Diary of an estate agent:London

The commercial market goes into overdrive thanks to Brexit and a Brazilian client is desperate for a property in Dean Street...  

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This could be the biggest week of my life. Aside from a number of large deals in the pipeline, my wife is due to give birth to our first child at any moment.

I start the day off meeting a Brazilian client for breakfast at The Ivy, before showing him a new retail property a few minutes away in Dean Street.

It’s a good opportunity, pre-let to a well-known restaurant chain with an annual rent of £507,000. It’s also less than 170 yards from the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road. He wants to go for it and I make the call, but so does someone else.

We’re now in a race. The first one to exchange contracts wins.

Fast-paced deals like this are the norm at the moment. Brexit and the subsequent strength of the pound means dollar and euro investors have sent the commercial market into overdrive.

Retail investment opportunities of £1 million and above with blue chip tenants move very quickly.

An interesting day. I visit a vacant property that’s being transformed into an incredible mixed-use scheme by a renowned London developer. Things don’t get off to a great start when I open the door to discover what must be the largest pigeon hotel in London.

On a warmer than normal day, picking our way through the mess is a character-building experience.

When I return to the office after what in the end is quite a successful visit, a few colleagues pick up on a strange smell. I keep my head down.

​Mayfair is the focus for today. I meet some Qatari investors on the hunt for a prime central London hotel and a few shopping mall sites, as well as any other sites that could pique their interest.

I take them around several sites I know will suit their needs. All of that walking works up an appetite, so we drop into Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square. I can recommend the sea bream.

One of our residential market clients wants to sell their apartment in Burlington Gate, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Academy and a host of other galleries, so it’s perfect for an art-loving buyer. 

Designed by prestigious architectural practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the flat is a real gem and also comes with a spa and private parking.

My client bought it off-plan, hasn’t moved in yet, and if we achieve anything near the asking price he’ll make a tidy profit. Who says flipping is dead?

Later on, a colleague from our Rio office sends me a lead from an investor in search of a 3,500sq ft medical space, for a dental practice, in central London.

It’s an exciting new challenge, and for a space as elusive as this one, we’ll certainly earn our search fee. 

No baby yet, although the wife is pretty uncomfortable. I’ve got my phone ringer tone set to loud, just in case. However, the first call I get today is from our solicitor to say we won the contract race and my Brazilian client has taken the prize. After calling him with the news I set the rest of the deal in order.

I end the week with a late lunch, meeting an interesting contact I made at the MIPIM property exhibition in Cannes.

Chiltern Firehouse is the venue, but in all the excitement I’ve forgotten today’s my day to look after Harry, our office dog. I won’t be able to sneak Harry into the restaurant so I bribe a colleague, who I now owe more than a few beers.

  • Richard Lightwing is head of London acquisitions at Athena Advisers, an international property company (020 7471 4500).

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