Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

Our Fitzrovia agent spends his days in back-to-back meetings and deals with an elderly client who goes body boarding during his property hunt
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Diary of an estate agent
© Weef
Mondays always start with a morning meeting. I share my findings with the team and run through customer questionnaires. These are sent to all customers, regardless of whether we end up dealing with them to find, sell or let a property. We’ve got lots of good feedback, which is very pleasing. Hannah, our property manager, receives a special mention — her job is one of the hardest as people only ever call with maintenance issues, so if she is getting great feedback, it means our landlords and tenants are happy.

I receive a friendly call from one of my old clients asking me for an update on the value of his freehold property, which consists of a shop and two upper-floor flats. We have let and managed his property for many years and have never let him down. Prices in the area have increased since we last valued his property 18 months ago, so I am confident the latest valuation will bring a smile to his face. I get a letter prepared and send it over to him.

My diary is full with back-to-back meetings today. One of these extends into lunch with a commercial agent I met a few weeks ago, who is a real character. I wanted to meet him as he has many years’ experience and an exceptional record in the market. We both know the right way to do business, versus cheap short cuts that are bound to return to haunt you.

We end up at his favourite café, before I return to a long list of appointments. I will be sharing the tips I had from him with my team in my next Monday morning meeting.

My freeholder calls me to check on the advice to sell his shop and two flats in three separate parts. I reassure him and explain that the value of the units separately is higher than if they were sold as one investment. I know he wants to offer the shopkeeper a long lease and I therefore suggest he offers him first refusal on that, along with the flat above.

He thanks me for my honesty and says he will update me once he has spoken to the shopkeeper. He goes on to tell me he is off paddle-boarding on the Solent — not bad for someone aged 70-plus. I have always wanted to try this myself and now I have no excuse.

As I arrive at the office, our property manager Hannah is dealing with an unhappy pair of tenants who have woken up to a leak at their flat. She gets them to explain the situation fully and calms them down expertly. She explains exactly how the problem will be resolved and then immediately contacts the relevant contractors. She understands the tenants’ needs and this is an almighty asset.

My favourite day of the week has arrived — not because it is the weekend tomorrow but because it means the first coffee of the week for me. I abstain the rest of the week so when Friday comes, it adds to my excitement when I get back from the gym with my double espresso.

The first thing on my to-do list is to call to get an update from the freeholder. It’s the best outcome for him — the shopkeeper wants to keep the shop and the flat directly above, and we are to look after the sale of the remaining top -floor flat. I am delighted for my client, and for my sales team, as they get another new instruction to offer to our long list of waiting buyers. Although the team has been breaking records for prices achieved in the local area, instructions have been hard to come by. With money cheap to borrow, many flat owners are holding on to their property and purchasing another home.

I ask our client how the paddle-boarding went. He says it was tough but the instructor advised him to practise by lying down in the living room on his tummy then standing up on one leg as quickly as he can without falling over. Watch out coffee table, and the dog.

At close of play, it’s time to head out for a few drinks to round off the week. Having been in the area so long, we know loads of local business owners and residents and, as ever, we end up bumping into some of them. We trade stories about what’s going on in our neighbourhood, and it’s a great way of keeping up with local gossip.

Jonathan Hudson is the founder of Hudsons Property in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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