Diary of an estate agent: Chelsea

Lighting hitch weighs heavy while a video viewing is a success.
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I woke up feeling hot and anxious this morning from a dream that I’ve left a family homeless and as a result they’ve moved in with me. Every estate agent’s worst nightmare. It must be summer time because it’s 20 degrees and not even 8am yet. This morning I am expecting a landlord’s final decision on an offer that has been on the table for some time. It’s from a lovely Swedish family who I’ve been helping to find their perfect home. We have viewed almost every house that’s come to the market in SW3 but this is the one. Exactly 10 minutes’ walk to the children’s schools, so within the catchment area, plus good transport links to the husband’s work. I’m feeling the heat because there are two other agents also showing the house today, but thankfully by midday we have an accepted offer.
Today started well as we have a new house instruction on Coulson Street thanks to our sales team. They have introduced us to the new owner who has instructed us to let the house exclusively. Newly refurbished and looking immaculate, we have prospective tenants queuing up to see it. One family is very keen to relocate to London but is unable to travel here for a viewing today, so we suggest a viewing by video link. It’s something we’ve never done before but it is important for prospective tenants to see a property before they offer. They love the home video and offer full asking price and to take the house for three years. A fantastic result, especially without a physical viewing. Maybe we’ll be doing 3D simulated viewings in future. A brave new world.
Today is problem-solving day. Some new tenants can’t fit their furniture into their new home. Admittedly it’s their friends who are moving them so I recommend White Van Gentleman and send the professionals their way. My next problem is explaining a 22-page Tenancy Agreement to a man from the South American Embassy. The language barrier is proving to be a hurdle for both of us so it’s a long but ultimately successful meeting. Last but not least, some other new tenants want to hang their spectacular crystal chandeliers, weighing 500kg each, in their new two-bedroom flat. I understand that new tenants need to have their personal touches so at the Landlord’s agreement we give them permission to appoint a surveyor to investigate and to confirm if this is a possibility.
Another new instruction and one that I am particularly excited about. The refurbishment of a beautiful flat on Onslow Gardens has been a long project and has come to the market in peak season. The client wants a big price in what is deemed to be a very price sensitive market but this is luxury and quality at its best, so we will be targeting some of our most prestigious contacts. After touching base with a few reliable contacts I have a viewing through a French relocation agent with a VIP client.
This morning I make a couple of house visits to drop in welcome gifts to my new tenants. Happy tenants and landlords are definitely the highlight of this job. Back to the office and I have an offer from my VIP. He is in London for the next three years to set up a luxury brand in couture fashion. The Onslow Gardens property is full of natural light, it’s traditional with a modern twist and is in a very convenient location. Looks like we should close on the deal today - just in time for the weekend. I leave on a high, just in time for the last showing of Planet of the Apes, though when I come out at midnight there are five missed calls from the VIP’s partner with questions about wardrobe space. The working week of an estate agent does not stop at 6pm on a Friday! 
  • Gabriella Wilcken is an associate at Strutt & Parker’s lettings department in Chelsea (020 7589 9966).

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