Diary of an estate agent: Fulham
The morning begins with an early second viewing on a gorgeous three-bedroom house we launched last week close to Parsons Green. The couple, looking for a buy-to-let investment, seem impressed by all its mod cons and impressive finish. Unsurprisingly, they offer the asking price at the end of the viewing. However, there are five other parties also offering, reflecting just how competitive the current market is for good houses in the area.
Due to all the demand, and since the vendors recently had a baby, a sealed bid seems the best way forward. The applicants vary from British cash buyers looking for buy-to-lets or buying for their children, to French first-time buyers with children who need to be within the catchment area for the Lycée prep school, to Italian first-time buyers looking to secure a property in London — a sign of the times in SW6.
At 2pm we sit down with the vendor to open the six envelopes, and various exclamations abound as we go through them. Needless to say the house is agreed significantly over the asking price.
I set aside the morning to show a few houses we have on our books, plus a few off-market properties, to a couple who are over from the Far East looking for a London base. With £1.3 million to spend, they are among the many who start their search in Chelsea or Belgravia, but decide that a 10-minute drive down the road for significantly more square footage is a no-brainer.
The current economic climate obviously hasn’t affected their perception of London as a safe haven for investment. The end of the day comes around quickly and it’s time for my weekly gym circuits class at Roehampton Club.
The day starts with a very welcome call from the solicitor for a couple who are clients of mine. He confirms we have exchanged contracts on a two-bedroom flat on Bishops Road, after a long, drawn-out process with a tricky lease extension and solicitors who certainly won’t be on each other’s Christmas card list this year...
My buyers are delighted since they are first-timers who have finally got on to the property ladder, with a little help from their parents. The next call I receive is somewhat different. An architect is in trouble. After a successful snoop around one of my exchanged properties, he can’t shut the recently frozen roof terrace door.
Not to worry. With a keen young intern and a make-up bag item, we come up with a solution. We ponder a while at first and then, in a flash, problem solved. With a popular brand of petroleum jelly usually used as lipsalve, a prop forward’s shunt and an unfamiliar moment of flexibility through the adjacent window, we’re done. All in a day’s work!
From the moment I walk into the office I am inundated with enquiries which result in me practically living in our new instruction on Swan Mews for the day. After 47 viewings and hours or juggling between applicants, it’s time for another sealed bid.
I receive lots of phone calls from buyers hoping to get the inside track, as if I already suspect what the other bidders will come back with, and what is necessary to close the deal. I have to tell them I can’t help. The Fulham market is very strong at the moment and I decide it’s time for a drink on Parsons Green, knowing that our client has achieved an excellent price.
Today is mostly taken up with valuations. I am particularly excited about a flat the vendor wishes to bring to the market next week as it sounds beautiful. I go in to have a look around but, unfortunately for him and for us, it is far from beautiful, let alone finished, with builders hanging about, bare wires and no windows. I won’t be talking to my buyers about that one just yet. The day finishes with the sealed bid on our mews house, and our client is thrilled. Roll on the weekend.
Alice Pearson-Wright is a sales negotiator at Strutt & Parker's Fulham office (020 7731 7100).