Diary of an estate agent: Kensington

A Kensington estate agent hunts for a home for a Parisian art collector and spots a young member of the royal family in Kensington Gardens
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Diary of an estate agent
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We kick-start the week with a breakfast meeting at our head office in Hill Street for everyone in the London residential department. We had a very strong 2012, and heads of departments speak to us about predictions and new projects. Everyone leaves all fired up and excited for the rest of the financial year ahead.

We launched a five-bedroom house to the market at the weekend on a sought-after street, and return to the office to find lots of email and website enquiries. By lunchtime we have six applicants and relocation agents lined up. The current tenant gives us restricted times for viewings, offering two two-hour slots each week, which heightens anticipation even further.

We start the day with an 8am meeting with all negotiators for sales and lettings for both the Kensington and Notting Hill offices. It is interesting to see how the market and trends in different London postcodes differ, but everyone is seeing activity increase as the weather improves.

I head to a gorgeous flat to meet an Italian family who are moving in today. I take them a card and bottle of champagne to welcome them to their new home. There are a few teething problems in that, due to the language barrier, they claim they didn’t realise the lift was not working.

I have the signed tenancy agreement to prove this was mentioned and detailed, and the managing agent is on hand to reassure them it will be up and running in a couple of weeks. It has been a busy day of viewings, so I decide to unwind by going for a run as I am in training for a 10km cross-country challenge.

I spend the morning touring properties with a Parisian art collector who says he can no longer afford to live in the French capital due to the hike in income tax. He is selling up and relocating to London, where he will rent while he looks for somewhere to buy.

He owns a prized Harley-Davidson motorbike and his main priority is a private garage for it, which makes his search slightly more challenging. It is a beautiful day and I cut through Kensington Gardens on the way back where, to my surprise and delight, I see a young royal playing with her adorable cocker spaniel in the park.

I have a couple moving into a newly refurbished flat in Holland Park tomorrow, funds have cleared in our account this morning and the tenancy agreement has been signed after much negotiation.

We receive a last-minute phone call from the new tenants to ask whether the landlord will accept their two caged birds, a parakeet and cockatoo. Luckily the landlord agrees, as we are too far along for him to pull out.

I head to an off-market property in the afternoon to meet an American lady, currently living in Chelsea. We have seen a growing trend in off-market rentals this year, with both landlords and applicants wanting privacy and security in their searches.

The girls in the office get very excited when one of our negotiators arrives to tell us he passed a famous footballer and his family, recently moved to Kensington, doing the school run. We are all extremely jealous.

Landlords and prospective tenants are keen to get offers agreed and signed. We see other agents wandering to the pub for long lunches — however, Friday afternoons are always busy for us, with people tying up loose ends before the weekend.

The week finishes on a high, with two asking-price offers on the large house launched earlier this week. We have a very happy client on our hands, who is going to make his decision once he has met both applicants next week. This should see the start of the busy spring/summer family house market, and reinforces the importance of pricing correctly and showing properties in immaculate condition.

Claire Gamble is lettings negotiator at Strutt & Parker's office in Kensington (020 7938 3866).

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