Diary of an estate agent: Sydenham

A Sydenham estate agent is left waiting by clients and looks on the bright side when he spots a huge hole in the road outside the office
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After a manic Saturday with eight viewings at one property alone, it feels like the weekend has flown — especially as the Mary Portas high street improvement campaign has started right outside our office. Council workers, drills and diggers are everywhere.

With the phone lines going crazy and despite the noise outside, we manage to decipher the offers coming in and relay them to delighted clients. With more viewings planned, we are hopeful that two of the properties in Sydenham Road will go to best and final offers. Exciting!

A young recruitment executive calls us after viewing a newly listed spacious apartment we have available to rent. He loves it and understands it’s bound to let quickly as it’s in Kirkdale, one of the areas being revitalised by improvement grants. He tells us he is in a position to proceed but warns us that his fastidious mother insists on viewing first… I organise the appointment.

I wait for an hour, but that executive’s mother doesn’t show. As I lock up to get back to the office I receive her call. She’s full of apologies and we amicably rearrange for tomorrow.

Back at the office, I see a huge hole in the road outside the door. I am actually rather pleased — not only does it slow people down to read the listings in the window as they walk by, but our street is going to look even better soon.
Back in branch, I rush to answer the phones. We are short-staffed today as head office account managers are training two members of our team. I know they will be buzzing when they finish as it’s a high-energy course, concentrating on increased efficiency and customer focus.

I get a call first thing from the next-door neighbours of the property in Sydenham Road that had eight viewings on Saturday. The lovely couple in their fifties were impressed by the amount of viewings and all the activity from Saturday and decided to invite Hunters for a valuation on their home.

It’s immaculate and I’m guessing this one will sell very quickly if we do get it. Next, I set off to meet our young executive’s mum. Running slightly late (again), she eventually appears and is indeed fastidious. She spends a long time looking round the flat, commenting positively on everything she likes — from the period features, the fireplace and the French doors to the small but beautifully kept garden.

She loves it. I am delighted for everyone: she calls her son and I call the office to ask my colleagues to get straight on with preparing the references. The deposit and fees will be dropped into branch tomorrow.

I get to the office early to catch up on paperwork before the hum of activity and noise restarts outside. In today’s morning meeting we go through the feedback from four recent market appraisals. Two out of the four signed up on the spot; one is likely to come on with us later this month — a couple are emigrating to New Zealand and want us to let their two flats.

Then there are the market appraisal reports to finalise and send out to prospective vendors. We have a break for cake and song in the middle of the afternoon — it is our sales and lettings manager’s birthday tomorrow but she has asked for the day off, so we’re celebrating with her today.

Someone has booked me in to do a viewing at 6.30 tonight — on a Friday. It’s a four-bedroom period house in Sydenham Central and I don’t want to turn it down.

Before then, I aim to finalise a bid to market a development of four flats in collaboration with the Hunters branch in Camberwell, where the staff have a great deal of experience in producing “bespoke” proposals for new-build developments.

By the look of today’s workload, I am guessing the completion of the bid may be my Saturday morning job…

Colin Griffiths is branch manager at Hunters in Sydenham (020 8659 7999; hunters.net.co.uk)

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