Diary of an estate agent: Fitzrovia

This week a Charlotte Street estate agent ponders the effects of George Osborne's Autumn Statement and navigates the post-Christmas party crowds.
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December was an incredibly hectic month for us with the sales team busy completing deals as buyers looked to move in before Christmas. 

As always we are expecting a very busy start to the year as many people make New Year’s resolutions to move home in 2014. Today we are calling our clients to see where they are with their plans. 

I am pondering the effects of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement announcement that overseas investors will be required to pay capital gains tax (CGT) on profits they make from the sale of homes. Some may decide to sell beforehand so 2014 will be an interesting year. 

The debate surrounding CGT is a compelling one - was it ever fair that overseas investors were exempt from CGT when UK based investors are expected to pay it? Perhaps the introduction of CGT to foreign buyers will give UK buyers a more equal footing where they will have greater chances to buy off-plan rather than buying the resale once a profit is made. 

Whilst en route to a valuation I found out from the porter at a large block of flats by Tottenham Court Road that an entire floor were recently evacuated due to a fire. It appears that one tenant had left a lamp on near a curtain and set their flat alight, making the whole floor unliveable for some time. This is a good reminder for us all about safety at home as one simple oversight can change your life and the lives of others around you. 

On another note, I was looking at some statistics today and found that 66% of buyers now start their property search online. This begs the question: is a high street office essential, or is the pull of static details in an agent’s window still too good to pass by without stopping to check the latest prices? Answers on a postcard please!

December brought lots of invitations to client drinks and dinners. I had to carefully plan my diary and watch my waistline as in the first week I ended up having two three-course meals in one day. If I carried on like that there would not have been any spare buckle notches left on my belt!  

After leaving a client’s post-Christmas drinks party this evening, I had a couple of moral tests. First I helped a well-dressed man who had had a few too many - and was lying on the pavement unwilling to move -  to get back on his feet and helped him to the station, homeward bound. I also diverted the attention of a man who had taken a shine to my colleague Simon and invited him back for a hog roast with all the trimmings. The situation was averted and my good deeds were done for the day.

We completed on a house and exchanged keys this morning. The instruction came about after we were recommended by a client of ours who was parking his car at the airport. He was chatting to the valet who mentioned his neighbour had a house in the West End and was not happy with his agent. He recommended Hudsons and now we have achieved a better price and a smooth sale.

I am satisfied, we have had a hard but successful year. We achieved record breaking prices for our customers in 2013 and are looking to build on these successes in 2014. So do I detox in January? I am sure I can find a good excuse for drinks at the Charlotte Street Hotel but mocktails or cocktails? That is the question.

Jonathan Hudson, Director, Hudsons Property based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277)

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