Diary of an estate agent: central London

A celebrity chef cooks lunch for this London estate agent - with a surprise served for dessert
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon


After 12 viewings by one particular buyer in a four-week period (I hope this doesn't give anyone else ideas), it looks like today is the day contracts will finally be exchanged on a Chelsea artist's studio house, a deal we have been working on for six weeks.

This studio was last on the market 60 years ago. This type of property has become something of a specialty for us and we now have a large waiting list of buyers looking for them. Just as well, as we have been asked to sell this one "off the market". It means no advertising, no photographs, no floorplan and no sales particulars. Just a whole load of discreet conversations.


The first call of the day is from a famous music producer with a £6million budget looking for a cool something-or-other north of the river capable of housing, of course, his private recording studio. No sooner do I deal with that, than in comes number two.

This time it's a recently successful female singer wanting the ultimate warehouse apartment, somewhere in the West End. Alas, her budget of £1.5 million is unlikely to get her what she wants, so she'll need to shift her gaze eastwards to Shoreditch and Bermondsey — or sell a few more albums.


Back at our favourite building, Bankside Lofts. When it was built the apartments there represented the most cutting-edge, up-to-date and on-trend statements of interior design. Well, 15 years being a long time in fashion, and interior design, they're now perfect for modernising. The loft we are taking on today is the perfect canvas to re-work: high ceilings, full-height windows — plenty of New York style possibility.

Always a popular spot, our last apartment there sold in a matter of hours — hardly surprising given the location and lifestyle on offer. The Thames is just across the street, Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe theatre are next door, and Borough Market is just a few minutes' walk away. The classic London riverside existence. Yours for only £560,000.


A call this morning from a celebrity chef whose house we are selling. He is interested in another place we are marketing — a house in Hammersmith with an art deco interior. So far so normal, but the lunchtime viewing produces rather more than anyone could have imagined.

After falling in love with the house, he offers to make lunch for me and the owners, who unsurprisingly put their own culinary preparations on hold. Towards the end of this Michelin-starred interlude, it emerges that the chef's current house used to be owned by the grandparents of the owners of the house we are now sitting in. So after agreeing to buy this one, he accompanies the sellers to pick up their grandparents and takes them all back to his place. Memories, joy and tears all round.


The fastest sale and exchange of contracts in our 17-year history. Yesterday's Soho loft has already sold — 1,400sq ft of exposed brickwork, original iron columns and wonky old floorboards. We've barely sorted out the Energy Performance Certificate before this morning's 9.30am viewing has, by 10am, turned into a full asking-price offer of £1.8 million.

The buyer goes straight from the apartment to the offices of the seller's solicitor to do an "attended exchange". By this afternoon he is, effectively, the new owner.

Solly Strickland is the London residential manager at Unique Property Company (uniqueproperty company.co.uk).

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