It’s a wonderfully sunny morning and while walking to work I bump into a tenant of ours. She is pushing a bright pink pram and nestled inside is Pugli her ancient pug. I’m a total fan having a similar dog myself so we natter.
By the end of the catch-up we’ve been invited to view a flat she’s bought, which she may want to let. It’s stunning — newly refurbished, immaculate kitchen/bathroom and great communal areas. It’s good the way dogs bring people together.
The next call we receive is not good news, our longest-standing tenants have been in their property for 12 years and it has just been gutted by fire. They are distraught and we need to find them a suitable alternative quickly.
Gemma, quick off the mark as always, dashes around previewing things and gets a tour set up for that afternoon. An offer is made, accepted, the deal wobbles and falls through. Back to the drawing board…
I have been instructed on a really super flat in a red-brick building just behind Sloane Square. It is refurbished throughout and furnished beautifully. It’s a joy to market and I hope to have suitable tenants for my client soon.
The couple whose offer fell through yesterday are taken out again by Gemma. Serendipity strikes and another house on the same street as the house they so loved but lost has become available. They see it, love it just as much, if not a little more than the house yesterday and put forward their offer. By the end of the day the offer is accepted and they are to move in this coming Friday.
Estate agency is a funny old business; you deal with clients and prospective tenants from all over the world, so being culturally aware is fundamental. This week alone I have put an offer up to a Japanese landlord, defused a misunderstanding with some American tenants, and met a potential new client who is South African and about to marry a Russian. It gets me thinking and alongside my boss, Zoe Rose, we delve deeper into our tenant nationalities. In my patch alone more than 50 per cent of tenants are from countries outside Europe, showing what a vibrant mix of nationalities Knightsbridge draws.
Just enough time at the end of the day to send on my weekly newsletter to prospective tenants. It always produces business and I look forward to receiving calls to book viewings on my featured properties.
Gemma hasn’t been in the office all morning, I’m feeling distinctly lonely. She’s been out on back-to-back viewings and I’ve taken on three new properties. Time for a catch-up.
We agree we’ll have a quick lunch and meet outside the first of the new instructions. She’s had six offers over a 24-hour period and has tied up three of them, she thinks two need further negotiation and one is a non-starter (why would our client accept an offer £1,000 below the asking price when they have a great flat and the market is frantic?).
Fully up to date on each other’s activities we part ways again. She has more viewings (as a result of the newsletter) and I have letters to write, advertising to proof and clients to call.
I love Fridays, not because it’s the end of the week but because time flies. It’s move day for the couple whose flat burnt down. I hope they are happy enough to remain in this property for the next 12 years with no incidents.
A client pops into the office and wants to catch up as we haven’t seen her since our overseas marketing trip. We go for a coffee and discuss how best to market their portfolio — they have three properties currently available. By the end of the coffee we’ve agreed a tailored advertising campaign, a fresh brochure and a property launch to encompass two of the vacant properties. That makes us all happy.
Nina McDowall is an associate partner at Strutt & Parker's Sloane Street office (020 7591 2208; www.struttandparker.com)