Saturday, 19 August 2017

Exclusive: Diary of a Henley estate agent

Exclusive: Diary of a Henley estate agent

In the first of a new series, estate agents from the Henley area write about their day to day reality. This week MARGARET CONNERTY, the senior sales negotiator at Davis Tate, opens her diary...

MONDAY

The sun is shining, the Thames is glistening, and Remenham Hill is chocka!

Spring has arrived here in Henley and with it comes a new market of buyers and sellers. Today’s diary is jam-packed with viewings and market appraisals, the phones are ringing off the hook and the office is buzzing.

After the morning meeting, the day gets off to a quick start with a first-time buyer coming in to the office to see our manager, Jason Applebey, to make an offer on a property in Wargrave that she viewed with him on Saturday.

Not long after she leaves the office another couple come in asking if I can sell their property because they want to buy a property that we’ve just put on the market in the same area with a much bigger garden, which would suit them down to the ground.

I book to go and see them with our negotiator and photographer Becky Manson, at 2pm today.

By the time I get back to the office the property in Wargrave has gone under offer, four more market appraisals have been booked in, and we’ve had five asking price offers on a property with scope to renovate in town! A “best and final” offers deadline has been set for Friday at noon.

After replying to emails and returning the last of my calls, I glance at the clock and notice it’s 7.45pm. Even the sunshine has retired, so it’s home-time for me...

TUESDAY

Jason and I have five market appraisals between us today and Becky has back-to-back viewings all afternoon, so we have yet another busy day ahead. The weather is still glorious so the streets of Henley are bustling.

One couple I see haven’t had much luck with their current agent and are worried about losing the property they are buying — which they originally went on the market for! They instruct me to put theirs on the market with us too.

While the weather is nice I manage to squeeze their photographs in to be done later today. Their property is beautiful and I already have several buyers in mind for it.

Meanwhile, I’ve just launched the property Becky and I went to yesterday, so we hit the phones to tell our registered buyers about it, which results in several viewings being booked.

Jason has just been instructed on two of the properties that he saw this afternoon. Both vendors are looking to downsize closer to the town centre, so we already have several central properties in mind for them.

“Ding-ding” goes the office bell — we love this sound! Fay Rutherford, our in-house sales progressor has just received confirmation of an exchange of contracts on a property sale agreed only three and a half weeks ago!

The buyer left this testimonial on the www.allagents.couk website on his experience with Davis Tate: “Thank you to all the team at Davis Tate for making the purchase of our new home simple, quick and efficient. From first visit to the office on a Saturday and meeting Margaret, through viewings with Becky and administration with Fay, all have been superb, making what could have been a stressful time in to one with little or no stress at all. We are thrilled with our new home, and really pleased we bought through Davis Tate.”

Our rentals department is also incredibly busy and our lettings manager Jennifer King has just agreed her tenth let of the month, so is beaming from ear to ear. I then spot a bottle of champagne on her desk, which was dropped in earlier by a happy landlord, so I think that may explain the Cheshire Cat grin!

WEDNESDAY

In estate agency, business takes many months if not years to cultivate, and this is definitely true of the clients who walk into the office today.

Over the past five years Jason has valued their property on a number of occasions. However timing is key when moving house and at the weekend they spotted their dream home on the coast, so they feel now is the right time to move.

They have a fantastic family home on a very popular road in Henley and haven’t moved for a long time, so are understandably slightly daunted by the whole process. But it’s our job to ensure that they relocate with minimal stress and we’re really looking forward to working with them.

Later I take a reservation deposit for a plot on one of our Millgate Homes new-development sites. Meanwhile, Jennifer is busy negotiating several lettings offers and Becky is dealing with several sales offers.

Next I get a call from a lady who I went to see last year who has seen a property on the market with one of our other offices. She would like to put her property on the market ASAP, so we’re due to go back next week after she’s finished some decorating!

THURSDAY

Today starts off with a flurry of security officers dotting themselves strategically up and down Bell Street.

Has Theresa May popped in to town to secure a good buy-to-let investment, I wonder? Sadly not — she’s just taken a break from her Brexit commitments to pop into one of her favourite Henley boutiques on Bell Street across the road from our office!

Later in the day, I head to a market appraisal and meet a lovely lady who’s lived in the same road for more than 40 years. She wants to move closer to her children and grandchildren on the other side of the country.

I’m delighted to be instructed, but this is going to be a heart-wrenching move for her with all her friends living close by.

I spend a couple of hours with her, fascinated by her stories about the neighbourhood and memories in the house raising her family.

I leave knowing so much more about her, the house and the neighbourhood, and it will be such a popular family home.

Later, I have a run of viewings with a buy-to-let investor who wants to add another to his portfolio. He seems to like the last one I show him and wants to bring his friend back for a second look at the weekend.

FRIDAY

The tension is mounting on the outcome of the ‘best and final’ offers from earlier in the week.

By noon I’ve received five bids, all of which are very close in value. However, we end up agreeing to eight per cent over the asking price, so the vendor is delighted and the successful buyer, relieved!

Next I have to inform four very disappointed buyers that they aren’t successful. Luckily I’ve just successfully canvassed a very similar property, so fingers crossed that it might be perfect for one of the unsuccessful bidders.

We get a lot of calls and visitors in the office today in response to our hoarding going up on the Laureate Gardens development at the old Townlands Hospital site in town. It is already proving to be a very popular development and I can’t wait to be involved in its launch.

I check the diary for the tomorrow and it’s full to the brim with lettings and sales viewings, so fingers crossed everyone is on time for their appointments!

“Ding-ding!” Fay is looking delighted once again as she announces the exchange on a property which had a chain of five related sales. I know she has worked tirelessly on the progression of this particular sale, so I’ve decided to rename her “Faybulous”, which I think she rather likes.

n Margaret Connerty MNAEA is the senior sales negotiator at the Henley branch of Davis Tate.

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