Diary of an estate agent: falling for a sale

An enlightened buyer will fall for this place. But not as this Fitzrovia agent did...
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With a successful January under our belts, I am sticking to my new year resolution to be more organised and to encourage fresh ideas and plenty of motivation among the team.
As always, I have a morning meeting with the staff but the people in the hotel opposite must think we’re bonkers, as we have an energetic warm-up with exercises to get the blood circulating before discussing figures, new ideas and suggested improvements.
The sales team are today concentrating on unearthing more properties for sale for our worldwide buyers. The problem is that with so many forecasts suggesting growth again this year, not many people are inclined to sell. If interest rates rise we certainly don’t expect the masses to be rushing to sell — but it might slightly ease the present lack of available properties.
We receive some good news from a seller who previously went with another agent who gave them a higher valuation than ours, even though we provided proof our assessment was based on market data and demand. After weeks of low viewings, the seller instructs us to handle the sale after all. It is important when marketing your home to get the best possible price, but you have to be wary, because the initial golden time of marketing — normally the first four weeks — could be hindered by the property being labelled as overpriced.
My day starts with a viewing at a freehold property nearby which is not very well-lit. Having been to the place a few times before, I know the pitfalls well and guide the buyers around carefully, pointing out an easy-to-miss step to avoid any embarrassing tumbles. I fail to heed my own advice, however, and as I follow the prospective buyer I miss the step and hit the floor, much to their amusement.
I attend a planning meeting this morning for a high-end residential scheme that we will be instructed to sell. The local property company developing these apartments has been amazing, spending a lot of time and effort to ensure every detail is finished to the highest standard. I am in love with all the flats and have been really involved in the process — they are going to be superb.
Dealing with another matter, I make a small iPhone-related faux pas. A client asks me to send her an email with some information, so I hurriedly punch in her email address and copy myself in.
I’m hurrying along in the rain as I type “HOTs” — short for heads of terms of the agreed offer — and send it off, unaware that it has been autocorrected. It’s not until I get back to the office that I notice the email has the subject line “Hotty”. My heart sinks but I send the client another email explaining what has happened. Fortunately, she thinks it’s all hilarious. Moral of the story: check and double-check before sending from your phone.
We receive a recommendation to help a young buyer who is focused on living in central London but has so far been unable to get on the housing ladder. She scours the online property portals on a daily basis but hasn’t had any luck, as buyers often scoop up prime central London homes before they are even marketed.
This is such a common problem nowadays as the race to buy gets more frantic. Buyers have to make a special effort to be first in an agent’s mind, so when the next property appears “off-market” the agent knows who to call first. We have already informed our determined flat-hunter about a couple of potential places, so hopefully we will be the ones to bring her search to a successful conclusion soon.
All in all, it has been a solid week and we’ve got plenty of offers to tie up and discuss at Monday morning’s meeting — after we’ve amused the hotel guests opposite with our bonkers warm-up, of course.
  • Jonathan Hudson is a director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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