Diary of an estate agent: London West End

Friday is decision day in "France’s sixth-biggest city”...
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I am always up early on a Monday. I fuel up with a good breakfast and arrive at the office to prepare for our meeting.
We review last week’s performance and share information about new places that have opened up in the area so we can update our customers — and often uncover another choice of somewhere to go for lunch.
I take the opportunity to mention Señor Ceviche in Kingly Court, Soho, a new restaurant that serves Peruvian specialities .
My first appointment is in Soho. I check out the building ready for the viewing and meet a lovely young lady looking to rent a one-bedroom flat. She has just landed her first job in London, working for a media company around the corner, and is looking to live in a convenient and buzzing area. Like me, she is from France, so I tell her about all the French bakeries in the area to make her feel at home.
London has been called “France’s sixth-biggest city” and increasingly I am looking after French clients, who feel more comfortable and reassured to be able to speak their own language when moving here.
One of my aims for the day is to organise a tour of suitable flats tomorrow for a South American couple coming to London who need to secure something by the weekend. I was recommended to them by one of their friends, who was one of my previous clients.
I have a clear idea of what they are looking for and I am confident of finding them something.


Sophie, the French lady I met on Monday, contacts me with an offer for the Soho flat. Having worked with the landlord of that particular flat for nearly six years now, I know exactly what he is looking for and the kind of questions he will ask. All goes well on the call and the offer is accepted — a happy landlord and an excited tenant.
My Chilean couple arrive, and they are really keen about starting their new life in London. However, the first flat visit doesn’t go well. It’s on the fifth floor and the lift is broken today. I take them to another mansion block where the lift is stuck on the third floor and the apartment is on the fourth floor. This is not my day. Things get better after a few more inspections and I think I have found them the perfect home. We discuss local amenities and head back to the office to prepare an offer.
My last viewing is a lovely, refurbished two-bedroom flat above a casino but again, it is on the fourth floor — and there’s no lift. My legs will know tomorrow about all the stairs I’ve climbed.
A distressed tenant telephones to tell me her lavatory is blocked. Fortunately, our very own resident Superwoman — Hannah, our property manager — gets on the case immediately and arranges an emergency drain team to attend the property.
I rush out of the office to show an apartment to a politician. As I arrive there, he jumps out of a taxi, telling me he has only a few minutes to see the place. We view it in record time, just four minutes.
A coffee from Lantana in Charlotte Place helps me prepare for a busy day. I arrive in the office for a quick meeting with my commercial colleague. He has received some interest in a building in Old Compton Street and needs some likely rental yields should the property be turned into flats. I love these brainstorming sessions.
Friday is usually when most people make a decision on a flat, or move into their new home, so efficiency and speed are crucial.
I manage to get everything agreed for my South American couple for a move-in tomorrow. They are happy, so we are happy at the end of a busy week. I stop off at Vagabond wine shop opposite for a nice bottle of Bordeaux to take home. 
  • Sandrine Locatelli is a senior lettings negotiator at Hudsons in the West End (020 7631 8705).

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