Diary of an estate agent: Covent Garden

Our Covent Garden agent spends his week viewing brand new properties and competing in the office ping pong tournament
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Diary of an estate agent
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The team briefing for the week ahead begins promptly at 8.30am in the boardroom of our Covent Garden office. The meeting is far more exciting than usual with the introduction of a new sales negotiator, Lucie. She will fit in well with the competitive sales team as she has three brothers.

We take her out to view some properties — straight in at the deep end. My main effort for the day is searching the secretive off-market property sector for a high-net worth private client with a budget between £8 million and £15 million. Then I receive a phone call providing four addresses. Immediately, I call my client to discuss viewing arrangements for Friday.

Once again the day begins in the boardroom, this time with some Russian clients. I have arranged an introduction of a new 30-apartment development in Covent Garden for a Russian buying agent. He has a number of clients based in Moscow who are interested in buying properties in Covent Garden.

Armed with A1 architect drawings, helmets and wearing high-vis, we leave to walk to the development, Hop House on Bedfordbury. After a swift lunch with my Russian contact and a number of phone calls, we receive an offer on two apartments on the second floor.

The offer is put to the developer, but board approval is required before I can get back to the potential buyers. It’s a fantastic development, so no wonder they are keen. I leave the office on time as our EA Shaw seven-a-side footballers are playing CBRE Residential and I’ve been drafted in as the team has been hit by injury.

The central London residential team meets up for a development and resales strategy session. We are often joined by a guest speaker to brief us on the market, or to provide legal or good practice advice. Today we hear from a highly motivated solicitor who is keen to discuss the details of the reservation process.

My afternoon is spent with a Middle Eastern family who are looking to acquire multiple apartments in one building. I find the perfect opportunity for them, in a development which is currently under construction in W1. I usher the family round the busy site and I can tell that they will buy.

On my return to the office, I receive a call from the developer of Hop House, who has considered the Russian offer from yesterday. The negotiations begin and within the hour, I have agreed the deal and sent out the reservation form.

This morning starts off with a tour of five properties for a British couple. They both work in the legal profession and have requested that we target Lincoln’s Inn Fields for the prime location. Fortunately, they have their own car and driver which whisks us around in two hours. Once back in the office, it’s back on the phone chasing solicitors and ensuring all deals previously agreed are progressing at speed.

I have a viewing request for a property in The Russell on the Piazza in Covent Garden, which we visit within 30 minutes of the inquiry.

This evening’s social event is a ping pong tournament against our colleagues in the planning team — with some very enthusiastic play.

The day begins with a message from the Middle Eastern family I met on Wednesday. They would like to meet to discuss their options, so I book the boardroom and prepare the sales information to include the reservation forms.

They arrive on time and we quickly establish the best apartments to suit their requirements. After an hour of negotiations, we agree the sale/purchase of three apartments for just over £5.75 million. Then Lucie and I set off to meet my private client to begin the off-market tour. We view four exciting freehold properties in two of London’s prime residential squares.

The client is impressed with the options and requires the weekend to consider. To celebrate another successful week, the newly expanded sales team and I retire to a tucked-away rooftop bar in Covent Garden for a glass of bubbles.

James Mashiter is a sales negotiator at EA Shaw, part of CBRE, in Covent Garden (020 7420 3050).

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