Diary of an estate agent

Our Battersea agent has a brief encounter in a traffic jam, breaks the bad news on price to a selling couple and is locked out by a client
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)


As I step into the office on Monday morning, the phone is already ringing with calls from buyers who were out viewing properties with us on Saturday. A good start to the day, but it's not until around 10.30am that I can finally sit down and read my emails with coffee.

Heading out to my afternoon valuations, I am confronted by the appalling traffic on Queenstown Road. As I sit motionless, I notice a lady in the car next to me getting similarly frustrated. She gets her phone out, punching in the numbers angrily. All of a sudden, my phone rings and it is the owner of the house I am going to value. She is explaining how she is caught in traffic on Queenstown Road and might be late to meet me.

The penny drops and I tell her to look to her left and wave. At least we both arrive at the house at the same time and have a good chuckle about the whole thing. The day ends with three offers on the two viewings from Saturday — a great start to the week.


I have a surprise email waiting when I get in this morning from a lady who called me out to value her property in March, saying that she would like me to come back to have a look at the house now that the redecorating is complete.

It's a gorgeous three-bedroom house on Tennyson Street, SW8, a great property to be instructed on. Since March, I have called her about 10 times without response and now this. Persistence really does pay off. By afternoon I am off to visit a large new development of nine stylish new build flats set back on Trinity Crescent. The Irish developer gives me a guided tour and I am bowled over by the quality of each apartment.

I am awaiting confirmation to go ahead, but it is looking good on winning the instruction as he seems persuaded by Chesterton Humberts' unique marketing and PR services.


The day starts with a meeting at 8.40am to discuss how the week is going. I'm pleased to say that I am not shouting at the staff but praising them as their hard work has paid off and we have had a good run this month. I take on coffee duties to show my appreciation.

In the afternoon I value an interesting property where the sellers have spent many years and large amounts of money developing the house. I am left to tell them the uncomfortable news that their house is actually not worth as much as they were hoping in the current climate and that, due to its size and location, the asking value will always be limited. Fortunately, they are a lovely couple and appreciate my honesty, meaning we win the instruction.


My busiest day so far this year with five valuations, a meeting with Chesterton Humberts' head of residential to discuss marketing strategy and 15 viewings. My afternoon appraisals come quickly and I am off to visit a split level period maisonette in the heart of Battersea, an 8th floor flat in a prestigious riverside development and a run-down singlefronted Victorian house in need of modernisation. All this activity is a positive sign that owners are selling over September. August has traditionally been quiet, but the autumn market seems set to be fairly strong.


Friday is always a manic day with people calling in to arrange viewings for the weekend and constant vendor updates on viewing levels. We have a property for sale that is a challenge because the tenants never let us in, which is understandably frustrating for the vendor. This afternoon I make a second visit to the house to sit down with the tenants and work out an acceptable schedule of viewing times. After banging away on the door until they let me in, we sit down to a "meeting" which takes over an hour. All I end up with is one night a week for one hour for viewings, but it's better than the current situation.

Kevin Hailey is associate director at Chesterton Humberts in Battersea (020 7924 6191).

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