Diary of an estate agent: Battersea

The much-anticipiated third phrase at Battersesa Power Station has potential buyers flocking to the show apartment while a trip to Mexico turns into a frantic working holiday...

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Launching today is the show apartment for the much-anticipated third phase at Battersea Power Station, by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry. The launch event is bustling with potential buyers — and it just shows how enormous an impact the project will have on the local area. 

Gehry’s input to the scheme is Prospect Place a cluster of five impressive buildings anchored by a striking, flower-shaped centrepiece, sitting alongside a new high street and a new Zone 1 Tube station. All evening I am rushed off of my feet guiding interested clients around the show apartment. 

Back at Battersea Power Station today, I am showing around clients who couldn’t make last night’s launch event. One couple I meet are looking to move from their Chelsea townhouse to a more lateral, modern space. They have heard about the new apartments, restaurants and shops opening next year in the first phase of the power station development, and are keen to see what is available to buy.

The day takes an interesting turn when a very keen client wants to time the drive to his office in Sloane Square from the Gehry marketing suite car park. Staying within the speed limit and benefiting from light traffic, we make it, door to door, in six minutes and 20 seconds — beating his current nine-minute commute from Beaufort Street. 

Waking up to the sound of my phone ringing, it’s a potential buyer who has been back to view a beautiful home in Old Chelsea numerous times and now wants to revisit one last time before he goes away for two weeks. He asks to meet me at the property in an hour and asks me to bring the vendor, with the purpose of agreeing a deal there and then. 

The call ends and I jump out of bed, quickly realising that it’s still dark outside — and that it is one o’clock in the morning. I call the vendor, apologise, and ask him to meet me at the house in an hour. He takes a bit of convincing but eventually he is up and on the way. They say London never sleeps, but I find no coffee shops open on my way to Old Chelsea. I get there right on time, with the interested buyer ready and waiting. The vendor arrives, we show the buyer around one final time and agree a deal over a fresh cup of coffee. 

My long-awaited holiday has arrived. I’m flying to Mexico later today, but not before tying up a few loose ends in the office. The sale of a huge seven-bedroom home in Kensington is reaching the final stages, and as I’ve managed all aspects of this deal it seems I’ll be taking this one on holiday with me. 

Last meeting of the day is with our esteemed lettings team. Two clients who recently purchased homes from us want to place them on the rental market while they are out of the UK, so it’s over to Ali, our head of lettings, who will take it from here. 

Arriving at Mexico City airport I manage to get wi-fi and see I’ve received an email asking me to be on an urgent call at 9am GMT, which is 3am local time, so it’s another early start for me. The 3am calls become a regular fixture as the holiday progresses and I work the English morning, going back and forth between buyers, sellers and their solicitors, finally bringing the deal to a conclusion. By sunrise on day four I am exploring the artist towns and culture of the Oaxaca region, highlighting the opposite worlds I’m experiencing — from the rural Mexican lifestyle to the prime London property market.

  • Leo Russell is a sales negotiator at Russell Simpson based in SW3 (020 7225 0277)

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