Diary of an estate agent: Balham

It's a great time for landlords as 24 professionals compete for a property and prospective tenants learn origami to conceal a secret bid...
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The office is already buzzing with activity as the week kicks off, with landlords and tenants emailing questions, sending back paperwork, dropping in keys and — my favourite part — discussing offers following a busy weekend of viewings. 

There are 44 new emails, 16 of which are enquiries from prospective tenants hoping to book viewings for properties we have advertised online. My phone is flashing with new voicemails. I have three new properties to prepare to send out, 36 potential landlords to contact and four offer forms on my desk. Oh, and it’s only 8.45am — time to start my morning meeting. It’s a busy summer.

Every morning, we run through our diaries and discuss the previous day’s viewings. It’s not only a chance for my team to have a quick coffee to wake up before hitting the phones, but also to get together to discuss the various applicants they are working with, so we can find them a suitable property.

Today, there is a huge amount of excitement over a four-bedroom house we currently manage, which came back on to the market yesterday. We already have four offers and two second viewings scheduled for this afternoon. I’m always amused by the array of offer forms I receive — some folded almost into origami in an attempt to conceal the details.

As I return to my emails, I see two more offers from our local offices on the same property. We now have 24 professionals, aged between 23 and 27, all competing for the same property. It’s a great time to be a landlord.

My first client meeting is at 11.30am. The property on our books is one of my favourites, and it’s coming back on the market. From exposed brick walls to the roll-top bath and the beautiful White Company interior, it’s stunning — I remember it well and I know it is going to be popular. 

As we step on to the roof terrace and soak up the breathtaking views across the city, I feel a pang of relief that the house is still as immaculate as it was the first time I saw it. Within an hour, we have eight viewings booked in for tomorrow.

Between appointments, I manage to get through to the landlord of the four-bedroom house from yesterday. Having had a total of seven offers within 24 hours of coming to the market, he’s a little overwhelmed. After some time to think about the offers and a couple of calls back and forth, we agree to accept an offer above the asking price, with an immediate move-in, on a two-year lease. I seal the deal with one final phone call, delighting both tenants and landlord, as I park up on my driveway at 8.36pm.

Our Northcote Road branch is the venue for our 8am weekly pipeline meeting to catch up on the scene in Battersea and Clapham. It’s a chance for all the negotiators to run through the homes they have rented out over the week, and to discuss the hottest properties on the register. The managers are treated to a quick coffee — and an almond croissant, if we’re lucky — with the lettings director, where we discuss the progress of each of our letting negotiators. While working our way through the daily load of valuations, instructions and offers, we find some time to focus on the training and management of our team of negotiators, to ensure that targets are met and our standards are maintained.

Following the catch-up with each of the 13 negotiators from our three offices around Clapham Common — Clapham, Balham and Battersea — we have a great opportunity to let our landlords know how hard we are working. I update them on the number of viewings we have had and what is coming up, we discuss any potential works or maintenance issues, and I prepare them for any offers that may be bubbling away. 

Feeling relieved that it’s Friday, the boys whizz over to the local Ginger Pig to collect their high-protein delicacies, while the girls re-energise over edamame and sashimi. I finish the week with a quick look over my deal book to summarise the week’s progress. We have 73 new potential tenants registered, seven properties rented, five of which had competing offers, three with offers in under 48 hours, two over the asking price, and we’ve been instructed to let nine new properties — I think that deserves a nice glass of wine tonight.
  • Nichola Denman is an associate director and lettings manager at Marsh & Parsons in Balham (020 8673 4377).

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