Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Diary of an estate agent: Pimlico and Westminster

It’s pitch-black when I wake up to rush in for our weekly early morning meeting. A quick cup of tea with toast and Marmite gets me going and I’m hopeful of a great 2013. We had some excellent weeks last month, with 15 properties let in one week and four coming under offer at the weekend.

We go through our figures and current listings so that everyone is filled in on what’s happening, and with 175 properties there is a lot to know. Not bad either when you think we only opened last spring.

I have five valuations booked in today. The variety of people and properties is one of the reasons I love this job. My first valuation is a stunning house on Queen Anne’s Gate and I know I have just the right tenants.

My first appointment today is a five-storey house on St James’s Park, where near neighbours include the Queen. I know that the property will almost certainly be the owners’ largest asset so the decision to instruct me is an important one for them, but I feel confident it has gone well.

My next appointment is one of the oddest I’ve ever had. Driving up to a flat on Churchill Gardens, I’m looking forward to meeting the owner, who booked the appointment. However, when I walk into the studio room I am confronted by 20 people.

It would appear that the flat is a multi-generational family investment and they all want to be involved in choosing an agent. Talk about pressure to impress!

This evening I have to speak at the short let negotiator meeting in front of the entire company. Luckily I quite enjoy public speaking, but that doesn’t mean that my living room mirror has not witnessed a quick preview. All goes well and there are no embarrassing slip-ups.

We’re not even halfway through the week and we already have six properties under offer, with two agreed over the asking price, plus we’ve just taken on another four listings from yesterday’s valuations. With more valuations booked in, today is going to be busy.

One is a lovely property our sales team sold a couple of years ago. It appears, judging by the giant Bob the Builder toy I trip over walking through the door, they now have a family and are upsizing but have decided to keep the flat as a rental investment.

My afternoon is spent with the team doing paperwork and checking that everything is in order — the list is endless.
Today is also the birthday of one of my negotiators, so cake is on the menu with our afternoon tea. Great timing as I need a sugar rush.

We have five move-ins today. My daily 8am team meeting focuses on just this: as hard as we work for our landlords, it is vital our tenants get the same high level of service.

Making sure that everything is in order, I head off to have some new sets of keys cut, then pop over to check the properties have been cleaned properly, and turn on the heating. As an office in a prime location we see a huge amount of international tenants, and among our move-ins today we have a corporate tenant relocating from Geneva, and a Greek family from Athens.

Deal day. We want to exchange everything today as it’s the last banking day of the week. We have been working on a corporate deal with a large management consultancy in the City and a landlord who lives in Australia.

By 7.30am I am already in the office on the phone to the landlord. Being so far away, her main objective is to get a high-calibre tenant, with a quick move in and a long tenancy.

The company is signing for two years and wants to move in this evening. I call our property management team and by the time the tenants arrive to collect their keys the place is clean, the inventory is complete, safety checks are done and all contracts are signed and monies paid — thank heaven for our online e-deals. It looks like this is set to be another busy month.

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