It is likely to be a busy five days as I am off on holiday next week. Today is my birthday, too, but I try not to let this news out.
I have a meeting outdoors at Charlotte Street Hotel with a client from Hong Kong, who says that markets over there are slowing. As we sit down, I remark that we’ve chosen a lovely sunny day for our meeting.
Sure enough, 10 minutes later, the sun vanishes behind the clouds and it is so cold we have to go inside.
Back at the office, the afternoon cuppa arrives and the team rumbles me — there is a card, they sing happy birthday and we all have a slice of a Colin the Caterpillar cake.
I have the morning blocked out for the sales director and myself to record the Hudsons video blog, showcasing our latest properties to customers. We start off at a duplex penthouse opposite the Sanderson Hotel and end up at a very nice two-bedroom rental property near Montagu Square in Marylebone. I can’t wait to see the end result.
A call comes in from a friend in the property industry who has a residential site to sell off-plan, as the developer wants to sell immediately. It’s just off our patch, so I drop everything to gather comparable sales figures to work out the true values.
Buying off-plan and in bulk normally ensures you get a better deal on any rental return and purchase below the market price. The only thing is the buyer needs to buy the lot to get the discount.
All recent property news has been related to money laundering and, this morning, the topic is headlining on news channels.
Perhaps there may be some media opportunities within my role as the London executive for the National Association of Estate Agents.
My first appointment is a meeting with one of our developers to report on sales in phase one of their scheme. We have exchanged on 33 per cent of the units already and they are not even built. When the apartments are ready towards the end of next month, buyers will be able to walk round the site, by which point I am certain the remainder will be snapped up.
As I head back to the office, my phone is awash with texts, emails and missed calls. ITV and Radio 5 Live want a comment on the subject of money laundering. I head off to the ITN offices for a two-minute slot. Later, I drop by at Broadcasting House.
There is nothing much to tell apart from the fact that when agents deal with buyers, they are duty-bound to ask the right questions regarding where the money originates from to fund a purchase, and flag up anything suspicious to HMRC.
A seller calls me from Thailand — he’s a nice chap who loves living there. He tells me he used to have a photo studio in Mayfair and used the flat he’s selling here as a pied-à-terre. We sold another flat in the same building this year.
During our conversation, we realise we used to live in the same area and went to the same school. I hope he decides to give a fellow pupil the instruction to market his home.
Determined to head off on holiday relaxed rather than stressed, I set about clearing the long list of work that I must get through today. My wife understands I sometimes need to work on holiday, but my son doesn’t. Quite right, too.
I manage to blitz my list, so I am all set to go home early — until a last-minute appointment comes up at 6pm. But hey, I have a holiday to look forward to — so I just do it.
- Jonathan Hudson is director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277)