Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

Our Fitzrovia agent spends his week chasing a mortgage survey and notices the increasing demand for property by French homebuyers
Diary of an estate agent
© Weef

Some days it can take me 10 minutes to walk down the street to the office as locals stop to chat. Today I bump into a barber we found premises for, then a famous restaurant owner stops to ask for a property market update. He has recommended clients to me who dine at his restaurants and we are pleased to reciprocate. It’s really important to connect with businesses in the areas we cover. Owners who have rented a shop, restaurant or office locally often come to us when looking for a home close to their businesses.

Within the past week, the owner of a well-known Italian restaurant has had an offer accepted on the flat he is living in. He has twice rented the same flat through us but has been looking to buy in the block for 10 years. A tough two-week exchange deadline was set by the landlord. A week in, I have not had a mortgage survey — I will need to do a lot of chasing.

I arrive at the office this morning to the sound of my French-speaking senior lettings negotiator, Sandrine Locatelli, chatting away enthusiastically to a lady who was recommended to us by an existing French tenant, who Sandrine found a property for. It’s always great to have people recommend us.

There has been a huge influx of French people coming to the UK, and it is showing no signs of stopping, particularly with the higher tax rates over there.

Sandrine is popular, as she has built up a reputation for being very patient and able to explain the differences between the lettings process here compared with France.

We are halfway through the week and I still haven’t had a survey on the Italian restaurant owner’s purchase. So I need to make some calls to find out whether there is an alternative to a mortgage for him, and if he has the funds to buy, in view of the fact that we won’t get a mortgage by the end of the week. The landlord is absolutely steadfast in his wish to get this done by Friday and the lawyers have all the documentation in place and ready to sign.

I am called to a house in Marylebone that has been owned by the same family for many years. The owner is not happy with her existing agent. She feels her house has been undervalued. Our inspection backs her opinion, as it is an unusual home with quirky features.

I confirm our valuation, which is 10 per cent higher than the previous agent had suggested, and agree instructions to act on her behalf to aim to get her the best price for her property.

Today is the deadline for the deal on the flat for the Italian restaurant owner. The clock is ticking but I manage to get in touch and he confirms that his solicitor has the funds in place to exchange contracts — although there are still a few niggling legal issues to resolve.

The viewings on the Marylebone house instruction are going well, too, and we already have a second viewing booked for early next week.

Judging by the viewings so far I am confident we will get the owner a great price. It shows how important it is to get more than one valuation for your property. At the end of the day, good news comes for the Italian restaurant owner as I receive a call from the seller’s lawyer. He’s ringing to confirm that the 10-year wait is over at long last. The restaurateur invites me to share a drink with him and his wife at one of his restaurants. What a great end to the week.

Jonathan Hudson is the founder of Hudsons Property in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 277).

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