Diary of an estate agent: assess the value of a lick of paint and avoid the drama of those rusty nails

Assess the value of a lick of paint and avoid the drama of those rusty nails. Our agent in Notting Hill tells the tales of his week
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Woman with paint brush and tin greets estate agent in clean suit at the door
© Weef
My phone rings en route to work and it’s a good friend from university. She and her fiancé are making the move to Devon and ask if I wouldn’t mind valuing their flat in Notting Hill. A couple of hours later I’m on the third floor of a huge Victorian house (feeling extremely unfit) and being welcomed in by my friend who is covered in paint. I look at her, then at my new suit, and enter. We spend an hour talking through the market, planning a strategy for them (and maybe catching up a little) and at the end she gives me her spare key and tells me to hurry up and sell it.

Lots of viewings today at a newly launched unmodernised house in Notting Hill. My worries about the holes in the floor and rusty nails sticking out of the walls appear justified when an applicant rips his raincoat on one of the nails. I am mortified (thinking to myself that the coat looks expensive) and ask him if it was his favourite. He looks at me briefly, smiles and says: “My wife hates this coat, she’ll love you for this!” Sensing that I may have avoided a large bill for a new designer mac, I ask him for his thoughts on the property and he informs me it’s just what he has been looking for, for almost a year. I have an offer of the asking price by the end of the day.

A relocation agent asks me to meet one of her clients who is considering the sale of his flat in Notting Hill. An hour later I am being interrogated by a charming Bulgarian gentleman who doesn’t know a great deal about the property market. I quickly realise this may be a longer appointment than normal and the office rearranges my diary. Ten minutes after leaving, the relocation agent calls and tells me I have the instruction. Her client was impressed because the other agents he met had stayed for no more than 10 minutes each.

A 9am valuation to start the day, and with lovely sunshine I decide to walk — it’s only five minutes down the Portobello Road after all. The owner is a suave French gentleman whose accent would make women go weak at the knees. My female colleague is the consummate professional and seems to pay no attention. Afterwards, even she admits her eagerness to take on the instruction. On the walk back, the heavens open and we sprint back to the office, soaked to the bone by the time we get there.

Viewings begin today at my friend’s flat. Despite my confidence of selling it, there is always an added pressure when dealing with friends. However, we have four viewings booked for day one and we’re off to a flyer. Friday is always exchange day and today is no different. As the end of our financial year approaches there are big sales being reported from all over the company. Our office, despite only being open for less than a year, has started with a bang and we add two exchanges over the course of the day. I call my friend to give them the feedback on their first viewings and they are delighted to hear we have two second viewings booked for tomorrow. Looks like it’s going to be a busy Saturday.

Alistair Heather is a sales negotiator in the Notting Hill office of Strutt & Parker (020 7221 1111)

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