Diary of an estate agent: Notting Hill lettings
This week, a Notting Hill lettings agent finds that fat-cat students are easy to please - but the snapper won't do stairs
With the longest Saturday opening hours of any residential lettings estate agent on Westbourne Grove, we had a busy weekend of viewings. Three offers quickly come in today. The first is for a maisonette on Notting Hill Garden Square, agreed with relative ease having been on the market since before Christmas. The others require a bit of back and forth to get the right results.
Afternoon is not quite as productive, as a key-operated lift keeps me locked in for an hour and a half - with the client. My applicant fills me in on her life story, which helps the time pass! Though she was initially quite keen on the flat, needless to say she does not make an offer. I have never been so grateful to be back outside in the rain - and by a complete miracle, there is no parking ticket!
A perk of working in an area like Notting Hill is the diversity of the people. This afternoon, I meet a student from China who can pay up to £2,000 a week for a three-bedroom property - slightly more than I had in my university days.
He also insists on driving us during our tour of six properties, which is a pleasant surprise, as he turns up in a Mercedes Benz gullwing and reveals his frustration at being placed on the waiting list for the latest Ferrari. He expresses strong interest in a modern new-build home (with off-street parking, of course) in Bayswater and promises to ring me later.
On the offers front, we still have no definitive answer from the landlord of a three-bedroom flat just off Kensington Park Road. Time to update the agitated applicant!
While en route to the office, I receive an email from my client, accepting the offer on the three-bedroom flat, so it’s over to our tenancy progression team to get the tenant in on time.
Later, I am invited round to a beautiful mews house just off the Portobello Road. The landlord has accumulated a lot of furniture and knick-knacks and the property looks like something straight off the cover of Country House. There is a fantastic roof terrace, but it can only be reached by the slimmest set of spiral stairs. The owner scans through the paperwork and instructs us there and then. I am told by our (large) photographer that bad weather prevented him taking pictures of the terrace - I later find out he couldn’t fit up the stairs!
My client is late for a viewing in Holland Park and it starts to snow. I seriously contemplate putting on my running leggings under the suit. After the viewing, I dash back to the office and sit next to the heater with a hot cup of tea. I then volunteer to go and let in a bloke who is delivering a new dishwasher to a flat we manage. When I arrive I find the dishwasher, left by the deliveryman who arrived early and dumped it in the common area.
Fortunately, I have just been on one of my biannual trips to the gym and am feeling in fine fettle - so with the help of one of my colleagues, we lug it up to the second floor and wait for the plumber to arrive and install it. I may have a bad back, but the tenant will have clean dishes!
I register a brilliant prospect this morning. Having spoken to her for about half an hour about the kind of flat she is looking for (in intricate detail), she announces that she has no access to a phone or email but will drop by to check up on my findings. She then leaves with two Strutt & Parker umbrellas and a generous handful of Strutt & Parker sweets.
The day is one of back-to-back viewings, with strong interest on our new mews house. Our tenant for the three-bedroom place moves in without any problems and is happy. I finish the week previewing a fantastic two-bedroom flat on Holland Park. While still in the property, I quickly phone round and manage to book in two viewings for tomorrow morning. This city never sleeps - and neither do I!
Logan Cordy is in the residential lettings section of Strutt & Parker's Notting Hill office (020 7221 1111)