A lovely sunny start to the week, buzzing through Chelsea on my scooter. I can't help thinking how happy and cheerful a city London is — until it rains that is. In this job, good weather and sunshine really does make a difference to the outcome. Properties look wonderful, flowers are out and even the darkest of lower-ground-floor flats gets a glimmer of sun coming in.
My day kicks off chasing up the viewings from Saturday. It turns out that one couple was just spending the day getting some interior design ideas, which is frustrating to say the least but thankfully the others make working a weekend worthwhile and I have a couple of offers on a lovely first-floor flat in South Kensington.
With the Olympics over, the sub £2 million market in Chelsea that I specialise in has really kicked off again, which is fantastic. August can sometimes be very quiet, so having already had several offers serves as a barometer for the fact that September will continue to be buoyant.
Many of our clients are upsizing from one- or two-bedroom flats and the prices we are achieving are enabling them to find a larger project or start to set up a family home.
Talking of projects, this afternoon I had a tour of unmodernised basement flats, so off came the high heels and on went the yellow builder's hat. Although some flats are very grotty and not even fit for a family of mice, it's quite exciting to get involved in this type of search. My inner architect comes out and I get really into the planning and ideas — so much so that my buyers want to come back and see them all again later in the week.
An exciting day ahead — several appointments in the diary meeting prospective clients to appraise their properties. Each one feels a little like a job interview as I have to 'wax lyrical' about the qualities of our team as well as Strutt & Parker as a company. At my last appointment I see a fellow agent I know well leaving the flat; apparently the client has six of us coming in with 15-minute slots each. It's rather like speed dating.
Almost the end of the week, which means the phones will be busy with solicitors, buyers and vendors who are keen to get offers tied up and deals exchanged before the weekend. With snail mail being a little unreliable at the moment, we send out couriers to ferry contracts around and, fingers crossed, we will be exchanging on a lovely top-floor flat just over the road from the office tomorrow.
It's been a rather slow process with this one: the buyers offered back in early June and the client accepted immediately but had to find something themselves to move into. We work very closely within our Strutt & Parker network and our Fulham office has found them a lovely little house, so they will make the move, trading in a top-floor, two-bedroom flat for a four-bedroom house with a garden — crazy as it's only about one and a half miles west.
Frantic Friday again, but with the weekend fast approaching I get to work with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Off I troop to the basement flats from Tuesday. There is a bid on the darkest, dampest flat with grand ideas of direct access to communal gardens, a patio and light wells here, there and everywhere — it's not a project for the faint-hearted.
Back to the office and, whoopee, we have at last exchanged on the two-bedroom flat across the road. Our happy clients are a young couple and they invite me to the local bar for a quick glass of wine to celebrate. What a great start to the weekend.
Harriett Hustler is sales negotiator at the Chelsea office of Strutt & Parker (020 7225 3866)