Diary of an estate agent

Our busy Putney agent falls out of love with feng shui, heads up the balloon-blowing team and burst in to a dodgy media room

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This week is clearly going to be an eventful one if my first pitch of the day is anything to go by. Our potential seller owns a beautiful four bedroom house that we know we have lots of buyers for and are aiming for a record price, however the seller throws a small spanner in the works: "My Feng Shui advisor, who has trained with a Chinese master, says the house must go on the market this Friday, in order to harness the optimum energy in the house", she says.

“That’s fine" I respond, knowing it will be a push to get everything ready for Friday, but don’t mind pulling out all the stops for my clients. "Between 9pm an 11pm at night" she then announces. I manage to hide my surprise, and seamlessly suggest "Why don’t we do an open house launch?" I don’t think my negotiators are going to be too happy with that, so it looks like I’m working a late one this Friday.

One of the challenges of managing both the sales and the lettings departments in my office is remembering to whom I’m talking: buyer, tenant, landlord or vendor. However the main advantage is that I can give unbiased advice to potential clients on what’s best for them; to sell or to rent.

Today I get to offer this service, as I advise one of my sales clients that her flat may be better off on the lettings market due to the high demand by corporate tenants. On the flip side, an old landlord of ours is considering selling his five bedroom house in West Putney, so we have a long chat and discuss the current market and expected achieved prices. Once he hears that we have a number of potential buyers, he is on board for a quick sale.

It’s a day of deliveries today. Keys for a new instruction from a client who’s second home is in Salisbury, signed tenancy agreements from a landlord in Singapore and 1000 branded balloons for the team to have blown up ready for this weekend’s event that we are sponsoring: the switching on of the Putney Christmas Lights.

Everyone is very excited about the event and balloon blowing commences in the afternoon. After around 20 minutes of huffing and puffing and a few slightly reddened faces, I decide that this is quite enough and, for everyone’s clients and health, please can we refrain from trying to blow them all up this second... slightly disheartened faces look at me as the room gets tidied and colleagues return to their phones.

All estate agents walk into embarrassing situations from time to time, and this afternoon is no exception. On a viewing with a family of four to a stylishly designed terrace house, the precocious young son asks daddy whilst we are in the media room (which looks far more like an adults’ play room): "What’s that metal pole for hanging from the ceiling?" The owner chimes in: "My wife’s exercise". Maybe this isn’t a family house after all...

The end of the week is always busy with exchanges and completions, however I take some time out of my day to personally deliver the keys to the proud owners of their new house in East Putney, which they have completed on today. It’s good to see all our hard work culminating in a successful move, because in the end, that’s what it’s really all about.

However that’s not the end of my day as I have the 9pm launch of the Feng Shui house to contend with. As we open the doors, six buyers are on the step already, and after two hours of viewings, we receive two asking price offers. Maybe there is something in this Feng Shui business.

Chris Firth is sales and lettings manager based at Chesterton Humberts’ Putney office (chestertonhumberts.com).

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