Diary of an estate agent: South Kensington

Red lights don't stop deal going through for our South Kensington agent
Diary of an estate agent cartoon


With all the excitement of the weekend, I completely forget that half of London's roads are currently being dug up as councils and utility companies rush to complete all their roadworks before the Olympics.

Driving to our office in South Kensington from Fulham for an 8am start, it seems that every set of temporary lights has been specially programmed to turn red as I approach. Miraculously, I arrive on time for our regular Monday morning meeting to deal with the offers that we received over the weekend.

Thankfully, one of these is an asking price offer, which always makes the deal a lot easier to tie up with the vendors, who are not generally interested in anything under the guide price we set.

I spend the afternoon taking a customer out on a second viewing. I advise him to sleep on it before offering. No offer at all is better than one that falls through after a week or two when the buyers have second thoughts.


Arrive at the office to see the red light flashing on top of my phone. All the calls are from last night's applicant who, obviously physically unable to sleep until he had called me, is keen to submit his offer on what he and his wife have decided is their dream house.

I call him back immediately to go through his offer, which it turns out is conditional on the vendor including the dog kennel with the sale.

I call the vendor to outline the terms but he is slightly perplexed as to why anyone looking to buy a £5 million home would be remotely concerned about his rickety old doghouse. However, he gratefully accepts. Some people just like to feel that they are getting something for free. I then call the buyer with the good news before cracking on with the paperwork.


My first valuation of the day is for an elderly lady who is selling her property in a prestigious garden square.

She has lived in the same place for the past 30 years but is downsizing in order to help her grandchildren get on the property ladder. Obviously finding the whole process a little emotional, she appears to have had a couple of glasses of sherry and offers me one as I walk through the door. Looking at my watch and seeing that it's barely past 10.30am, I politely decline and go on to value the first floor apartment at £2.95 million.

Having bought it for £575,000 in the Eighties, she is genuinely shocked and delighted with the property's appreciation and signs the necessary forms to instruct us there and then, begging me to do my best to find a buyer as soon as possible. And she no doubt goes off to celebrate with another little tipple.

I rush back to the office to brief my colleagues on this exciting new instruction. Everyone seems to know at least five buyers who are after just this sort of property and by the end of the afternoon we have arranged 11 viewings for tomorrow.


Celebrations in the office this morning as the sale of a flat in Redcliffe Square completes and breaks a record in the process - it was sold for an equivalent of over £1,500 per sq ft.

The afternoon is taken up with viewings on the garden square property. Thankfully, the vendor is sober and charms the applicants with stories from her youth, which must have been good as we get requests for second viewings for the weekend.


On the last valuation of the week, a rather distinguished lady introduces me to her over-amorous Yorkshire terrier, which takes a shine to my ankle. Terribly impressed that her beloved pet has taken to me so quickly, the lady gives me the instruction. I have won instructions on a number of things over the years, from the colour of my eyes to my favourite restaurant, but puppy love is definitely a first.

Christian de Wolff is an associate director at Farleys Residential in South Kensington (020 7589 1234)

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