Diary of an estate agent: Westminster

It's been a busy start to the summer market and an unfortunate incident in a lift threatens to cause embarrassment for the estate agents... 

We take the usual round of early phone calls in our busy Pimlico and Westminster office, with landlords and tenants keen to seal the deal on viewings and offers from the weekend. 

Our message banks are full, too, so after our morning meeting, negotiators get straight down to calling prospective tenants to see if they want to proceed on offers or arrange new viewings — it’s like a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street, but without the shenanigans and dancers. 

After a mid-morning coffee at our local Gail’s bakery, I head to my first valuation in sought-after St George’s Square, Pimlico. It’s a beautiful two-bedroom property, designed to exacting standards by a local developer, and I’m pleased we’re instructed to market it. 

The summer market’s buoyant and we have a busy day of valuations. My first is at a flat we are re-letting in Galleon House, in the prestigious waterside St George Wharf development in Vauxhall. The properties here are beautifully designed and make the perfect city pad for young professionals.

Back at the office, I immediately call the landlord and update them on the  condition of the flat, my position on the market, and give a rental valuation — I’m recommending a small increase. Then it’s time to get started on the marketing.

It’s our weekly meeting at our Earl’s Court office, at 8am. This is a chance for neighbouring offices to get together and discuss new deals, corporate services leads, and the “hot five” properties within each office. 

These are the most competitively priced vacant properties that should be let within the week. These meetings ensure staff know what homes are available through our open-office network, and afterwards negotiators get quite fired up to hammer the phones and conduct viewings.

A “client contact” session kicks off the day, with us calling our landlords and going through every property in detail. I update them on recent viewings, any feedback, and answer their queries. 

After a quick coffee, I head to another valuation with my right-hand man, Hugo. Despite the flat only being on the second floor, we lazily decide to take the lift. As it sets off, we hear a clunk and feel a jolt. 

Trying to stay calm, I put in a casual call to the landlord to say we’re running a few minutes late, as we are stuck in their lift. After what seems like a lifetime, the lift finally moves. A sigh of relief — then we knock the door.

With the end of the week in sight there’s no sign of business slowing down. I’ve got a solid day of valuations in the diary, starting at a stunning three-bedroom property in very desirable Vincent Square, Westminster. 

The landlord is extremely warm towards us, as her friend used Marsh & Parsons before and highly recommends us. This is another beautiful property and an absolute pleasure to bring to the market for our new-found client. 

We grab some pad Thai from our local favourite — Rosa’s Thai Café in Wilton Road, Victoria — before returning to the office. Hugo receives an offer through our corporate services department, who work directly with international companies that are relocating staff from abroad. 

It’s a fast turn-around as these corporate partners are pre-vetted, and corporate tenants are regarded as “golden” for landlords. 

Most Friday evenings after the lights go down, the team meets across the road at The Marquis pub to debrief. This evening, it’s a glass of rosé in the sunshine as we reflect on the week. Saturday is deal day, which is always fun.

  • Tom Whitehouse is lettings manager for Marsh & Parsons in Pimlico and Westminster (020 7828 8100).

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