It is only Monday, but because our Middle East offices start their working week on Sundays, so do I, and my weekend was spent confirming guests for an exhibition in Dubai on Friday.
This afternoon I value a spectacular old monastery in north London, which is being transformed by a developer.
I get chatting to a group of priests who are watching cricket on the TV and discussing the merits of Test cricket versus 20-20, and they tell me they can’t wait to move into their new premises once the development is given the go-ahead.
One of our incredibly wealthy Kuwaiti buyers calls to tell me that he cannot exchange on the off-plan penthouse he is buying until his wife has seen it.
Thankfully she is in London, but I get no answer on the mobile number I’ve been given. I’m just starting to panic when the office receives a call from a private shopper at Harrods saying she will be at a nearby hotel in 10 minutes.
Hurrying to make sure I don’t lose her again, I race to the hotel and she turns up in a car which is stuffed with the famous green bags. Despite my worst fears, she is absolutely delightful, loves the location and the plans for the apartment and immediately calls her husband to give him the go-ahead, providing us with the highest-value sale of the department so far.
I wouldn’t call myself fluent by any stretch of the imagination, but I have picked up a little Russian since working with Chesterton Humberts and its Moscow office. However, I’m no match for the fast-talking Russian gentleman on the phone, so I’m relieved to be able to pass him straight over to Diana on our Russian desk in Mayfair. She discovers he is looking to purchase properties in several new developments around London and will be flying in tomorrow for viewings. Unfortunately, it clashes with my trip to Dubai but I work with Diana to arrange for him to see 12 different flats in four developments and cross my fingers that he sees something he likes.
After catching the overnight flight from Heathrow, I arrive in Dubai and immediately wish I had a cooler suit to wear in the 40C heat. However, I’m soon distracted by an excited call from Diana, who tells me that the Russian gentleman has made offers on flats in two of the four developments shown to him and is extending his stay until Saturday to sort out the paperwork.
It’s 10am in the UAE and the first of my contacts have started to arrive. Although I’ve been selling new homes for years, it still surprises me how quickly people can make decisions on multimillion-pound purchases.
Many of our Arab buyers are now so familiar with London that they don’t even need to visit their investments before purchasing. A client arrives who has already purchased a number of properties with us and is now looking to take advantage of the weakened euro and buy more in France and Italy.
Not being my area of expertise, I put him in contact with our international department and before I know it, he has booked a flight back with me to meet the head of the department to discuss buying a property elsewhere in Europe, which makes me wonder whether even the super-wealthy collect air miles…
* Samuel Warren is associate director of residential developments in Chesterton Humbert's head office in Mayfair (020 3040 8267).