Diary of an estate agent: South Kensington

Puppy love, parakeets and an embarrassing pregnant pause
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Puppy love
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A little alarmed today. Went to collect a contract from a new client in South Kensington, a delightful old lady who has an enormous cockatoo to keep her company. While chatting to her I was rather shocked to feel a rather heavy weight land on my shoulder, followed by a human shriek.

“Oh I’m so sorry, he’s normally so shy,” she cried. “Here let me get him.” The bird had perched on my shoulder, but before I allowed her to take him off I insisted on taking a pirate picture with my new feathered friend to impress my daughters that evening.


Embarrassing moment of the day: showing a family maisonette in Bramham Gardens with, shall we say, a rather large lady applicant. Our client was at home with her children and decided to strike up a conversation with the applicant, which included the line: “So when are you due?”

“Um, I’m not pregnant,” she replied. The silence was deafening as we all looked round the room. “Anyway, shall we go and see the garden?” I said.


Clearly, this is my week for feathered friends. One of my rather more eccentric clients keeps parakeets in her reception, while the rest of the flat is a jumble of rooms that she has created. This afternoon a fusty developer I have known for some time came to look at the property, and as we wandered from room to room he kept exclaiming in his rather loud voice: “This place is a complete dog’s dinner, she must be mad to have done this.” To which my repeated reply was to defend my client saying she was by no means mad, just slightly eccentric.

As I opened the door to the final room we were greeted by the sight of my client sitting on a chair in the centre of the space wearing her nightie, eating a bowl of cornflakes with a parakeet on each shoulder.

As I closed the door behind me and began walking down the stairs I had the good grace to turn to the developer and say: “OK, perhaps she is just a little mad.”


Today is the day I always bring Bodger, my Lucas Terrier, to work. He loves the run in and back and gets far more attention from the team in the office than he ever does at home.

My first market appraisal of the day was a beautiful £6 million house where I was met by the owner and her pretty little Norfolk Terrier called Fooks — an absolute carbon copy of Bodger in colour and looks but a mini-version.

The meeting went well, but knowing I was one of four in the line-up it was anyone’s guess who might win the instruction. As our office is so close to the many properties we sell, we always walk our letters around to our potential clients where possible.

When my letter was ready, Bodger and I set off to deliver it. Sure enough, when Bodger met Fooks, puppy love blossomed and before the day was out I had a call confirming our instruction.


We are instructed on a flat with a rather colourful past. Our client is a bank but the previous owner before the bank “took it back” had breached her lease and run a certain type of business from it. The wardrobes still contained a lot of specialist clothing and equipment, which caused much amusement among my negotiators when they previewed the property.

We only received the instruction yesterday, so I thought I would show it to one of the local property investors. As we stood in one of the bedrooms my applicant looked up and spotted a pair of metal rings attached to the ceiling.

“I wonder what they are for?” he asked innocently. I replied with a straight face: “I would imagine when this building was a family house this would have been servants’ quarters and I expect some form of drying frame was suspended from them.”

He offered the guide price and the bank accepted.

* Spencer Cushing is associate director at John D Wood & Co in South Kensington (020 7835 0000)

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