Another hectic Saturday needs to be unwound, giving feedback to our clients from well over 30 viewings and we already have two offers on a house we launched only five days ago. Loads of fresh enquiries too. Busy Mondays usually set the tone for the week.
Arrive at a house in the afternoon to a heck of a scene: blood and fur flying as I pull into the driveway. The owner’s two terriers are locked in combat. The older dog, Maximus, has his brother Rocky’s jaws clamped around his neck. Thankfully a quick dunk in the kitchen sink sorts them out, and a cup of tea calms the poor owner down. Apparently Rocky has only just had the gentleman’s operation and obviously hasn’t taken it too well — can’t say I blame the poor chap.
Out most of the morning giving advice to a couple on what floorplan tweaks and extensions might be best to go for from a re-sale point of view. It’s always interesting to see how people want to evolve a house and give them a view on what the market is looking for. Planners can be fickle in our area, with the quirks of three local authorities to deal with.
Sale agreed from the weekend, after giving both bidding parties Monday evening to consider their best offer — our client is delighted with a fair few more pennies in the retirement pot than they had thought possible.
I’m seeing things from the other side of the fence at the moment, too. My wife and I are buying together with the proceeds from both our recent sales and I can see some of the frustrations people have with the process and characters involved. Keeping people calm under pressure while helping them make good, clearly informed decisions is what I always try to achieve.
My wife reminds me of this as the frustration mounts with our purchase dragging on for yet another week. Oh the joys of being in a chain.
I show a large penthouse apartment this morning to a lovely, chatty New Yorker. The seller lives in Geneva and gave us the keys last month when she was over, saying: “I’m never there.” I ring the doorbell out of habit, and then open the front door to see her perfectly silhouetted in the bedroom door — with little to protect her modesty.
After a blur of activity she emerges cool, calm and collected. I apologise but she simply roars with laughter, especially when the New Yorker turns to me and says: “Wellington, you sure show me some sights.”
My favourite day of the week by far and not just because we have bacon sarnies during our morning team meeting. Friday is when people like to make decisions, before the weekend starts, be it exchanging of contracts, making an offer or confirming a viewing.
Completions also usually happen on a Friday and we finally get the green light from the solicitors to release keys to the buyers of a lovely country house in one of our outlying villages. It has all the character, land and views you could wish for. The charming vendors drop off their keys with no little emotion after 36 years there. Thanks are exchanged all round; the sale went so smoothly and it has been a real pleasure to act for them.
The buyers are genuinely excited to be collecting the keys and clearly can’t wait to get into the house. They depart with a bottle of Strutt & Parker champagne to toast their first moments in their new home.
Getting some excellent interest on poor old Rocky’s house now, too. A couple viewed it for the third time yesterday evening and the husband is clearly trying to muffle his wife’s enthusiasm on the car telephone as he takes his first shots in the negotiating process. I suggest they reflect on their opening offer as we have viewings booked at the house tomorrow. As I drive to my client’s house, the buyers call back with an offer at the guide price which she is delighted to accept. I’m not sure who’s happier — me, my client or Rocky.
Wellington Williams is a partner at Strutt & Parker’s branch in Haslemere, Surrey (01428 661077)