Diary of an estate agent: Ealing

Investors are eager to complete as the stamp duty deadline looms and an office quiz gets everyone fired up...

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After the usual gossip from the weekend, our team discuss what is happening for the week ahead. We have lots of investors trying to complete before the new stamp duty kicks in on April 1 for people buying additional properties, so we have to ensure all is going smoothly with these transactions to meet the deadline.

One sale in particular is going to need extra attention as the seller will be overseas on business and it will make life much easier if we obtain the Management Pack before he goes.

By 9.15am the phones are ringing. I’m keen to hear staff on the phones — not emailing, but actually talking to buyers and sellers. By the end of the day we have four market appraisals booked in and receive three offers from weekend viewings. 

In estate agency, business can sometimes take many months, if not years to cultivate and this is definitely true of the clients who have just walked into the office. Over the past five years I have valued their property on a number of occasions. However, now is the right time to move, they tell me, as they have spotted their dream home in neighbouring Chiswick. 

They instruct us on the spot. Their home is beautiful and I know it will sell quickly. I speak to our sales team and  make arrangements for a visit and  professional photography, floorplan and Energy Performance Certificate, ready to get it on the market.

In the afternoon I head to a meeting with other Winkworth offices in west London to discuss a marketing campaign for the area with the help of our Mayfair marketing department. The great thing about owning my offices is that I can make decisions such as where it is best to target buyers, sellers and tenants, and that pays off for my clients by ensuring their properties are being seen by the right people. 

The office bell is ringing — what a great start to the day. My newest sales negotiator has just agreed a sale on a large four-bedroom semi that we have been marketing “low profile” only. The sellers are delighted as we have managed to negotiate a delayed completion for them, too, and have achieved close to the asking price of £1.8 million.

It must be a day for good news, as my Chiswick office calls to say we have finally exchanged on two mansion flats with a chain of six. I can hear the bells pealing in Chiswick from Ealing. Also this week, we’re going “live” on a totally renovated four-bedroom house and it would seem every other call is for a viewing on this property. Given the level of interest, we advise our seller to go to sealed bids.

Today I am over in our Chiswick office and there’s a real buzz in the air... probably helped by the new coffee machine we’ve just installed. After catching up with the staff, I am straight on the phone to the solicitor who is dealing with the buy-to-let property I was concerned about early in the week. Thankfully, the Management Pack for the seller going overseas has been sorted, so we are back on track to get everything completed by March 31. I call our client, who is very relieved. 

Later in the day I head to a market appraisal and meet a lovely elderly lady who wants to move back to her native Far East, having lived in this same road for over 50 years. I’m delighted to be instructed, but this is going to be a heart-wrenching move for her. 

I spend a couple of hours with her, listening to her stories about the neighbourhood and memories in the house. I leave fonder of the area than I was before... 

It’s “fun” Friday back at the Ealing branch, and one of my more extrovert negotiators takes to the floor to hold an office quiz that gets everyone fired up for the day. A “healthy” bacon butty and croissants are on hand.

Being the end of the week, the focus for my negotiators is on filling the diary for the day and the weekend ahead with viewings, while I take time out to visit one of my clients to update him on the marketing of his double-fronted detached house at £2,395,000.

The tension is mounting on the outcome of the sealed bids from earlier in the week. We receive six bids and achieve seven per cent over the asking price. One particular negotiator is, of course, very happy with this result — so the bells are ringing out loud.

  • Narendra Gandhi is director of Winkworth in Ealing & Acton and Chiswick (020 8896 0123).

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