Diary of an estate agent

A celebrity with a hangover and a smelly iguana are spoiling our Wimbledon agent's week - until she scores with a spewing parking meter

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I am quite excited at the prospect of my first appointment of the day as I am showing around a person of notoriety. Unfortunately, when I meet him it is plain he has had a very big night out: that he has not, in fact, been to bed at all.

We enter the house where he proceeds to sit at the kitchen table with his girlfriend. The vendor whispers to me: "Does he have other children?" to which I have to reply: "She's his girlfriend." Mr Celebrity then asks the vendor if she's got any food as he is a bit hung-over. At this stage I don't know whether to laugh or cry. After he has finished his breakfast and had a cigarette in the garden, he and his girlfriend view the house. In the feedback conversation that afternoon the vendor suggests that she goes out if they visit again and I make a mental note to bring snacks next time.




Today we have a property valuation of a tenanted flat. "Here are the keys, have a look around and tell me what you think." As I enter the rather pungent sitting room I see a 6ft-long stuffed iguana in a glass display case. Combined with the unmade beds and overflowing dustbins, it makes my heart sink.

After being there for an hour I head towards the door to leave when suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see the "stuffed" iguana turn towards me and walk out of the cage. I nearly have heart failure and hightail it out of there. Luckily the client decides to keep his tenants and I don't have to return. Obviously the tenant cannot find another landlord willing to take an iguana.






It's an early start with a meeting at head office and by 11am I am buzzing with coffee and up for anything. We are off to value a beautiful house backing on to Richmond Park, and the minute I walk in the door I can think of the couple who would love it. The owners are delightful Italians and in true Italian style insist on chatting over an espresso. By the time we leave I'm so caffeined up I'm self-propelled.






Stuck behind the ubiquitous slow dustcart I am running late for my appointment. I park up, dash to feed the meter and to my amazement the £1 coin I put in comes tumbling out, followed by another and another… the entire contents of the meter. Coins are rolling all over the pavement.

My buyer approaches wondering why I am scrabbling about on the pavement and soon joins in - a kitty of £32. Later that afternoon, in a moment of great charity, I spend a wonderful five minutes feeding it into the tin of our cancer collector.






I arrive at the office happy in the knowledge that the weekend is nearly here. After all, I am off for a glorious couple of days in the country. All I have to do is get through a frantic day - there are back-to-back appointments and at midday we have a best and final bids situation on a gem of a house.

There are already three parties hoping to snap this up, and I really want my client to nab it. Later that morning I get the dreaded phone call - my client is beginning to wobble; his solicitor has been on the phone to him and he is unnerved. After many long conversations and using all my powers of persuasion he revises his bid and is back in the running. He comes up trumps and the week ends in victory.

Susannah Melville is an associate at Savills residential sales in Wimbledon (020 8971 8111).



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