Our morning meeting in the Covent Garden office starts promptly with the entire sales team around the boardroom, just like the opening scene from The Apprentice.
With the growth of CBRE Residential we have recruited two new sales negotiators, who are introduced to the team. We run through the top 10 buyers for each negotiator — the list always includes a range of interesting people, from City bankers, football players and celebrities to couples downsizing, families looking for a pied-à-terre, MPs and lawyers. I am sure we have got something on our books to suit all of them.
After the meeting I head over to view our latest development opportunity, which is a freehold office with planning consent to become a family home in Mayfair. At offers in excess of £8.95 million, viewings are booked in all day. The developer likes the property and will come back with their architect.
My first appointment of the day is a site meeting to run through our latest scheme, at Clarence Court in Strand. Sixteen new apartments are to be launched in the UK, and we are confident it will sell really well. Immediately after the team leave, I show the building to an Asian investment fund based in London. They are very interested in taking all the studio and one-bedroom apartments, which would be a great way to kick-start the sales.
As a member of the Army Reserve, which used to be known as the Territorial Army, I leave promptly at 6pm for weekly training in Fulham — my week is run with military precision.
The day starts with meeting a lovely lady from Belgium. She has a great budget of £3 million to £5 million, and needs something urgently as she is moving to London in three weeks. We view four options, and the third property, a Dukelease development in Bedford Street, takes her breath away. It is my favourite apartment in Covent Garden and certainly worth the £4.5 million price tag. As a post-viewing treat we head to Belgo in Seven Dials for celebratory moules-frites and beer.
It’s another packed day of viewings, this time stretching from Soho, across Covent Garden, and up into Fitzrovia. I have to organise my diary meticulously to allow enough time to march between appointments, but I’m used to it. The buyers who have to walk with me between properties are less used to a military pace, and often say they count a viewing with me as their day’s exercise.
We have a monthly team update on all our new developments and resales. It has been a great month for the Covent Garden office, with 18 deals agreed. While not a record, this is certainly a strong figure for one office.
I then head back for a second viewing of the Mayfair renovation. This time it is with the developer’s architect who seems to enjoy asking all sorts of questions, from lift mechanics options to the depth of the swimming pool. Luckily I’ve done my research. As my Army Reserve training has taught me, you can never be too prepared.
After a busy week I have the weekend to look forward to. Time for the uniform to come off and the shorts to go on.
- James Mashiter is a sales negotiator at CBRE Midtown