Foul weather… is this summer? I pull up outside The Pie Man on Chelsea Green for a breakfast snack on my way to the office, then begin the catch-up with prospective tenants I took on viewings last week.
One deal is on the brink of collapse because the client won’t replace an old whirlpool spa bath in the master en-suite in Sydney Place. He is so convinced of the merits of this tub that he urges me to try it. That’s a first — and a first refusal. I tell him that these days, it is super-slick power showers that tend to excite tenants.
Crazy traffic, and I arrive at the office late. I grab some keys and I’m off to a one-bedroom apartment on Cadogan square at £1,950 a week with a relocation agent and her client. The flat is owned by a developer who has many properties in the area, all impeccable. Eat your heart out Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, this is no “60-minute makeover”. I come away from the viewing thinking the client would be crazy not to want to live there.
Back at the office an enquiry comes through for a home on Sloane Court East from a large Austrian family with eight children that we soon nickname “the Von Trapps”. I hope they don’t all come to the viewing. Luckily we have two new fantastic houses with enough bedrooms for them.
Exciting morning with a sealed bid , very unusual in lettings. I spend an hour convincing my client that they need to offer two years straight with no break clause in the first year to be in the best position. Unfortunately, not even that seals the deal — the market is so competitive right now for the best properties.
Following on from a positive viewing yesterday with “the Von Trapps” I receive an offer, albeit £500 a week under the asking price. In a market where there are few properties available, particularly at that level, I know this is going to be tricky to secure. Hours of going back and forth on the telephone between my client and the Austrian family, and a deal is done. Hurrah!
I have people wishing to view properties tomorrow afternoon, but between the whirpool spa, the Von Trapps and being distracted by a beautiful interior designer on Cadogan Square, I have to rush to confirm my appointments. By 3pm the phones go wild and offers come flying in, proving the lettings market in Chelsea is forever strong. My colleague Anna and I glue our ears to the phones to secure the offers.
Fridays are always crazy and this one is no different, with the phones going berserk, while I am running out of the door on three viewings with the mother of a prospective tenant who is searching for a home for him. I think it is quite brave sending your mother to look for your new flat.
Heading back from Sydney Street, I agree to pick up my workmate Anna on Sloane Avenue and drive her to a property launch. As I pull up, I see her attempting to get into the back of someone’s private chauffeured car. The driver looks quite confused, as does Anna as she realises her mistake and hops out, looking embarrassed before jumping into the back of my car and shouting: “Drive! Drive! Drive!”
The property launch is a good end to the week, with great canapés and pink champagne on a sunny afternoon. We pull up outside our head office on Hill Street, Mayfair, to drop off our boss Zoë. A US television show will air about the London property market and Zoë is required for a screen test. A true English rose, she nails it. So it’s off to King’s Road for a celebratory dinner.
Henry Hopcroft is lettings negotiator at Strutt & Parker’s Chelsea office (020 7589 9966)