Diary of an estate agent: Borough

Borough-based estate agent Stephan Mouzouri reaps the rewards of maintaining a Zen state of mind
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon
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Everyone likes a gentle opener on a Monday but I didn’t anticipate that my first client today would be a Buddhist guru on the path to enlightenment.

As I stroll along to meet him, I’m more excited by the fashionable location of the apartment - just opposite the Young Vic - and the surrounding shops and bars than any spiritual journey I might be about to set off on. The client is friendly and we hit it off straight away. However, he fails to mention the other agents he’s already seen.

We leave his charming apartment and go for a coffee at the Young Vic bar (no sign of Patrick Stewart, who is starring in Bingo here right now) and proceed to put the universe straight before parting amicably, without discussing the marketing of his flat but agreeing to speak later in the week.


Another unusual day, as a past contact and friend calls me out of the blue to invite me to help him in the disposal of a warehouse property in the Borough area. Clearly karma has kicked in this week: while this is not our typical stock, I am now open to new opportunities and this old 2,500sq ft coffee warehouse, with a little creative planning, could become a stunning single dwelling with exposed brick, glass walkways, the lot. Besides, my instinct is telling me not to turn down a free lunch. That would be rude.


I feel like the Zen master of property valuation - until two joint appointments with our lettings manager, who uses the sneaky western technique of letting properties at high prices within a day to impress potential clients. There is no denying the high demand for rental property in the area at the moment and for landlords, great returns and minimal void periods are the norm. Happily, for both landlords and vendors in Borough, demand from home and abroad is high, especially with the excellent transport links to the City, Canary Wharf and the West End from SE1.


Today’s a day for offers, with excellent bids on two former local authority properties we are marketing. They provide superb opportunities for rental investors and with six to seven per cent returns, can be viewed as excellent pension schemes in themselves - the kind that don’t disappear on you.

The problem is, we’re experiencing the estate agent’s curse of offers very early in the marketing stages, which is now standard, but to someone who has not sold in years it appears frighteningly fast.

Radiating my new inner calm, instead of being the pushy estate agent I simply set out the arguments to my clients, who to their credit and after some deliberation, come to what we believe is the right decision and accept the offers.


I hear from a young professional lady with a one-bedroom apartment who has been trying to sell since October. She’s popped in before, on market day in Borough, when I went through possible reasons for the lack of sale and the techniques she should employ with her current agent to get the best out of them.

I gave the advice with no definite expectation of getting her instructions to sell, but fortunately I made a good impression and she is now employing us alongside her current agent. I’m starting to believe there might be something in this karma notion.


Oh yes, ours is a six-day week and with no temporary staff we are here every Saturday. But at least in Borough you get the unique experience of a slap-up breakfast in Borough Market before the crowds arrive.

Towards the end of a busy day doing viewings and registering buyers and tenants, I hear from my Monday guru. He informs me that he has experienced a moment of clarity and wants to go with us, despite one desperate agent offering to sell his property for no fee. On the train home after a busy week I experience a state of bliss, but fortunately I don’t miss my stop.

Stephan Mouzouri is sales manager in the Borough branch of Kinleigh Folkward & Hayward (020 3465 9230)

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