Diary of an estate agent: Lifting the lid on the not so glamorous side of my job

Clients from all corners of the globe keep our letting agent in Chelsea busy this week
Estate agent selecting a toilet seat


The day kicks off with a huge number of emails waiting for me — but there’s another essential little job I must attend to later...

The property above our office has been on the market and on Friday I secured a new let at the full asking price. The new tenants are a lovely couple who need a temporary base while their house is being underpinned due to subsidence. Unfortunately we have been let down by contractors over some pre-tenancy works. Thus, I am lumbered with the job of buying a new lavatory seat.

At 8pm I’m in Homebase, standing in front of a huge wall display of loo seats — not the shining moment of my career. I go for a simple white wooden one — not everyone appreciates a novelty style.


An enquiry comes in for a penthouse apartment on Cadogan Square at £2,800 a week. The applicant is a merchant banker from Italy who spends two days a week in London. He loves the flat and offers on the spot, albeit £1,300 under the asking price. I explain the landlord will most likely say no but the banker is insistent.

We leave the building and he asks if I would like a lift anywhere — in his new Ferrari. I politely decline. Back at the office I forward his offer to the landlord, who also declines.


I arrive back in the office after a meeting with a landlord at Peter Jones. He is refurbishing his large, four-bedroom flat on Cadogan Gardens and wanted some advice on light fixtures before the new tenants move in.

I walk back into the office and two young women, the new tenants for a property on Lennox Gardens, are sitting at my desk signing their contract. They are due to move in tomorrow.

The conversation turns to their new cat —something they have not asked permission for. With this in mind, the tenancy is put on hold as we need to know if the head lease allows pets in the building, The women start to panic. They show me a photo of their furry friend, hoping I will soften at the sight of its cute face and all will be well again. It doesn’t work... I don’t like cats.

We manage to get hold of the landlord in Greece, he agrees the cat can move in (with a 10-week pet deposit) and we find that the girls must buy a pet licence for the building. They call their father back home in Brazil, asking to transfer more money to cover the cat deposit. A heated conversation in Portuguese is had but like a good father, he gives in.


My manager, Zoe, wins another sole-instruction property on Bywater Street. I instantly think of the Ferrari-driving Italian banker and while arranging the viewing, I insist he will not offer a silly price again. He sheepishly agrees and I meet him 15 minutes later.

He loves the property, offers again on the spot but this time at a sensible price and is accepted straight away. The secure 24-hour manned parking nearby for his car swayed him.

Back at the office an American calls about a property on Paultons Square. Unfortunately it has been let very quickly, so I recommend alternatives. He insists he must live in Chelsea so I suggest a few houses near our office — to which he says he doesn’t want to live in South Kensington.

Quite confused, I insist to him that these properties are in Chelsea — but I fail to convince him.

It is important to give your agent as much contact information as possible in case something new and exciting becomes available and has to be seen quickly. However, he provides just his email address as he doesn’t like being contacted via his phone.


I meet up with a German gentleman at our property on Cromwell Road at 8am. I find four empty parking spaces — quite a rarity.

It’s too early for most people but I arrive fresh as a daisy straight from an early morning workout. Still buzzing, I show the German gent around the property and my hyperactive tongue wags away, as I coax an offer out of him. Hurrah! I’m glad I have some positive news for our landlord as a deal fell through for him earlier in the week. I work back and forth between prospective tenant and landlord and a deal is agreed.

It’s a great end to a manic week before I jet off on holiday early tomorrow.

* Henry Hopcroft is a lettings negotiator in the Chelsea branch of Strutt & Parker (020 7589 9966)

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