Diary of an estate agent: Kensington
Kensington Church Street looks like it is holding the annual Moto Grand Prix, with Strutt & Parker mopeds arriving from all directions in time for the 7.45am start-the-week meeting.
The flats team are very excited about some fantastic new properties we are launching this week, and the morning is spent arranging a mass of viewings. The afternoon is somewhat ruined by a pigeon on a mission, ending in a visit to the dry cleaners! Thankfully I keep a spare suit in the office.
However, there is plenty of viewing activity this afternoon and the market is looking more encouraging than of late. I spend the evening playing squash in our yearly mini Olympics against the other branches. Training has been intense for months.
It's a struggle getting out of bed — my legs are incredibly sore as a result of last night's epic squash match. My first meeting is at 8am at head office in Hill Street with our residential development team, who are summarising the very exciting new projects we've been instructed on.
We start work on a fabulous maisonette above a Michelin-star restaurant — we have promised ourselves that if we achieve a good result for our clients, we will have a six-course dinner there to celebrate. Great news in the afternoon — we exchange on our third flat in Iverna Gardens this year.
My first viewing this morning almost gives the buyer a heart attack. There is no answer when we knock on the door and upon entry we are somewhat surprised to see the owner coming out of the shower. Luckily all parties concerned survive the experience and the buyer likes what they see... in terms of the property, that is!
The afternoon is spent in meetings with our private property search team, who have a number of hungry buyers looking locally.
I agreed a sale last night with another agent — but I get the dreaded phone call this morning to say we've been gazumped. This is the most unattractive part of our job and the agent always seems to get the blame.
My plan for today is to find another property for my charming buyers, and to leave no stone unturned. By the end of the day I've got eight properties to show them and I am feeling confident the mission will be accomplished.
A new client shows us around his ultra-cool apartment. The property has video cameras everywhere, so wherever our client is in the world, he can see and hear what's going on back home. I just hope anyone we bring along to see the place doesn't say or do anything inappropriate.
Thank God I saw Skyfall last night, as one of our clients has locked herself out of her apartment. To let her back in I scramble on to the roof, squeeze through the very small skylight and open the door from the inside. It's all terrifying, but I suffer only a minor rip in my trousers. Not a great week for my suits. What we do for our clients!
Henry Watson is an associate in the sales department of Strutt & Parker in Kensington (020 7938 3666).