Diary of an estate agent: country homes

Our country house agent starts his week viewing manor houses in Wiltshire and hands over the keys to a client's dream home
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Diary of an estate agent
© Weef
It’s an early start to the week with two viewings starting at 8am at a manor house in Wiltshire. The key to this house is the setting, in gorgeous gardens, by park and woodland. We have the use of a Land Rover to drive the clients around, but with one buyer the usual route isn’t enough.

Before I know it, The Fast Show’s “let’s off-road” sketch is springing to mind as we disappear down a bank far steeper than anticipated. The hysterical giggles from his children in the back show they’re enjoying the outside tour much better than the inside one.

They love the house, too — children can often be the difference between deal or no deal. I return to our Cirencester office and spend the rest of the day following up on viewings and ringing newly registered buyers before driving home, catching up with our other regional offices and ensuring we are communicating on the properties our department is selling with them.

Every Tuesday morning, the day starts with a 7.30am team meeting in London to run through deals and properties. As this is the time when the whole team is together, we use this opportunity to discuss the business plan. This stage of the summer is a crucial time for us, as the previous four months are often our busiest.

Today is also a chance to organise everything for the completion on a house in Hampshire scheduled for later in the week.

The day finishes, rather unusually, with a photo shoot of the team for some forthcoming advertising. Pity the photographer who has to round up a dozen estate agents and persuade them to do what he wants while an audience of passers-by mounts up.

Back on the road, this time in Gloucestershire. Three clients to visit and discuss marketing campaigns with, and a look at what can be done to create interest for the right buyers. A lunch with a buying agent is interesting as always, hearing their view of the market, and what the competition is up to. They often try to do deals at this time of year — many top-end buyers are away on holiday, allowing an opportunity for the agents to close in on vendors wanting to sell before the summer is out.

It’s off to Hampshire this morning, where we are due to complete on the sale of a lovely former rectory. The buyer is absolutely delighted when I hand over the keys to his “dream home” and I’m soon back off to London. However, not before I collect the last few bits of furniture from the house for our clients. On the way back, I also pick up a credit card they left at a local garage. All part of the service!

Four meetings in London trying to close a deal: buyer — seller — lawyer — buyer...  deal! I try to walk between meetings, as not only does it give me time to think but I can also immediately relay information back to our clients without any interruptions. The mobile is permanently stuck to my ear during this exciting time. A quick sandwich and the welcome news of an exchange — a good way to end the week.

Edward Lucas is an associate in Strutt & Parker's country department (020 7318 5183).

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