Diary of an estate agent: South Kensington

Fussy footballers and rental battles make for an interesting week in South Kensington
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Diary of an estate agent cartoon


I arrive in the office early to face the week ahead. The rentals market has been powering ahead over the past few months and my team members have had their noses to the grindstone taking instructions and showing property in Kensington and Chelsea.

As manager of this part of the business, I take a deep breath and open the departmental shared diary wondering how we will cope with all the extras I know will be added. Monday turns out to be "footballers' day".

One loves an apartment in Kings Chelsea, but wants all the solidoak, built-in furniture to be removed from the third bedroom. The owner of a foreign football team is shown two prime houses in Holland Park and Notting Hill. We are still awaiting the opinion of his seven-man entourage.


A lovely two-bedroom apartment in Queens Gate Terrace, acquired for an investment landlord by our sales division, has been refurbished and is ready to be let fully furnished, with only one problem: the bespoke furniture is not due to arrive for another six weeks.

A couple view it anyway, and decide they want it now because they are in a miserable serviced apartment and their sons have already started school. The solution? They take it at the asking price and we arrange for instant rented furniture to keep them going - phew.


It is our weekly team meeting day and I provide some yummy biscuits to keep everybody energised. We discuss our approach to the bidding wars that are going on at the moment. In particular, there is fierce competition over a three-bedroom riverside apartment, whose landlord lives in Australia.

During the time it takes us to make contact with him during the day, our two competitive bidders have kept increasing their offers - the latest now stands at 16 per cent over the asking price and some £12,000 more than the previous tenant paid annually. When we do finally reach the landlord, he can't believe our news - it always feels good to delight the client.


It is always dangerous being on a high. Today I am visiting a beautiful three-bedroom apartment in Kensington Green, owned by an artist. As you may expect, the decoration is exquisite. She instructs me on the spot and by luck my next appointment is a viewing nearby so I take them to this new instruction as well… and they love it.

However, on speaking to their relocation agent I discover that they have reduced their budget by 50 per cent and cannot afford the asking rental price, which is not what we want to hear — oh well, next time lucky. At least I have something to look forward to as I am hosting an event at the end of the day at a lovely Portobello Road café. It is a traditional English tea party for fellow agents in Notting Hill complete with scones and jam; the diet is not going well this week.


The weekend is looming and I am hoping for a calm Friday. However, almost as soon as the day starts this ambition is thwarted by a young Belgian postgraduate who wants to rent in Old Brompton Road. As a student, she needs a UK-based guarantor and her only such contact is a very high-powered businessman, who is also a family friend.

This is perfect in principle but tying him down is another matter. We have only hours to get the signed documentation from her guarantor, receive her deposit from a Belgium bank and get the tenant into the flat before her flight to Morocco departs from City Airport later in the evening.

We just make it, thanks to one of my team humping boxes of her possessions up three flights of stairs, which is, of course, all part of the service. Friday night has finally arrived and I am off to meet the team for a drink to celebrate a record month.

Gemma Corr is associate director and head of lettings at Beaney Pearce in South Kensington (020 7838 1888)

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