys and discuss the marketing arrangements. We are interrupted by a frantic call from a colleague who has managed to lock himself inside a top floor flat with his client.

This requires a quick dash down the road to let him out… luckily the potential buyer is so overwhelmed by the fabulous views of the communal gardens in Maida Vale that he doesn’t notice there is a problem as we saunter out of the front door and onto the next viewing, oblivious to that fact that we could have been prisoners in someone else’s property.

Wednesday


The day is going swimmingly until a rather cross vendor comes into the office to complain about rude comments made by a potential purchaser. It transpires that the vendor regularly hides in a cupboard in order to listen to everything that a prospective buyer says.

Nobody really likes to hear that they have no taste and the only way to improve the property is to burn it down! I suggest that it may be better for all concerned if he stays away from the cupboard, and the house, during viewings.

Thursday


First valuation of the day and I find myself at the front door of a grand, imposing stucco house. I am greeted by a very pleasant young mother who whisks me around the lower floors of the house while happily describing all the numerous benefits along the way.

So far, so good. She then hands me over to her husband, who guides me through the top floors of the house. With the wife out of earshot, the tone changes and he spends the next 15 minutes trying to convince me that the house is falling down and practically worthless.

Confused is an understatement and by now I realise there are different agendas in this house. Not only have I entered a home, but I have now had a glimpse of some serious home problems! No matter what price I give, I will only please one person. This could be tricky...

Friday


Preparations for this weekend’s open houses are almost complete and I have some time to briefly review the week’s events.The vendor who increased his asking price on Monday has had a change of heart and wants to accept the offer...it seems the media coverage on realistic property pricing has influenced his thinking.

The seller who liked to play hide and seek in the cupboard has accepted the fact that it is not a good idea. Two other offers from the week’s viewings have been tendered (one from the unsuspecting imprisoned couple) which has ended the week on a positive. As I lock up the office, my mobile rings and I foolishly answer.

It appears that Mrs X has had her way, and we can look forward to marketing the grand stucco house. Let’s hope we don’t need to play marriage counsellor as well.

Tony Gambrill is area director at Chesterton Humberts in Little Venice (020 7286 4632; chestertonhumberts.com)

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