Diary of an estate agent: Knightsbridge

British buyers are back and this estate agent takes a City dash on their trusty moped.
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Clients and buyers in Knightsbridge include some of the most influential and interesting people, from all over the world. Over the past few years there has been a huge amount of press about overseas buyers in the area — and indeed, 76 per cent of our purchasers were international last year. However, over the past few months we have certainly noticed that British buyers are back.
Today we receive a number of enquiries from City bankers looking to take their money out of the stock market and expand their property investments. Sometimes they send their very discerning wives around to view a property first, only coming along themselves for the second viewing if it passes this important litmus test.
The morning starts positively, exchanging contracts on a small townhouse in Rutland Street for more than £500,000 above the asking price of £2.5 million. The vendor is an elderly lady who has lived there for over 35 years and is naturally astounded by both the buzz we created and the price we’ve achieved.
After 64 viewings in two days, we had eight offers on her property to sift through. She sensibly listened to our advice and started with a reasonable asking price, which meant the house attracted a lot of attention and this drove the price up and up.
We start viewings today on a new instruction in Cadogan Gardens, a flat with a lease of only 11 years. It can be very tricky to market a property like this, but by targeting some of our most savvy contacts we find a buyer after just nine viewings. The lease extension alone may cost £2.3 million and there are very few buyers who have the foresight to spend this sort of money on top of the purchase price.
Strutt & Parker has 10 offices across prime central London and we try to utilise this network as much as possible. It’s great when a string of deals lines up between different teams in the firm.
I sold a flat on behalf of a high-profile TV presenter a couple of weeks ago who went on to buy something with our colleagues in West Chelsea, and this afternoon I discover the person who sold to the presenter then bought through our Chelsea office in Cadogan Street. We celebrate the successful chain with a drink at The Thomas Cubitt.
I make a mad dash to the City on my moped to iron out a difficult sale. We’ve been directly instructed by a bank as a property has gone into receivership. The paperwork is sorted out but ensuring it all goes through on time is tricky. Knightsbridge is never predictable.
  • Bertie Hare is an associate at Strutt & Parker’s Knightsbridge office. Call 020 7235 9959

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