I arrive at my office in Beauchamp Place to find that the upstairs flat, which is being refurbished, has sprung a leak. Our carpet is soaked and water is dripping on to the filing cabinets. Not a good start. The builders come down and promise to fix the leak, leaving me to clean up.
We receive an offer from a keen foreign buyer on a well-refurbished Knightsbridge house that we haven’t even started marketing. It’s a very busy market for prime property and our international buyers can’t move fast enough. Luckily, we are sole agents so it’s all under control.
I get a phone call from the buyer saying they’ve just seen the house on another agent’s website. Here we go...
A busy day continuing negotiations on the Knightsbridge house regarding exclusivity contracts and non refundable deposits. Quite hard to be heard with the mayhem the carpet-cleaning machine is causing in the office. I take the opportunity to move the other furniture and get all the carpet cleaned, but it’s a bit of a madhouse.
Later I visit a 10,000sq ft freehold house near the Natural History Museum. It’s owned by a Saudi gentleman and is being refurbished. My life as a Knightsbridge agent should come with a health warning, as I spend a great deal of time climbing dangerous stairs on building sites in high heels. Thankfully no hard hats today, but I still have to navigate my way up five treacherous floors. The Polish builder offers me a cup of tea. It’s freezing and I can’t feel my toes.
Dash to Harrods to buy a birthday card and bump into David Beckham on the escalator. He is friendly and I manage to orchestrate a photo of us. My friends think my life is like this all the time and call me “agent to the stars”. I wish it was Beverly Hills — it would be a lot warmer.
I attend a valuation with our in-house professional valuer for a top-floor duplex flat at a salubrious Knightsbridge address. An A-list client of a different nature this time, as he shares the name of a deceased leader of a high-profile terrorist group. We have to climb more dangerous stairs in the dark to get out on to the flat roof. Stupendous views of the communal gardens but it’s blowing a gale. I go back to the office to start to think how high the pounds per square foot value can be.
We recently sold an unmodernised flat in an aggressive sealed bid situation. It’s a moment’s stroll from Harrods and was owned by an elderly artist lady who recently died. The flat was crammed full of her paintings and personal effects which had mostly been removed, but I go to let the “man with a van” in to dispose of the last remaining bits of junk.
I contemplate how the new owners will reconfigure the space as I watch said man with a van heartlessly demolishing the late owner’s headboard and throwing her rugs over the balcony. She lived here for 50 years. I’m scared by the thought of dying alone in a cold flat. Oh well it could be worse; at least she lived in Knightsbridge.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell pop in to our office for a chat about renting a flat as a cheaper option to using hotel suites when in London. I’m clearly living up to my reputation but resist the temptation to get out my phone for a photo.
Everything always seems to come to a head on a Friday and today is no exception. I’m still negotiating exclusive rights on my Knightsbridge house and acting as referee between squabbling solicitors.
I get an asking-price offer on a flat that’s being marketed by several agents. The seller doesn’t want to accept as she has already agreed an offer, despite the fact that mine is £50,000 higher. I try to reason with her that this is a large sum but she is unyielding. I suppose its small fry for Knightsbridge clients, after all. I resolve to try again on Monday.
I finally get to visit a chiropodist on Beauchamp Place and not surprisingly it turns out my sore toe is due to a chilblain — all those freezing building sites no doubt. She puts on a dressing and tells me to keep it warm. I can’t get my killer heel back on — this is really going to cramp my style.
Back in the office, I’m desperately awaiting the end of the day to speak to a New York client who is six hours behind. We finally agree a deal and I sigh with relief. However, the deal isn’t done until exchange of contracts, and most property transacting involves dramas all the way. Talking of drama, the warm Hollywood Hills are beckoning — this toe is killing me.
* Anita Sanford is an associate at Carter Jonas’s Knightsbridge and Chelsea office (020 7584 7029)