Diary of an estate agent: Winchester

A cheeky fox tries its luck and Londoners are swapping the capital city for picturesque Winchester...

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A fox is the unexpected star as we launch into our regular round-up of the weekend’s activity. 

A colleague tells the story of how he was showing a rather smart £1 million architect-designed home on the coast, and he and the viewers had removed their shoes and left them outside the front door. 

As the tour progressed, they stopped to admire the view from a window... and spotted a fox dashing across the garden with one of the woman’s high-heeled shoes in its mouth. Quick as a flash, my colleague bolted out of the house in his stockinged feet and chased the fox round the garden, trying to grab the shoe. 

Luckily, the fox dropped it as it made its escape. 

We’re reviewing our current pipeline of sales. The important thing about any sale is to ensure it progresses smoothly  to an exchange of contracts and completion — easier said than done, of course. 

The summer’s been busy and productive, so we have a healthy register of sales to cover. But we appear to have matters under control and if we can gently steer things in the right direction, we are on track to have a good week for exchanges. 

We’ve a full diary for the rest of the day, and one of the highlights is completing the sale of a pretty thatched cottage in a village outside Winchester. 

It had been on the market with other agents for about a year, so it was a long haul for the vendor — and it’s greatly rewarding for them and us that we have found the right buyer.

A fantastic old farmhouse set in several acres and surrounded by classic Hampshire countryside is my first port of call. The owners moved out from south-west London a few years ago.

I’m sure the easy commute from Winchester to Waterloo, together with the excellent local schools, make it highly likely the property will appeal to another London family, in the event that the current owners decide to list their home with Hamptons. 

These potential clients are particularly interested in our forthcoming London to Country Roadshow next month. 

This involves five Hamptons offices in London hosting property experts from the country offices, to help buyers who are planning to make the move out of town. 

The roadshow is a relaxed affair, taking in a countryside theme, with activities for all the family. It’s always popular, and with Winchester recently being identified by Hamptons’ research team as one of the best places for community spirit in the country, we expect to be fielding plenty of enquiries.

There’s very rarely a quiet moment in this office, with a large team and a wide patch to cover, and today is no exception. 

The morning brings confirmation of our two latest instructions, including a lovely family house in a favourite village just outside Winchester in the Itchen Valley. 

Hopefully the recent good weather will hold up, as the house has a very special garden that should appeal to families and downsizers alike. 

The second instruction is a very pretty period cottage in the village of Twyford, a few miles south of Winchester and just a 10-minute walk from Shawford station with trains to Waterloo, making it a great location for any London commuter.  

This sunny morning is perfect for an early viewing at an impressive Grade II-listed barn conversion with a rather fun ancillary barn that stands on stone supports, or staddle stones. 

The property is the jewel in the crown of Manor Barns, a collection of beautiful conversions in glorious countryside only a 10-minute drive from Winchester city centre. It is a third viewing for the family so we are hopeful that an offer will be forthcoming.

Friday is always busy with plenty of viewings being arranged for the weekend, as well as exchanges and completions — although there is always at least one nail-biter that goes to the wire. 

Pleasingly, four sales exchange this afternoon, one of which has been very protracted and complicated. So we end the week by celebrating over a drink... after work, of course.

  • Gareth Anwyl is associate director of Hamptons International’s Winchester branch (01962 920 265).

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