Diary of an estate agent: private property search

Going head to head over the North-South divide.
I like to keep my diary relatively clear on a Monday morning, just to make sure I get everything in order for the week ahead. However, this morning there is no time for order. I am rushed into a meeting with our property wealth management department. They want me to meet a South African businessman who is planning to move his family to London over the summer. He needs someone to start a search immediately so that they will all have a roof over their heads come September. Fantastic news for me — a new, focused client with a nice brief and a sensible budget.
I have been invited to a client’s house for coffee and to collect a gift she has bought me to say thank you for my help finding her new house in Maida Vale. It is always rather nice when clients feel that our fee is not quite enough. Then I’m off to Soho for lunch with some solicitors who I have been working with on a deal for a very big mutual client.   
In the afternoon I head over to Earls Court to meet the interior designer who is refurbishing a first-floor flat that we have just acquired for a young investor, based in Singapore. I haven’t met him yet and neither has he seen the flat we have bought him. It’s likely our first meeting will be in his finished London pad — I hope he likes it.
I am out all day today on tour with a property developer from Manchester. While he knows property, he doesn’t know London at all. So the first step is helping him find out which parts of town he would like to live in. It is always fun working with people like this, who need complete education about the city and the market. Showing people around my home town is a joy… until they start complaining about how overpriced and small everything is compared to where they come from.
In the evening I pop into the annual, and infamous, Lonres party at Belgrave Square Garden, where the great and the good — and the inebriated — estate agents of London gather every summer.
I am looking at properties for my South African family today and I am out of my normal prime central London patch and into Wimbledon. It is refreshing to see substantial family houses with gardens, driveways and parking for something larger than a Smart car for the same price as a two-bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge. I heard recently that someone paid £7.5 million for a 2,500sq ft, tumbledown house just off Hyde Park. I do sometimes think the world has gone mad.
A meeting with a private bank — the team is presenting to their Middle East and North Africa team in the hope that we can do some more business together. It goes well, so we look forward to the phone ringing with the next big Middle Eastern spender at the end of it.
We are expecting the annual influx a little earlier than usual this year as Ramadan falls this month. While the rest of the market sleeps, the savvy Middle Easterners get out their wallets…
After a meeting with a client who has £4 million to spend on a two-bedroom flat in Chelsea, and finishing some end-of-the-week paperwork, my focus is seriously set on my home roof terrace and a gin and tonic in the evening sun. It’s the perfect way to welcome in the weekend. 
  • Charlotte de Silva is an associate at Private Property Search, the property buying service of Strutt & Parker (020 7318 4640).

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