Diary of an estate agent: Finchley

Open days, children at work and gift-wrapped mortgage brokers
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A double-shot latte gets me ready for our morning meeting to review the weekend's activity. There's great news as we have an asking price offer on a three-bedroom house on Highwood Avenue. The buyers, shortly expecting their first baby, are a lovely couple.

It's a sound long-term investment as it falls within the catchment of Northside Primary School and is on one of the most popular roads in Finchley. The only catch is that they want to exchange and complete in a fortnight. On the positive side, there is no chain involved.


The survey for the Highwood Avenue house takes place today. I keep my fingers crossed as I head out to value a five-bedroom Edwardian house on Nether Street, with a spacious garden and double garage. It goes well and after awarding me the instruction, the vendor asks to discuss the finer points of the contract in the bedroom. My mild panic subsides when I remember that the bedroom's large former walk-in wardrobe is now a study.

I leave, tapping the number of a potential buyer into my BlackBerry. I am certain this is the house for his family, especially as it has the all-important garage for his sports car.

This week we are launching two new properties to the market and both vendors are keen to sell quickly so we are having two open days this Saturday. The sales team get on the phone to call potential buyers, and the tweets go out.


I have an exciting day ahead with plenty of appointments and valuations to get to, but not before a quick visit from my wife and five-year-old son.

Fiona, our lettings administrator, is bursting to show our son around the branch. Suddenly there's a thud, followed by a little voice whispering: "Did my Daddy hear that?" Fiona replies: "Your Daddy hears everything." He has pushed over a tall stack of Completely London, our magazine. But luckily he isn't underneath it! Time for school, I think.


I am called to value a four-bedroom home in North Finchley and David, our senior mortgage broker, joins me. We are welcomed by the owner and her three young boys who are excitedly playing around the front reception room. "It's the little one's fourth birthday party today so excuse the mess," we hear as we step over decorations, gifts and wrapping paper.

The mother asks David to entertain the children while she shows me around and I value the house. He is eager to please and despite not having children himself, agrees to help. Once we complete the tour of the property we arrive back to find my colleague gift-wrapped and taped to the chair. The little rascals jump out from behind the curtains and yell: "Surprise!" Thankfully he's a great sport.

Back in the office and there's fantastic news — the survey on Highwood Avenue is fine. I speak to the solicitors and it is full steam ahead for next Friday.


During the morning coffee run, I bump into a friend who has recently moved office to Finchley and he is looking for a house for him and his brood. I describe a beautiful four-bedroom house on the High Road which we took on last week. He seems very excited and wants to view this afternoon. Back at my desk, I call the vendor and a viewing is arranged for 3pm today.

I spend the afternoon preparing for tomorrow's two open days. We have a great list of viewings and our clients are keen to have a look. But now, it's off for a quick after-work drink before heading home for story time.

* Rodney Symington is assistant sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward's Finchley branch (020 3280 3525).

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