Diary of an estate agent: London W1

A mountain of paperwork — and an agent who gets gazumped.
Monday
There’s more talk of the property market slowing but after a really good month, we must be doing something right. A fall in enquiries for properties can be due to a number of reasons, such as the summer holidays, media coverage of a suspected property bubble, or talk of imminent interest rate rises and capital gains tax on overseas buyers.
 
My view is that now is a great time for buyers, as they won’t have to compete with high numbers of others, or make any rash decisions for fear of missing out, or of being gazumped, which can result in lost mortgage and survey fees.
 
Tuesday
I am with a client outside London when I get an urgent call and a flurry of texts. A major news channel would like to run a special feature on property prices and they urgently need to speak to me. I won’t be able to make it in time, so I pass the opportunity over to my colleague Simon to arrange the feature.
 
Wednesday
I’m trying to sort out my own purchase of a flat outside London, which requires me to arrange a deed of variation on the lease to protect all the owners. I need to get this signed by the upstairs owner quickly, before my mortgage offer expires. I expect a quick response but I receive an email from him saying he won’t be rushing to help me, even though it helps him. His tone doesn’t feel right to me...
 
Thursday
Our lettings team is inundated with enquiries. To cope with this demand, we agree to appoint a new administration assistant to deal with the mountain of paperwork.
 
I receive a call at 11am from the agent dealing with my property purchase. He informs me the deal on the flat I was in the process of buying has fallen through. I’m devastated by this news — it turns out the upstairs flat owner has decided he wants the apartment below and has gazumped me.
 
At Hudsons, when we have a similar situation, out of common courtesy we always advise the seller to get back to the existing buyer to give them a chance to either match the bid, or to offer more money. I ask my agent to call the seller, but the seller doesn’t return my agent’s calls.
 
Friday
After the bad news I received yesterday, I wake up at 5.20am with my mind whizzing round with ways to resolve my purchase. I compose an email to the seller offering more money with an offer of immediate exchange.
 
In the afternoon, my PA Jane and I go to a drinks reception at the Fitzrovia Community Centre for their garden opening. The garden really has undergone a complete transformation, with the tranquillity and elegance of the space making it feel more like a “secret garden” in the heart of Fitzrovia. 
 
Jane regularly visits the centre on my behalf to assist with their fundraising activities, and will continue to do so as it is a great communal space for local residents to use.
 
At 5pm I receive more bad news on my flat — the seller won’t accept my much-improved offer. It happens to us agents, too. 
  • Jonathan Hudson is director at Hudsons Property based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).

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