Diary of an estate agent: St Albans

Our St Albans agent has a busy week writing press releases and getting the office geared up for the rush of spring time buyers
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After a fairly busy weekend — including a friend’s birthday dinner and one too many glasses of gin and tonic — it’s almost a relief to be back at work today! Monday is always my day of preparation, and I’m happy to be planning the week ahead. I handle the PR and marketing for the team in St Albans, so I quite often need to think about long-term plans as well as the advertising that needs sorting out on a weekly basis.

The day flies by with the team in and out on valuations. It sounds as though they are seeing some lovely stock for the spring market — something for me to get my teeth into with writing press releases.

My busiest day of the week. I’ve got two newspapers to prep — one of which we do every week, and another which we are starting to use more and more, as the country team build their business into a new area.

I’m on the phone for most of the day to the artwork team at the paper, asking them to tweak various bits to get it just right — we’ve got some fantastic new houses and I want to make sure that they look perfect for their launch into the papers.

The poor girl at the end of the phone is very patient with me — I’m used to doing all of this myself online, but as it is a new publication, we are having to do it the old-fashioned way. By 4.45pm I’m starting to get a little stressed — my deadline is 5pm and one of the houses in the advert has just had a price reduction. As I’m getting the paper to change the proof, a cup of coffee and a peanut butter KitKat quietly appear on the desk next to me… my team know how to keep me calm!

With the newspapers out of the way for another week, it’s time to think about magazines — I have a Country Life advert to put together and some PR to write to send out to all of the local publications. Sometimes I’m lucky and get featured, and other times not. It’s always difficult when you’ve spent ages interviewing a client about their house and writing an article about it, only to find that there isn’t space in the paper that week, but that’s what it’s all about — trying to find a different angle so that the editors will find space.

The town team have taken on some fabulous new instructions — I spend most of the morning looking through proofs for the brochures they are putting together. The photographer got some wonderful shots and I find myself drooling over the gardens. It’s impossible to believe how close some of these are to the city centre — you’d think they were right out in the countryside.

We are growing considerably in the town market — it is not just country homes that we sell. The accessibility to London (under half an hour on the train) makes the area hugely popular and a lot of commuters want to be very near the station to enjoy both the London and country life. I can hear my colleagues discussing potential buyers already, so I know that it won’t be long before the new places are snapped up.

It hardly seems possible another week has already flown by. We’re looking at some new marketing material which has been produced by the team in London — it’s going to work really well for the market here — and I’m itching to get some things ordered.

Deborah Catchpole is the property manager at Strutt & Parker's St Albans office. Call 01727 840285

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