Diary of a London estate agent: Camden
Thu 04 Feb 2016
Its still only January but the office is already a buzz of activity. First things first, we look at and respond to all the
online weekend enquiries. In all my years of working in a London estate agency, this certainly feels like one of the
busiest starts to the year and will hopefully set the tone for the next few months. In addition, we received two
offers and I am looking forward to getting these agreed in the coming days.
My first meeting is to revisit a townhouse I saw a year ago when the lovely owner was planning on developing her
small two-bedroom home. Its now well under way to becoming a stunning, three-bedroom family house with a
fantastic living space and design features - what a transformation.
My second appointment is at a beautiful new-build apartment overlooking Regents Canal with a huge reception
room and balcony, which the seller is looking to release prior to the buy-to-let stamp duty increase, as its the
perfect investment property. After a leisurely stroll back to the office along the canal, taking in the lively delights
of Camden, the day ends with an agreed offer, another one in the throes of negotiation, and a new instruction.
As anticipated, the new instruction is very popular, especially as there simply isnt enough property on the market
in the area. By the afternoon, the office diary is full with viewings and our client is very happy.
However, the day isnt without its challenges. The second offer is proving tough to negotiate, but we are getting
the seller and buyer closer to an agreement.
The afternoon is dedicated to managing our under-offer portfolio of properties - speaking to solicitors, sellers and
purchasers to establish what needs to happen in order to exchange contracts. As the day draws to a close, we get
the sticky offer agreed - I think this was somewhat helped by my second double espresso of the day.
I have a busy day of valuations lined up and each meeting requires detailed preparation, including local
comparable sales to assure our clients that we are in the best position to get them the best price. The first stop is
a huge penthouse apartment in a sought-after converted factory, a short walk from the office.
I meet a cheery search agent who is looking after his clients property matters. The penthouse is quirky and
stylish, the sort of place I would love to live in. I just know weve got plenty of buyers waiting in the wings.
Next, I meet a couple with an 18-month-old son who are planning to move to St Albans. Interestingly, we see this
migration route from Camden quite often. Having lived in the area for many years, they are dubious about
leaving, but want a family house and garden.
Their toddler involves himself fully in the proceedings, gurgling away and taking a healthy interest in the
brochures - trying to eat them and using them as sliding material across the wooden floors. Im glad our
marketing material is put to such good use.
I have time for a quick stop at the office to respond to any messages and emails before running out again for
meetings, and a late finish.
Every Thursday we have our regional meeting, which begins at 8.30am at our Little Venice office. We go through
all of the deals currently in the pipeline and share details of properties with our neighbouring offices. This is a
chance to swap ideas and encourage them to bring their buyers across to this part of London. Marsh & Parsons
unique open network means that our clients properties are exposed to a greater number of people, so their
chances of getting the best sale increases.
Back at the office, we have multiple offers on a property near Euston, so a bid process is arranged. Each buyer is
invited to put forward their best offer, backed up with their buying position and proof of financial status, so the
seller can make a decision. When the bids have been submitted, the negotiators wait to hear who has the winning
offer. Its a close call. The seller decides to go with the highest offer, from a purchaser who can move quickly.
Everyone in the office seems to have that Friday feeling and the banter between the sales and lettings teams has
reached a whole new level.
It appears weve all got full diaries with lots of viewings, and I am on my way to a meeting with a gentleman
whose house we were marketing towards the end of last year. Since then, he has spruced up the property and we
are freshly launching it today.
As the working day ends, were ready to hit one of our favourite Camden watering holes for a well-earned drink -
and to celebrate my birthday.