Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

A Fitzrovia estate agent is doing the quarterly check on all the keys they're responsible for and dines out with his longest serving tenant
Diary of an estate agent
© Weef

It’s a few weeks since I completed my half marathon. The experience was hugely rewarding, raising £4,160 for Great Ormond Street children’s hospital, beating my target of £1,500 and reminding me how privileged I am to live and work in such an amazing city.

I arrive at work today, my eyes still watering from the high figures we achieved last week. Property price rises over the last 18 months are remarkable and there’s little sign of this trend faltering, but you never really know for sure. Although central London properties experience peaks and troughs, as physical assets they will always have value. Compared to stocks, which are volatile, the risk is much lower, so I can see why they’re so sought after.

Today I value an entire building in Soho with habitable upper rooms that have lain empty for 10 years. It is amazing situations like this still occur. I advise the owners on the best course of action and I am sure they’ll be very satisfied, given the exceptional rent prices we have been achieving.

I arrive at work to find that my trusty PA, Jane, has bought me my favourite smoothie. She goes through the business she’s been dealing with recently. I’m blessed to have someone so efficient so I can spend more time with clients and customers.

I walk past several sites today that have developments planned for the near future. Ridgeford Properties was recently announced as the chosen buyer for developing Moxon Street car park in Marylebone. I’m looking forward to its proposal for this space, particularly as it is opposite my son’s school. Great Portland Estates has also received planning approval to redevelop Rathbone Place, which will include 42,000sq ft of retail, 217,000sq ft of offices and 162 apartments in the heart of the West End. This developer, too, has produced some outstanding local schemes.

Every year our longest-serving tenant comes in to sign, then we grab a quick lunch. I enjoy hearing how her career has blossomed and she’s fun too. I remember her as a young Spanish student looking to secure a flat in a portered block for added security. Nine years later, she’s in the same flat and every year threatens to buy but ends up renewing. Will this be the year? I’ll let you know!

It’s our important quarterly key reconciliation today, which ensures all keys we are responsible for are secure. I’m reminded of a “lost and found” incident when I first started as an agent — putting a set of keys on the dashboard of my car, one slipped off the ring and down the heater grills. Fortunately, the landlord replaced the key but a week later another car bumped mine and, as if by magic, the lost key fell out of the heating system and landed at my feet.

We’ve been recommended to a gentleman who is showing me round his father’s two-bedroom flat. I measure up and take time to explain the market and how the selling process works, as it has been a while since his father moved — the son is 65 and the father is 99.

Halloween last week produced no trick or treaters. With a high density of flats, I think the concept is lost in central London. I was armed with treats in readiness — but my son has since profited.

One of our landlords, for whom we manage multiple properties, previously told me she doesn’t keep her agents for very long as they normally do something wrong. Having acted for her for five years now, we must be doing well. She calls me and I pre-empt her, joking we haven’t had “that” conversation yet. She jovially says that “unfortunately” she has “nothing to complain about” — a huge compliment.

Our accounts manager, Nicole Lomas, is celebrating her 10-year anniversary this week. She always works extremely hard and her conscientiousness is second to none. It’s time to head for a drink with the team to celebrate her milestone.

Jonathan Hudson is a director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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