Diary of an estate agent: Chelsea

Our Chelsea agent prepares his office before a production company starts filming them for a BBC documentary and takes the TV crew on a guided tour of a £1 million studio flat
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Diary of an estate agent
© Weef
A client with a modern house off King’s Road wants a chat. Exciting stuff as he says he’s not talking to anyone else, a rarity but recommendations are by far and away the best business to have. The problem is, despite a bigger house being on sale next door at £2.2 million, he wants £2.5 million. I’m sure it won’t stop people looking so agree.

A production company representing the BBC is coming to start filming us tomorrow for a documentary and I need to give everyone a warning about the dangers of wearing a radio mic.

Just as I am about to go home a former client calls suggesting I probably don’t remember them. I don’t. I sold them their property, for £45,000, in 1983.

Off to see the 1983 “Maggie era” £45,000 flat and talk is of how these days that wouldn’t even buy a parking space. Easy to laugh but it looks like the owner may have a heart attack when I tell him it’s now worth £750,000. Having recovered he says he has a nephew who works for a rival and wants me to work with him. I call his boss who hasn’t been doing this long methinks.

He tells me he wants to do a joint sole agency with the winner taking the whole fee. That’s a multiple agency, say I. Joint agents share and work together. No they don’t says the whippersnapper. I give up and put the phone down. Sign of the times, sadly, flash and brash.

Three offices went for a preview of the modern house off King’s Road today. It was raining and some clodhopper didn’t take his shoes off and the brand new (white) carpet has marks on it. It was a bloke, big feet, and nothing irritates me more. The owner is very nice about it, thank heavens so I ask whether he minds if I walk around with a BBC crew. He’s a bit flabbergasted and says yes, but when I go to film in the mews we’re poleaxed by the caretaker who – I’m sure correctly – says we can’t film in the mews. A bit embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Flash and Brash are flooding the multiple agency flat, despite the owner not wanting to be bothered with time-wasters and are fed up with being disturbed.

I’ve managed to placate the very nice yet voracious TV people with a guided tour of a £1 million studio flat. The owner says he will talk to them which is a real bonus and luckily I know he likes us so it’s all as de-risked as possible. The morning is livened up by a favourite old client who’s usually worse for wear after lunch but seems to have started early. In a very sober office it stands out, so one of the guys guides her to one side, and comes back in with two instructions, so whatever he said worked.

Meanwhile, a Middle Eastern buyer has had his offer accepted at just over £2 million and assumes he can pay a small bit in cash for fixtures and fittings to bring the price under £2 million and avoid a big stamp duty hit. An argument ensues after a call to his solicitor reveals that it would mean jail, and advises against that method. But even the solicitor baulks at paying an extra £40,000 in stamp duty.

Exchange day and to make matters worse it’s the end of a six-month target period for the guys, so they’re in overdrive. One is a mere £123 short of a £190,000 target and resolves to test a client and plead for a higher fee to push them over the target, to no avail.

The man with the house that was worth £45,000 in 1983 has a bid of £745,000. He calls to remind me that’s a 16.5-fold increase. A journalist rings for a catch up so I give him the story, and he asks me if the same place will be worth £12.3 million (another 16.5-fold increase) in 2043. Surely not, I say, but what do I know?

Ed Mead is a director at Douglas & Gordon in Sloane Avenue, SW3 (020 7225 1225)

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