Diary of an estate agent

A ceiling collapses at the valuation, journos rent a flat in an ideal spot for eyeing the great and the good and a Turner-nominated artist's on the move
Diary of an Estate Agent cartoon
© Merrily Harpur

Monday


An exceptionally busy start to the week with five tenants moving in - or so we thought. Everything was running smoothly until we discovered that one tenant had not paid. We tried to explain to him that if he did not pay he could not move in... which left him running to his bank seeking a quick transfer of funds.

This afternoon I was supposed to value a flat close to King’s Cross and the owner dropped off the keys at my office so I could get in. I arrived at the flat and I struggled to get through the door. When I eventually managed to get inside I discovered that the ceiling had collapsed completely. I dreaded telling the owner but he did not appear to be too concerned. Good news at 5.30: the tenant’s money arrived and he moved in.

Tuesday


The office was in a state of shock today. After two years, three months, 16 days and 16 hours an applicant asked for a copy of a Home Information Pack! But it was a Good News Day - we’ve exchanged contracts on a stunning duplex penthouse apartment in a luxury new development close to the City. The Art Deco building has been converted from offices and this was the last remaining flat.

We also agreed the letting of an exceptionally large, two-bedroom garden maisonette to two well-known journalists. The apartment has two spectacular reception rooms with many original features and views over the Duke of Bedford’s private gardens. Very suitable for nosy journos.

Wednesday


The day began with a viewing of a fourth-floor, two-bedroom flat overlooking one of Bloomsbury’s garden squares. Apartments in this block rarely become available and we have received a huge amount of interest.

We have also begun to market a large, one-bedroom garden maisonette in a charming pedestrianised street close to Coram’s Fields. We have booked in 12 viewings and it is likely we will have to go to sealed bids. This has been very common over the last few months with such a shortage of stock. Just before I left the office I got a call from a Turner Prize-nominated artist client of ours who wants to sell her mansion flat opposite the revamped Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury’s answer to Marylebone High Street.

Thursday


This morning we viewed a spectacular Grade II-listed, beautifully restored house in one of Bloomsbury’s finest locations. It has a self-contained studio flat, a landscaped garden and parking for three cars. The current owner is considering letting the house. This afternoon our City office launched a new development of 55 flats close to the Barbican on the site of the Lambs Squash Club. I was due to attend from 6pm but by mid-afternoon I had to get over there pronto as they were overrun with potential buyers. Who said there was a credit crunch?

Friday


Completion took place today on a large, three-bedroom flat in one of Bloomsbury’s finest blocks behind Bedford Square. There is a waiting list of applicants looking to move into this block. The flat needs a total refurb but created huge interest. We received a large number of overseas enquiries - very much the pattern of recent months with foreign buyers wanting to take advantage of our weak pound. Many are after homes for their children who go to the universities and colleges in this area.

Julian Lewin is manager at the Hurford Salvi Carr branch in Store Street, Bloomsbury (020 7299 3322)

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