Diary of an estate agent: London W1

Selling houses isn’t just about valuations and viewings, now we have to star in our property marketing videos too.
Strolling to work through Marylebone and Fitzrovia, I stop off at Ben’s House, the café and London produce store in Grafton Way. The two areas neighbour one another, but are different in character. I arrive at the office at 8.10am for a meeting with my team to discuss the previous week’s viewings, new instructions, offers and to plan the coming week. There are valuations for me to do — a one-bedroom flat in Bloomsbury and a penthouse in Covent Garden.
I make sure I have comparable evidence of similar properties we have sold, as well as competitor analysis, so the sellers can get a full understanding of the market and price. We get instructed on the penthouse and I’m hopeful for the flat in Bloomsbury, too.
People often ask me about the average price per square foot in the areas we cover. A guide would be £1,400, but it varies from Soho to Covent Garden and Bloomsbury to Marylebone.
A developer wants advice on a property he’s about to buy in Bloomsbury, so I meet him for breakfast at the Riding House Café in Great Titchfield Street. With matters concluded, I head to a viewing at York House in Berners Street. This beautiful fourth-floor mansion flat was refurbished to a high standard and has been rented through us for the past two years.
The potential buyers raise a few questions about the sinking fund contribution, so I call the owners to get the exact numbers before reporting back.
My mobile phone rings and it’s a call from the seller in Bloomsbury — he decides to instruct us, which is great news. We know the property will be highly sought after.

As we are filming a new video update from the penthouse in Covent Garden, I’ve put on my best suit and tie.
After a few takes, we’ve shot the short film and we will upload it to our social media platforms. In it, we also showcase our letting flat of the month, provide a market update and announce the release of our new sales development. Methods of marketing properties have changed since I started 16 years ago.
I am handed our statistics from the last quarter, which reveal there are more UK and European-based buyers making offers on prime residential properties — a change from six months ago when there was a large influx of Asian buyers. The market is truly international, but buyers’ origins can change like the weather in London.

The sun is out and it seems like everyone is on the streets — it’s like the town has come alive. I am off to take instructions on another West End home, this time a three-bedroom triplex in Warren Street as the owners want to move slightly further out of town.
I meet our photographer, who prepares the floor plan and takes the photos, while I go through my terms of business with the seller. My sales team has already lined up a buyer who arrives just in time for a preview. They like the property, but have more to see.
Potentially, we have four deals exchanging contracts today. A solicitor calls me on my mobile as I walk into the office, and he is in a panic because he has not received his client’s signed contract. I call the seller, who has already left for work with the contract still on his kitchen table.
As the property is just around the corner from our office, I pick up the contract and deliver it by hand to the solicitors — panic over.
The restaurants and pubs are spilling out on to the street and it’s only lunchtime. I always wonder where all these people “work”.
I won’t be finished until late as I’ve just had a request for a second viewing at York House. My colleague — one of two staff members who live in London during the week and travel home at weekends — is catching a train to Cheshire and can’t cover it.
The viewing goes well, and I even manage to fit in an early evening drink with the team to celebrate the week’s successes.
  • Stuart Aikman is sales director at Hudsons in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia W1 (020 7323 2277).

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