Diary of an estate agent

It's all sex and drama for our Clapham agent as she bumps into a naked resident, interrupts a ménage à trois, rips her dress and sets off a fire alarm
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


There’s a lot going on this week, which is good... but it’s hard to hold a team meeting when everyone is so busy. When I listen to my voicemails there’s a request to see a lovely flat we took on last week, so I call the vendor to arrange a viewing and head off to show the potential buyers around.

The vendor said she’d be out, so, with a cursory press of the doorbell, I let us in the front door, just as the bathroom door opposite opens to reveal the vendor’s boyfriend - completely and resplendently naked. Everyone is terribly British about the whole thing, with red faces and apologies all round: at least the prospective buyers will remember the property.


I have a valuation first thing today on a property whose vendor works night shifts. She is rather bleary-eyed as it is obviously her “night time”, so I try to be as quick as possible. As she directs me out she says: “Just press the red button” - quite standard in these communal halls. In my haste I find a red button and push it, and when nothing happened I push it harder. Suddenly there’s a deafening siren, and the vendor and several neighbours crash into the hallway. The button I’ve hit is the fire alarm and since no one has instructions on how to cancel it, the firemen are on their way. Terrified of wreaking more havoc, I make a swift exit.


This morning I’m off to a viewing of a great flat that is currently let to three tenants who have been very nice about buyers looking around. I’m under the impression that no one’s home but as we reach the third bedroom I open the door to see all three flatmates in bed together. Very embarrassed, my buyer and I rush out of the room - and he decides he’s seen enough.

However, my valuation this afternoon beats the shock levels of this morning. I’m in a stunning house in Clapham and enthusing about the vendor’s incredibly large wardrobe, but as it is not full I take a breath to gush that there is room for even more clothes... and she cuts me off mid-babble to explain that the space is there because her husband has just left her. Ooops.


It’s clearly a week of humiliation. A very attractive buyer and I pull up outside a flat for a second viewing, but as I get out of the car my dress tears. And not just a little rip but a whopping great rent all the way up the back. There is no way I can hide it but I can’t cancel the viewing. Mortified, I explain why he should go up the stairs first, but he kindly informs me: “Don’t worry, I’m gay.” This, I must admit, does make me feel just a little better.


We’re arranging the completion on a stunning flat this week. A fluffy carpeted, white wallpapered, silk-curtained palace which I wouldn’t mind owning myself. It has been empty during viewings but this morning my negotiator returns from the buyers’ “measure up” visit stony-faced. Since it was last viewed, the flat has been let to a tenant with several cats. When my negotiator opened the door he was engulfed by the most terrible smell as three cats bolted out.

The walls were scratched, the carpets were soaked with feline faeces and urine and there were tumbleweeds of cat fur swirling about. Everyone fled in horror and though I plead with the buyer, he makes the decision that his cat allergy is just too severe and he pulls out of the sale. A complete cat-astrophe.

Katherine Wells is a sales manager at the Clapham office of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (020 8675 5436).

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