Diary of an estate agent: last-gasp deal is roaring success

I'm off to Hong Kong, where I meet a lady who needs someone to let and manage a fabulous house in London. We’ve met before, but now is my chance to persuade her we’re the best firm for the job...
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First phone call of the day comes when I am still in the gym. It’s from a search agent desperate for a rental property for an important client. I have the perfect apartment in mind, but it’s on sale for a cool £30 million, so I call the vendor on the off-chance they will rent it out. 

Frustratingly, they’ve already agreed terms to rent to another party. However, that deal is looking shaky, so we have until close of play to better it. 

We show the flat to the client, who agrees to meet the asking price of £20,000 per week. The offer is accepted — provided the deposit is in by 6pm. But it has to be wired from Switzerland and there is a chance it won’t clear in time. 

The race is on. It’s 5pm and our prospective tenant is at London Zoo. I dispatch my colleague, Murdi, and — with minutes to spare — the agreement is signed by the lion’s den. 


A long-standing Russian client is with us for a meeting today. A man of few words, he is here to invest £10 million to add to his portfolio. We have organised a tour of what will become some of London’s finest addresses, but are, for now, expensive holes in the ground. We have already identified the best development for him. Happy with our recommendation, he chooses two apartments and then offers £15 million for something else we show him, just as a pied-à-terre.

At 5pm, another client calls to say she is on her way to Washington airport and will arrive in London first thing tomorrow for a full day of house-hunting. We frantically work to organise a tour. After numerous calls and a lot of luck, we manage it. Let’s hope she turns up. Meanwhile, it is time for me to rush home to collect my bags — I am off to Hong Kong.


By late afternoon, I land in Hong Kong and take a breather before meeting a client for a catch-up over some authentic Chinese cuisine.

Meanwhile, back in London, “Miss USA” has arrived, so Murdi meets her at Claridge’s, ready for a punishing tour of nine houses before lunch, followed by another five. Perseverance pays off — as hopes fade, the last couple of properties turn out to be gems and Murdi puts forward an offer. Then it’s back to the hotel to introduce our friend to some interior designers. 


Still in Hong Kong, I meet a lady who recently bought a fabulous house in London and needs someone to let and manage it. We’ve met before, but now is my chance to persuade her we’re the best firm for the job. I understand her preference for a low-key approach and explain that most of our business is done off-market. It helps that we have several shared connections who can attest to how we work, and I leave with the instruction. Job done, I head for the airport and line up some viewings.


I land with a bump. Flash floods overnight have damaged one of our managed properties and the basement is submerged. While I head over to the house, Murdi makes calls to get drain specialists and some good old-fashioned muscle to help with the clean-up. On a positive note, we have three viewings lined up for our new instruction. 

And there’s time for one last surprise. An ex-Wimbledon champion has sent me tournament tickets to thank me for work done earlier this year — a nice serve to round off the week.

Mark Tunstall is managing director of Tunstall Property in Knightsbridge (020 3011 1775; tunstallproperty.co.uk).

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