First viewing of the week is a glorious family home on the Hyde Park Estate. It’s priced at around £5 million and the owners are away on holiday — the perfect time for me to schedule viewings.
The vendors have emailed me to say that while they are away they would only like viewings to be conducted if the house is spotless. But entering the property, it seems they must have been late for their flight. Two hours of making beds, cleaning surfaces and general tidying later, the potential buyers arrive. As we are touring the place I overhear one of them saying: “Whoever they use, they must have an excellent cleaning company.” If only they knew…
It’s only a short, sunny walk from the viewing back to our office in Albion Street. Being so close to Hyde Park is wonderful — for our clients and for us. When I arrive back at base, a long-standing rental client emails to confirm his tenancy in a lovely flat with views right over Hyde Park.
He has come back to us every year for several years, moving throughout W1 and W2. Last year he even signed a tenancy from trusting our judgment and a few photos.
I have been recommended to a very pleasant German couple who are relocating to London for work, and I have arranged for them to view several properties around Marylebone and Connaught Village today, before their afternoon flight back to Frankfurt.
By complete coincidence every single one of the homes I show them, from Victorian mansion flats to a mews house, has a bathroom hidden behind wardrobe doors. The couple say they love the quirkiness and character of London property and choose a regal apartment just off Gloucester Place — complete with “hidden” bathroom.
After a quick meeting with the heads of departments at both of our offices, I receive a call from an elderly gentleman and his wife who live in a stucco-fronted block near Marble Arch. They have seen that the apartment below theirs is for sale through us and have decided that they don’t want anyone moving in below them. They agree to buy the apartment.
The Apple Apartments just off Baker Street, launched in 2013 on the former site of the Apple Boutique that was owned by The Beatles, has been an extremely successful letting scheme for our client.
This morning, as I go through some mid-tenancy reviews for the apartments, I notice that three of the five flats are still occupied by the original tenants. In the afternoon I have a FaceTime viewing with a long-standing client. It seems odd walking around a house and talking at my phone, but he agrees that he likes the place enough to fly in from Qatar next week especially to view it in person.
After dinner at an excellent bistro in Baker Street, I realise I have left my coat in the office, so I slip back there and find two of our lettings team still hard at work getting a tenant moved in. They are a credit to the company.
Curiously, one of our sales managers has just reported that his buyer pulled out of a deal for a £9 million apartment facing Hyde Park due to its “bad feng shui”. There are some things that can’t be helped — however, between the manager and myself, we find a stunning lateral apartment a few roads away that has the correct feng shui for our buyer. We all breathe a huge sigh of relief.
I go for a quick session at the gym after work, and get back to my locker to discover I have had several international missed calls. An investor has decided to go ahead with a deal to buy several apartments in the same converted house.
Unfortunately, she has not taken into account the time difference and it is close to one in the morning before we get a price agreed between the seller and her.
Happily I only have internal meetings to deal with today, as it has been a long week.
After getting updates from our private sales division — they have been tasked with making discreet enquiries for a palatial family home just behind Hyde Park — and going through our next month’s marketing strategy, I can leave the office in time to have a drink with friends in the glorious late spring sunshine.
- Martin Bikhit is managing director of Kay & Co, with offices in Hyde Park and Marylebone (020 7262 2030; www.kayandco.com).