Diary of an estate agent: central London
As the October rains thrash down on Mayfair, I look despondently out of my office window and wish to God that I hadn’t been quite so enthusiastic about booking previews for this morning.
The search element of my job is one that I normally relish — racing around central London looking at expensive property is a rather fun way to spend your day, I find as a rule. But quite frankly, in this weather, a day of report-writing becomes the more attractive option. Still, the properties await — there’s a
£5 million Knightsbridge penthouse, a lateral flat in Notting Hill for £3.5 million and a little two-bedroom flat in South Kensington for £1.75 million, among others.
Tonight, our parent company Strutt & Parker is hosting a party at Christie’s to celebrate its recent affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate, and we are celebrating amid the current postwar & contemporary art collection. Some of the pieces are quite stunning. However, I am still trying to come up with an appropriate setting for a model of a donkey climbing the Empire State Building. Whoever the lucky bidder is on that will surely need us to find them a suitable property to display their new “artwork”? Now, there’s a challenge.
A colleague calls me in a bit of a panic. He’s currently advising a wealthy Middle Eastern client on a commercial investment and the client has decided he fancies a little “crashpad” in town and would like to find something before he goes home... at the end of the week. “Charlotte, please say you can help!” So, it’s off to the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel to meet the client, establish the brief and get on with it.
He needs a two-bedroom, two-bathroom flat in Knightsbridge or Mayfair with a share of the freehold for £2 million. Not as easy as it sounds. Back to the office to pull together a shortlist.
Mr Middle East has decided he doesn’t need a flat that urgently after all. He’s already left London. But he assures me he’ll give more notice next time. I remain sceptical.
Another client wants to make an offer on a house in Chelsea that we showed her last week. However, it is considerably overvalued and the agents managed to mis-measure the place.
We’re about to make a bid on a property that is 150sq ft smaller than advertised, at £200,000 lower than the last offer received. I’m fairly certain our opening bid will be met with disappointment.
The morning is spent in the office, writing a report on the Chelsea house. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Of course it is. So, in the afternoon I get on a Boris bike and pedal my way in the sunshine to Fitzrovia to the launch of one of the new developments in central London. Despite being nothing more than a hole in the ground, the marketing suite is exquisitely kitted out and gives a great idea of what will rise from the ashes. I leave with a goody bag, which I’m delighted to discover includes a Diptyque candle and some delicious brownies wrapped in the prettiest Cellophane. It’s the small things…
Delighted to receive a call confirming we’ve agreed terms on the Chelsea house. We managed to save our client 10 per cent of the asking price, which is a great result for everyone — except their agent.
This afternoon, we head up to Regent’s Park to view a £48 million house. This takes “dressed to impress” to a new level, with an original Lowry in nearly every room. At £1.5 million a pop, I’m assuming they’re not included in the asking price...
We are escorted to our car by Estevan, the Mexican butler, who provides umbrellas. Yes, the rain has returned. Just in time for the weekend.
Charlotte de Silva is a property searcher with privatepropertysearch.co.uk (020 7318 5186)