Diary of an estate agent: Knightsbridge

A London estate agent is pleasantly surprised to discover a "secret city garden" in the middle of Knightsbridge
Diary of an estate agent cartoon


Having been contacted over the weekend by a long-standing Asian client confirming his arrival in London this week, I decide to get into the office early to set about arranging viewings.

Satisfied with having more than 10 properties to show him, all around the £8 million mark, I suddenly remember that this particular client does not like to be driven anywhere, so there’s a lot of walking involved.

I kick myself for wearing such painfully high heels and make a mental note, for the 1,000th time, to store some “just-in-case” flat shoes in the office. Thankfully, the viewings go without mishap, though the client isn’t bowled over by any of the properties.


One of my team is caught up in painstakingly renegotiating what we thought was a done deal on a £13 million apartment when, after three hours, a higher offer is put on the table. After some nail-biting phone calls our buyer decides to come up in price to seal the deal, on condition they exchange contracts immediately.

Fortunately, the vendor agrees and everyone’s stress levels lower slightly.
After all this excitement I’m left with five minutes to get to a valuation. In this area, it’s who you know that counts and, as I find out later, my colleague who arranged the valuation mentioned to the owners that as I’ve worked in the area for 30 years, it takes me a bit longer to get to an appointment as everyone wants to stop for a chat.

Today’s no exception. As the owner looks out of the window for me, there I am chatting to one of his neighbours.


I set off for a valuation very intrigued to see what the vendors have described as a “secret garden”. The house is so beautiful that I almost forget all about the garden — until I step out on to what I expect to be a modest patio — to find that it actually opens up into a huge outside space.

It turns out they’ve purchased the next-door neighbour’s garden, and now have the biggest and best plot on the road. Having seen and valued thousands of properties during my time in the business, my favourite instructions are always those that have something special about them — so I pray I get instructed to sell this one.


The day flies by and I am tying up loose ends when I get the call I was hoping for from yesterday’s vendor, appointing us to sell their property with the secret garden.

As I’m preparing to leave the office, I get a phone call from another vendor who is about to exchange contracts on his house, but has got cold feet.
I watch one after another of my colleagues leave as I try to settle his nerves, which I eventually do, and the contracts are finally exchanged at 9.25pm. Having already missed my Pilates class I decide to go home and relax with a glass of crisp white wine.   


My mobile phone rings early at home and wakes me. It is my Asian client calling me to make an offer £1 million over the asking price on a property he saw five months ago.

Knowing that the owner was looking to move overseas, I don’t hesitate to call him with details of the offer — only to hear an international ring tone. I guess this is one that will have to wait... until Monday.

Debra Stroud is director in the Knightsbridge office of Chesterton Humberts (020 7235 8090)

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