Diary of an estate agent: London’s West End

We have buyers on a mission to move in by Christmas and a family from the Far East wanting two flats for their son and daughter who are studying in London.
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Going through the figures this morning, I am preparing our customer sales update. The team has been busy in the last quarter as we have released two new developments in the area.
The latest is a converted pub in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, with some of its quirky original features intact.
I’m there today with an Asian buyer whose son and daughter will be studying in one of the nearby colleges — buying for offspring is a common enquiry these days. We view two of the flats before heading off to some other options on the market.
I receive my first festive “hold the date” invitation — well, it is just over two months until you know what...? This is the time of year when buyers look to make offers in order to be in their new home by Christmas.
As the National Association of Estate Agents executive for London, I have a meeting today at head office in Warwickshire.
I represent the agents and help them keep up to date with the latest legislation and good practice within our industry. It also gives me a chance to hear from the other areas and find out how the UK as a whole is performing.
I’m back in my office by mid-afternoon to catch up on a long list of emails and calls. My Asian buyer is keen to revisit one of the properties we saw yesterday and wants to know more about the immediate area. I suggest spending time exploring the neighbourhood at night, as well as at different times during the day, as that is when you’ll really get to know a place. It’s amazing how few people do this before committing to a purchase.
A breakfast meeting is scheduled, so I am in the office early before making my way to the newly opened Percy & Founders restaurant, where the steel-cut oats with banana, ginger and honey are not to be missed.
I am meeting a contact who has been dealing in homes in the capital for some time. He has a contract to sell flats off-plan early, so we talk about the pros and cons of taking them abroad versus offering them to London first.
This afternoon I have a second viewing and the buyer has sent his brother to see the property. He seems familiar but I cannot put my finger on why.
We walk to the apartment nearby and as we chat, it turns out that I sold him his house in Muswell Hill more than 17 years ago and he is still there now. I fondly remember my time working in north London, but I always pined for the West End market. Now I certainly have no regrets.

My next-door neighbour tells me they are closing their restaurant at the end of the week. They have been offered a premium for their lease from a chef famous for his modern French cuisine. He has worked at Le Gavroche, and Michelin-star restaurants Outlaw’s at the Capital and Brasserie Chavot.
I will miss my sushi and edamame beans and fear the cost of the new place may be more than my regular seat. I head back to Cleveland Street to discuss the converted pub with my buyers from the Far East. They’ve done their homework on the district and are back with a view to making an offer.
I swap stories with them about the areas I went to in Hong Kong on my last business trip there and, although they hadn’t been to most of them, I think they appreciated me trying.
They leave with smiles on their faces, so hopefully an offer will be forthcoming.
With just a few hours until the week ends, I’ve got that Friday feeling.
First I have a meeting with the senior team to judge how the week has gone. The news is positive — buyers are still out there but being cautious, and tenants are still looking for properties. However, most of the students have now found their homes for the next year of studies.
I hear from the son of my Asian buyers and they are still keen, but want the weekend to do some more street visits before making an official offer.
I head home to Marylebone on the stroke of 5.30pm and stroll past loads of busy pubs, full of atmosphere. This is a great place to be.
  • Jonathan Hudson is director of Hudsons Property, based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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