Just back from a two-week holiday and eager to catch up with the team. Three exchanges and seven lets while I was away. Maybe I should spend more time out of the office.
We sold a lovely one-bedroom flat in Mayfair to an investor for £700,000, a three-bedroom flat in a modern building close to Marble Arch for £1.575 million and, my favourite, a small studio in Fitzrovia with a short lease for £135,000.
As we near the beginning of a new academic year the rentals team are busy with students — it always amazes me how they can pay £600 a week for a two-bedroom flat at that age.
Today I received a call from one of our landlords who owns several properties in the Marylebone area. He has asked us to take on a beautiful three-bedroom mews-style house in the Dorset Square conservation area and I know this will be perfect for our man from the embassy who wants something large enough for his piano. I will call him as soon as I get back.
Off to Selfridges now to buy doughnuts for the team as they did so well while I was away.
Our man from the embassy loves the house and has asked me to meet the removal company to see if the piano fits, fingers crossed. Then I get a call from a famous client who owns a hair salon around the corner, asking if we would donate something for a charity auction day. There goes our magnum of Dom Pérignon we were given by a client.
Two market appraisals today: one a lovely three-bedroom apartment, which the owner has refurbished to her own taste. She was very happy with the valuation but may decide to sell next year as she is in no rush.
The second property was incredible; in the heart of Marylebone, this apartment could be three or four bedrooms depending on how you use it. Valued at £1.6 million and having a share of the freehold, this should sell quickly, especially with the 50in flat screen TV and up-to-date surround sound system.
After 30 years in Marylebone I thought I had seen everything, until today. I went to a client’s house to collect their keys for completion and to check they would be moving out on time and spotted the client removing the floor-boards. After a lengthy discussion, he now understands the difference between fixtures and fittings and is putting them back.
A local solicitor has asked me to have lunch with him today and has left the choice of restaurant up to me — a very dangerous decision. We have the most amazing eateries in Marylebone, which cover the whole spectrum from fine dining to a quick burger. I mentioned the Dorchester on Park Lane (it was, after all, a large transaction we recommended to him), but he prefers the Savoy and he is paying, so it’s his choice.
Meanwhile, the removal firm say that they can get the piano in on the ground floor. Music to my ears.
Good start to the day — our client has accepted the offer from the embassy; the resident wants to move in by next Tuesday. Thankfully I have a great management department who will have no problem with the moving date, but have to check with our compliance department as we have never contracted to rent a property to an embassy before.
One more agreed sale for the week; a hard fought over property in Dorset Square with high ceilings, first floor and un-modernised — a city dealer’s dream. We got our buyer to attend the exchange (he sent his solicitor to the seller’s solicitors office and they exchanged contacts at that meeting) and our client is extremely happy as she has got over the £1 million she wanted. And 48 hours after instructing us to sell the home it is exchanged. Great end to another good week.
Matthew Fine is a director at Hunters in Marylebone, W1 (020 7935 0355).