Diary of an estate agent: West Chelsea

Car-less, I discover what an Oyster card is. But keeping positive, I get offers over asking price and am on line for top sales in the company.
I wake up and hit the gym… literally, managing to drive my car into a wall as I try to park, making this a terrible start to my day. After apologising to the scary-looking gym staff, I take a closer look at the damage. Annoyingly, my car is likely to spend the rest of the week being fixed at the garage — and I will have a hefty insurance excess to pay.
Two buses later and having discovered what an Oyster card is, I still manage to get in for 8am for our team meeting. Our department is surging ahead and we have a new person starting this week to help cope with the high demand. I have 13 viewings over the course of the day with buyers evenly split between UK nationals and internationals, including a Russian family determined to buy before the end of the week. Watch this space.
It’s straight to an 8am viewing with the buyer of a house due to exchange today. The place has been under offer for a month and these last-minute viewings are rarely good news — but on this occasion it turns out the buyer simply wants to measure up for the home bar he is installing. I make a note to pop over for a cocktail once they move in, to give them the benefit of my (un)sophisticated palate.
Back at the office, one of my buyers calls, saying he has read in the papers that house prices are going down. During the conversation an email arrives from a solicitor to confirm that another one of my instructions has just exchanged at 26 per cent above the record price for the street. I inform my nervous buyer of this and subsequently take him out on a tour of three properties. I spend the rest of the day secretly hoping to hear from Kriss Akabusi and the team at Record Breakers.
The property I viewed this morning does not actually exchange, as the buyer’s country-based solicitor only works half days on Tuesdays. London goes at a faster pace — my client is furious and considers pulling the deal.

Well, it’s 10am and still no call from Kriss, or from the country solicitor involved in yesterday’s sale. Then thankfully the phone rings and it’s the vendor’s solicitor confirming the exchange. I phone our client, who is thrilled. The house has been on the market for 18 months, with seven different agents, and she has had four deals fall through. I take over a bottle of bubbly and a card, and put her in contact with our Knightsbridge office as there is a property she wants to view that is on the market with them.
At 8am there is only my manager, James, and me in the office, and he calls me downstairs for “a chat”. My heart is thumping as I wonder if he has found out it was me who swapped the new starter’s regular peanuts with Viper chilli-covered ones. If he knows, he isn’t saying. The company stats are in and with a couple of recent exchanges, I am in second place for the year, one behind Big Al in Fulham, apparently. James has set me the target of beating Big Al, and possibly even One Direction, to the Christmas number one spot.
My colleague emails me that a gentleman called “Chris” — I’m hoping it’s a misspelling — has called for me. I rush to the phone and punch in the number. “Hello,” says a Russian voice, “this is Chris, who you showed the Park Walk property to.” The initial disappointment that Mr Akabusi must be too busy with his motivational speaking to call me about my recent record-breaking performance is washed away by the excitement that I could be about to receive an offer.
Chris goes on: “I have thought about it and would like to offer £10,000 above the asking price, on the condition the property is immediately removed from the market and we can exchange in two weeks.” I put it forward to the seller who, after some thought as the property is new to market, decides to accept.
The day starts with a breakfast meeting with one of our developer clients. Over my Eggs Benedict I see Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson and Christine Bleakley walk by — that’s Chelsea for you.
In the afternoon, my newly fixed car is dropped back to the office in time for the weekend and I am just about to head home when I get a call from a number I don’t recognise. I pick up the phone and the caller says: “Michael, this is Kriss…”
  • Michael McHale is a senior sales negotiator at Strutt & Parker in West Chelsea (020 7373 1010).

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