The morning starts well. I make three appointments in the first hour, and there’s an infectious feelgood buzz from staff and customers here in the office.
We let out a roof-lifting cheer as a client, a shrewd, down-to-earth East End market trader, accepts the fifth offer we present to him on his business premises. He is delighted and so are we — it feels great to deliver.
Later, returning from a valuation, I hear my appointment with Ms Ruby, the owner of an Edwardian townhouse, has been postponed. My heart thuds. I have potential buyers lined up and need to reschedule fast. I call her — no answer. My frustration eases as I remember it’s my birthday on Friday, and I’m spending the whole day with my wife and children.
I call Ms Ruby to rearrange and finally she answers, gasping for air. “I’ll call you back, I’m just with my personal trainer!” she informs me.
I am kept busy, rushing through the city streets with a variety of appointments, gaining an instruction and valuing dwellings in a variety of conditions, from two-bedroom renovation opportunities to an immaculate penthouse. I also meet a wonderful family who have bravely decided to emigrate to Canada. Their story is compelling, their tea is hot and sweet, their cake is delicious and, more importantly for them, and for me, their property is perfect to sell. We agree on the details and, with a handshake, I am instructed to go ahead.
Ms Ruby remains elusive. I can’t rest until I have rescheduled, but it’s too late to call. Tomorrow is another day.
Eureka! I speak to Ms Ruby. We make an appointment for this afternoon.
My wife calls and tells me they have booked my favourite restaurant for my birthday on Friday night.
I continue the calling and attending more viewings. Some conversations are not as successful as others, but I keep going. Later, it’s time for Ms Ruby’s house, but I rush over there to be greeted by a note on the door.
“Dear Mr Hunters man — sorry, had to rush out. Emergency! Please call me later to rearrange.” Words fail me.
“I’m sorry but my life’s manic, though you’re recommended, it’s tomorrow or nothing.”
I’m on the other end of the line, so Ms Ruby doesn’t see my head in my hands as my birthday with my family sails away. “Oh we’ll be there tomorrow Ms Ruby. Guaranteed.” I place her on hold and ask the rest of the team in the office if anyone could see her instead of me. Full diaries are waved in the air. I sigh. “Would first thing in the morning suit you Ms Ruby?”
A glamorous Ms Ruby welcomes me in. There is a suitcase in the doorway. “Going on holiday?” I ask.
She tells me she is indeed off to pastures new — Turkey, in fact — to be with her Turkish boyfriend. “I need the house selling — and fast. We need fun money,” she purrs with a flashing smile.
I tell her about my interested clients and that I can promise three viewings by the weekend. I walk around the immaculate house, and I’m impressed. I meet her back in the kitchen and she’s rushing around putting on her coat. “So I’ve heard that your company likes to work harder for their clients?” she asks. I nod with a half-smile.
“So will you give me a lift to the station? There’s a change of plan and I’m late.” I agree. If I’m honest, by now I’m looking forward to the journey and to listening to her story.
I’m a people person, and each person inside each house has a different story. I bet Ms Ruby’s story is fascinating but hopefully not too long — I’m banking on making my birthday dinner.
Gideon Gold is director at the West Hampstead branch of Hunters (020 7431 4777).