© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
After a weekend driving everywhere, going to a charity cricket match and pretending to watch the girlfriend at an event in Gloucestershire, it’s a relief to get back to the office. The Monday morning meeting is positive but there are still fears about an uncertain market in certain locations.
I meet a nice couple with the perfect sell - a cracking house in a good spot. The meeting goes well and I draft a report to them as soon as I return to the office. A really good instruction which I have been working on with Michael Fiddes, head of agency for our company and based in London, is coming to the market next week, and I revisit the house to walk the boundaries, double-check my particulars and plan the route when conducting the viewings. I also take along Lizzie, who is going to assist with the sale. She has just joined our department, having qualified as a chartered surveyor.
I have an appointment with some previous clients in Norwich - we sold their house about five years ago. My predecessor, Antony Bromley-Martin, did a good job for them and I am optimistic about being instructed at some point on this house. We have a good meeting and I meet Otis, their Irish terrier... a friendly soul I am pleased to say!
At the other end of the spectrum, the really nice house I went to see yesterday has been given to another agent. I was told it was down to the two of us, having had five agents. We and the other agent were “head and shoulders” above the others, but we were pipped at the post. I haven’t given up on this. I enjoy the competition. It keeps you sharp and it teaches you never to be complacent.
The day starts at 8am with a hearty breakfast meeting with Alastair, the partner in charge of the office. We discuss the development plan for our new recruit, forthcoming jobs and, more importantly, worries about being rained off at Lord’s on Thursday.
I go to see a yurt builder who is looking to expand his business - he needs to raise capital and sell his house - and came back to exchange contracts on a superb Regency house in the afternoon, a sale which achieved a really good price. As I am out of the office all day tomorrow, I spend the afternoon drafting details and reports.
Today it’s a treat. I am taken to Lord’s with Alastair of Birketts solicitors, following a client referral and lots of successful work with them on mainly private farm and estate sales/purchases. The job does have perks!
It’s lovely to have a day out of the office, but I return to mountains of emails and messages. I am able to start finalising a snazzy brochure for a pretty Queen Anne house in 50 acres of parkland. It is a pleasure to handle these houses, and I remember them as a youngster flicking through Country Life with my grandmother. It was one of the reasons I wanted to work for Strutt & Parker.
In the afternoon I let the buyers of a town house, overlooking Norwich cathedral, bring their parents to have a look. They are all extremely excited at the prospect of the buyers living there - that’s a relief.
In the evening I go to see a friend who is renovating his own house and currently living in a caravan on site. I am in the middle of buying a cottage with my girlfriend so I want some advice... and caravan living is an option. The week ends on a high note as I receive instructions from the clients with Otis the Irish terrier.
Tom Goodley is associate partner at the Norwich office of Strutt & Parker (01603 617431).