Diary of an estate agent: East Sheen

Easing deals through by staying in contact with busy buyers, sellers, surveyors and solicitors involves a tricky conversation about light fittings this week.
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It’s 8.02am and there’s only one thing for it — a double espresso. I start the day by following up with the buyers I took out to see properties at the weekend. One of them puts forward an asking price offer, so that’s a good start to the week. My next call is to the seller — this is the fun bit.
I’m then showing 15 new buyers a selection of our properties, and I’m also working on two sales that are due to have their surveys today.
Interestingly, both surveyors mention that they are snowed under with mortgage valuations and one declares that he is booked so far in advance, he is having to turn work away. It is a sure sign that the property market is moving in the right direction.
All my efforts today are dedicated to chasing — which means making as many calls as possible and sending emails to all buyers, sellers, solicitors and mortgage brokers involved in each chain.
I am trying to keep every sales transaction in the pipeline moving forward so that our clients will be able to exchange contracts in their desired time frames. This is without doubt the hardest and most stressful part of the entire process for buyer, seller and agent.
For the most part, everything is how it should be, with the inevitable awkward conversation or two — “Are the sellers really taking the light fittings?” and “Can we come to view the property for the twentieth time?”
The week is flying by. Today, Rightmove’s house price index reports an 8.3 per cent increase in the Richmond borough — great news for sellers, but not so great for buyers. Nonetheless, this is representative of the mood in the post-election housing market. Prices are rising so buyers need to get on to the property ladder sooner rather than later.
We take on an amazing new property to sell — a four-bedroom house with access to a garden — and within 20 minutes we have booked eight viewings, four for this afternoon.
Meetings with local developers and with buyers seeking investment opportunities are filling the day. We have some great properties with huge potential, including one with planning permission for a generous extension. It came on to the market yesterday and we already have three interested parties. It has been a while since we had so much interest from buy-to-let investors. This indicates a stable market.

This morning is all about sorting out the diary for Saturday. We are going to be frantic, so I make a quick call to the wife to pre-empt the likely overtime. As a new father I am learning that it’s better to give notice for these things.
My appointments range from East Sheen to Kew to Barnes and back again. Co-ordinating the day is a logistical nightmare.
Friday afternoons are always spent tying up loose ends and updating clients on impending move-in or completion dates.
My final chat of the week is with a solicitor who is still in her office at 6.06pm, which is unheard of for a Friday. She tells me: “I’m not used to being this busy and the volume of cases coming through is off the scale.”
With so many positive signs, for a brief moment I consider buying an investment flat in the area. Then it’s straight back to reality as I make my way home to spend the evening with my wife and newborn baby. 
  • Paul Trafford is a senior sales negotiator at Marsh & Parsons in East Sheen (020 8878 2828; ptrafford@marshandparsons.co.uk)

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