After taking stock of our market and updating clients and colleagues on activities over the weekend, valuations kick off at midday. I start with a revaluation on a big three-bedroom property just off Northcote Road in Clapham. It is a very popular area, and rental prices reflect this, but in this particular property, tenant numbers seem to have escalated. This comes as a stark realisation for the client as she is forced to consider whether to turn a blind eye or, as per my recommendation, serve notice and start all over with a more reliable and honest set of tenants.
I went to see a family this morning who need to move for the school catchment area — not an unfamiliar scenario here in “Nappy Valley”, where quality schools are highly sought-after and a finite number of places keenly contested. Luckily, they are currently proud owners of a privately gated, two double bedroom, purpose-built property with off-street parking — certainly a rarity between the Commons, and one which will inevitably be fought over. Speaking to the sales team, it seems that their onward purchase is also at an advanced stage, so if all goes well this property should be on our books shortly.
I take a couple who have just registered with us to view an amazing mansion flat overlooking Battersea Park. They are about to get married and so need somewhere urgently — and they’ve already seen eight properties. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one, as I think it ticks every box. The viewing goes well and they agree to take it. Unfortunately, my luck then takes a turn for the worse. While dropping the happy couple back at the office, my car door gets ripped off by a passing car. That would be my blind spot…
The day gets off to a better start as I assess that we’ve already taken on five new properties this week. But swiftly, an unfortunate and unforeseen drama sets in, when I go to see a stunning two- bedroom, ground-floor garden flat. The landlady, who lives there, has refurbished extensively to a very high standard. It is always nice when the client goes the extra mile to make their property stand out, I reflect, while gazing on the pièce de résistance — an open-plan living/reception room with folding doors leading to a pretty patio garden.
After my guided tour, we sit to discuss the letting process at a table next to a large bunch of freesias. As I talk to the client, my mouth becomes dry, my chest tightens rapidly, and I get so short of breath that I have to leave the room for some fresh air. Feeling better, I go to the doctor; it turns out that I have an uncommonly fierce allergy to freesias.
Today we manage to secure a short let for a 10-week period, for a couple purchasing a new home who need to bridge the gap between selling and buying. While only a short fix for our client, it is good for the landlord, who gets 40% more than the long-let price. Even so, at £1,200 per week, it is still cheaper for a family of four than taking a hotel for the same period, not to mention being far more comfortable.
The week ends on a good note: my client from Monday, with the mysteriously over-populated rented house, has decided to start again with brand new tenants — and I have the perfect couple in mind.
* Duncan Blakelock is lettings manager at the Battersea branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (020 7228 8688)