Thursday, 11 August 2022

The diary of a Henley estate agent


The diary of a Henley estate agent

A Homes Weekly series sees estate agents from the Henley area write about their day to day reality. This week JULIE NORMAN, the senior office manager at Davis Tate’s Sonning Common branch, opens her diary...



The sun’s out and the day is full of promise. We have a full diary of property viewings and our first Financial Clinic in the office.

The joy of working in a thriving village such as Sonning Common is the excellent working relationships we have with the local people.

My colleague Jo Parker, our sales and lettings negotiator, set up this clinic to enable both our tenants, buyers and vendors (sellers) to come and meet our finance chap Richard Cluderay for a 30-minute chat.

She’s even supplied colouring crayons and pictures for any children in tow. We set up the coffee machine and get out the biscuits ready for the first appointments.


I run through the viewings with our senior negotiator, Melissa Edwards, and we decide who will conduct each appointment. One of us will be in the office all day. All the appointments were confirmed during Friday afternoon.

More internet enquiries have come in overnight — we speak to the applicants (house hunters), discuss their requirements and circumstances and agree that we should extend our day and show them the properties they have asked to see.

This first conversation is so important to determine their timescales, property requirements and funding sources. There’s no point booking an appointment for someone who needs a double garage for classic cars at a house with no garage!

One of the applicants is visiting the area from West London and is a bit vague on how she will fund her purchase. Bingo! We offer her an appointment with Richard prior to her property visit to help her understand both the products available and her capacity to borrow.


Melissa leaves for the first viewings of the morning. All the viewing packs have been put together the night before. We always include the property details along with a breakdown of the legal costs, including stamp duty, with a brochure describing the excellent service provided by our conveyancing company.

For applicants who don’t live locally, we also include the village magazine so that they can see the excellent facilities we have in Sonning Common.


Richard has arrived and set up camp in the back office. He has such a superb range of exclusive mortgage products and has saved many a purchase with his swift action and expertise. The first applicant arrives and armed with a coffee and biscuit retreats to our back office to talk to Richard.


I receive an offer on a property from an applicant house-hunter who has been looking in the area for the last couple of months.

The property they like hasn’t even hit the internet yet — we suggested he viewed before “going live”. He makes a strong offer and I call the vendor (seller).

As the applicant has already spoken with Richard, I am able to confidently assure the vendor that the offer is fully financially verified and, if acceptable, the applicant will be able to secure the necessary mortgage finance.


My turn to hit the road as Melissa comes back into the office. I have a valuation of a property that the owners bought through us nearly 10 years ago. (Have I really been selling and renting properties in this area that long?)

It’s lovely to meet them again and to see all the changes they’ve made to the house. We talk about the current market and the slight change in emphasis we’ve seen this year, with more cautious buyers and the need to build up chains to secure sales.

There’s no doubt that people are now wanting to identify their onward purchase before putting their own house on the market.


I now have a viewing at one of our rental properties. The landlord bought this house through us and I feel a huge responsibility to find him a good tenant quickly and efficiently.

The landlord will allow future tenants to keep a pet, subject to an additional deposit, and this makes the comfortable four-bedroom home a real winner for the family I am showing.

I explain to the potential tenants that we will need to undertake references through an independent company and we discuss timescales.

They promise to call on Monday to confirm whether they would like to make an offer.


Our finance clinic has been a great success and the couple seen by Richard at 1.30pm are on their way with Melissa to the open house of one of our new instructions just around the corner. We agree that we will repeat the clinic every three months.

Richard packs his bags and goes on to his next appointment with one of our vendors who have asked him to arrange the porting of their existing mortgage to their new house.

I’m delighted they want to use him as I know he will have this sorted and their new mortgage offer issued within the next three weeks.


Our offer from earlier in the day is not quite enough for our vendor, so I call the applicant and ask him to sleep on it over the weekend.

I always ask people to take time to consider their offers carefully and try and project how they’ll feel in three weeks’ time. Will they be uncomfortable to have over-bid for the house or will they be really upset to have lost it? We agree to catch up on Monday morning.


We extended our open house to accommodate more viewing requests and Melissa comes back to the office with a big smile on her face.

The couple who saw Richard earlier in the day like it and are promising to make an offer on Monday.

They may have to fight for it with all the other interest! What a great launch for a new instruction.


We tidy up the office, bring the board and papers in, but feel lucky that we don’t have to wash the coffee cups — our cleaner comes in on Sunday.

We agree we’ve had a good day — everyone we’ve met today seems positive and excited at the prospect of moving.

Home now to remind myself who my husband is and then to order a Saturday night curry from the village tandoori house — they know me there and know my order!

l Julie Norman MNAEA MARLA is the senior office Manager at Davis Tate’s Sonning Common branch


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