Diary of an London estate agent: Fitzrovia, W1

A Charlotte Street estate agent revisits the site of a former tailor's shop - to find it has been converted into one of Soho's hottest new restaurants.
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New regime — the dog is coming to work with me. He is a Parson Jack Russell and is now mature enough for me not to have to put every bin in the office on a desk so that he doesn’t unpack the contents. The Monday morning meeting is under way and we go through the figures and share data within all departments to make sure we are maximising our opportunities and making improvements. 

Then Georgie shares this story with us. She was out last week with an Italian chap who was looking to buy. She thought he told her in his thick Mediterranean accent that he was a magician, so she asked him if he could make things disappear and he said no. She said, well could he pull a rabbit out of a hat, and he said no. After some quizzical looks he then said: “I’m a musician, not a magician.” 

I was asked by a friend of mine recently for advice, she was looking to buy a property on a mews. “Is it safe?” she asked me. You can walk down the right street at the wrong time anywhere of course, but the best way that you can generally get a good feel for any area is by spending time there. 

My advice is to always visit the outside, rear and adjoining streets at different times of the night and day to see what is going on. It’s also a good idea to check out the local pub to see who is hanging around the area and check on noise levels from nearby establishments, to avoid an expensive mistake.

The sales team have been busy tying up deals this week. We have a beautiful one-bedroom flat near to Fitzroy Square which has attracted a lot of interest and another modern apartment with some great views over the West End that looks likely to tie up today.
The sales team have wrapped up the two offers from yesterday so it’s great news for our sellers and buyers. This is, however, just the beginning. Getting the sale through to completion is the crucial next step as lots can go wrong.

Safeguarding the property transaction should start as soon as an offer is agreed — it focuses everybody’s mind to agree timescales with both parties. We also have to try to foresee any issues before they arise, and deal with any unexpected complications early, because a problem can soon take on monster proportions if you’re not on the ball.

It’s a beautiful day again today, so Eric  — the dog — and I go for a quick lunch and we sit outside. It’s great sitting in the sunshine on Charlotte Street and both clients and friends often stop by to have a quick chat. It’s very much a community feel in Fitzrovia.

I am off to a property seminar this morning hosted at the Cumberland Hotel. The speakers on the menu have all owned estate agencies, and have built very successful companies and brands. The common theme for success from all the speakers is great customer service and innovation, both key points Hudsons strives for.

Last night I was out for client drinks. We met at the Charlotte Street Hotel, the epicentre of Fitzrovia, then went on to Ember Yard, which is a great new restaurant and tapas bar at 52-54 Berwick Street in Soho.

I sold the freehold of 54 a few years ago and 52 was my old tailor’s shop, owned by Sam Arkus. Both properties have been demolished and rebuilt. Sam Arkus tailors started in 1947 and had a long history of famous clients including The Everly Brothers, Nick Cave and Bill Nighy. Old buildings have history and the new buildings create their own.

It has been a successful week in lettings, sales and commercial, and Eric came in three times and didn’t upturn one bin. Now for the weekend.

Jonathan Hudson is a director at Hudsons Property based in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277)

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