Diary of an estate agent: Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire

Fence scaling, fizzy, filming and fond memories - for this agent no two days are ever quite the same.
The week kicks off with our regular team meeting and we are all buzzing because there is good activity out there once again. We have three offers on properties and we’ve got a new international client who would like to buy a unique folly overlooking the water on the Jurassic Coast.

On the way home I decide to deliver an urgent report to a client by hand. It is quite dark when I leave the office so rather than take the car up the driveway and wake up all the dogs, I decide to walk up and quietly put the document through the letter box. I stroll back down towards the wooden electric gate, just in time to see it shut. Even using my smartphone as a torch, I can’t identify a release button.

Luckily my skirt isn’t tight, so I quickly tuck it up and clamber over. As I go to leap off the far side of the gate I rememberthe cattle-grid. With an extra push I just manage to clear it, then I adjust my skirt and leg it to the car. Phew.

It’s a rather unusual morning, as I am working on the pilot of a new high-end property show for Channel 4. Luckily the set is a stunning country house set in 75 acres and steeped in fascinating history, having been previously owned by a famous musician.

The current owners are also extremely interesting — a delightful American hedge fund executive and his adorable wife. Not only do they keep us entertained with interesting stories, but they also present me and the crew with delicious home-baked cookies and coffee.

This is a beautiful sunny morning for the completion on a client’s lovely new house on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border. I arrive early to do my pre-completion check and make sure that the previous owner hasn’t run off with the light switches or the ride-on mower. All is as it should be, so I speak to the selling agent and check that the lawyers have sent the money. I open up all of the windows to air the house a bit and sit back to take in the view.

My clients arrive soon after from London with three excited children and a large picnic in the back of the car. The kids dive out immediately and start running around the garden and orchard. Mrs Client is thrilled with the flowers and hamper that I have brought along as a welcome present and we all sit down in the garden to enjoy a cold glass of something fizzy before furniture arrives.

I take a sad call this afternoon from the executor of an estate who informs me that the deceased wanted me involved with the sale of his charming and important village house. I had met the gentleman many times over the last six years and we shared a keen interest in horse racing. I explain that as “poacher-turned-gamekeeper” I am now a buying agent, so I no longer sell houses, though I offer to recommend an agent and oversee the selling strategy. I visit the widow at the house this afternoon and we share tea and fond memories.

Today I take a new client out for a drive around his target area, eyeing up various houses which might suit him for his family’s country home. This is a very enjoyable part of my job, comparing and contrasting the numerous houses which I have been lucky to see, sell and buy over the years. The house he is keenest on is not currently on the market. It also has a very high beech hedge on its boundary. However, following a short trip home and a car swap we are able to climb on to the roof of my Land Rover and take in the view of the house, land, tennis court and pool.

I think I have found him “the one” and he says it is definitely the property he wants to buy, so he disappears back to London after giving me instructions to go forth and make an approach. Roll on Monday…
  • Lucy Winfield is a partner at Private Property Search, the independent buying agent of Strutt & Parker


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