Diary of an estate agent: West End

August might be our quiet season but we still have plenty of viewings and offers including off-market apartments, a hi-tech flat perfect for a gadget geek and two lucky children who get a flat each in Covent Garden near their respective colleges.
For an agent, August can sometimes be tough. The mass exodus of Londoners to glamorous holiday destinations means the market can be a little quieter than usual. But what’s not to love about London in the summer? The sun is out (sometimes), everyone is in a good mood, the football season is beginning, and it means that I can spend more quality time with individual buyers.
I had a busy week of viewings last week, so with the quality of West End stock so high, I am expecting a lot of offers to come through. Lunchtime soon arrives and, with it, the first offer — a charming one-bedroom apartment in Seven Dials. It’s in need of a lick of paint, but it’s a fantastic pied-à-terre. The vendor agrees to the offer and I give the buyer the good news.
I am meeting a director of a multi-national corporation. He is looking for a base close to work in the Midtown area, so I set up a tour.
It’s a great part of London that has become incredibly popular with City workers — little wonder, as it is only a short stroll into the office.
He also informs me that he is a big gadget buff, so I make sure he notices the slick Gaggenau kitchen appliances, state-of-the-art audio-visual system and home cinema at a penthouse apartment that takes his fancy. It’s a great new-build scheme on the City fringes, and he even arranges for his wife to come and take a look at the end of the week.
There is a good buzz in the office as we have been instructed on an incredible development in Great Marlborough Street, near Liberty, just off Regent Street.
It comprises four huge lateral apartments and is the kind of space everyone looks for. The team arranges a preview and we are impressed with what’s on offer. As it is currently off-market there are no details to send out, so we rush back to the office to personally call all our top buyers.
I book a couple of encouraging appointments for the start of the following week and reward myself with a delicious pie for lunch from one of the great Covent Garden delis. In order to sell an area well, you have to sample all their goods, surely.
It’s back to the Midtown penthouse today for the second viewing with the family. Thankfully for “Inspector Gadget”, his wife loves the place. They start measuring up for furniture — and, I imagine, for yet more hi-tech appliances.
I get back to the office an hour later with an offer for the apartment. After a small amount of negotiating, I have a reservation form to send to the vendor. In the afternoon, I block out a couple of hours to deal with ongoing sales and spend time catching up with clients and solicitors.
A client exchanges contracts on their sale in Bloomsbury to a lovely lady looking for her first home with her partner. Both vendor and buyer are delighted. It’s an afternoon well spent.

In a typically busy end to the week, I have viewings scheduled with a couple and their two children. The parents are looking for a flat each for their student offspring and they have chosen Covent Garden due to its proximity to both King’s College and London School of Economics.
The whole family is impressed with two flats just off Covent Garden piazza. Now there remains the dispute over who will have which apartment.
It’s slightly different to my university days, when you would be lucky if your flat had hot water and our only disputes were over the TV remote control.
I leave them to it and head to the local tavern with my colleagues to debate the opening day of the football Premier League season.
  • Samuel Aston is a senior sales negotiator in the West End office of CBRE (020 7420 3050).

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