Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary of an Estate Agent; Dating Agency Dreams, a Close Shave with a Guillotine and Some New Age Madness in Belsize Park This Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary of an Estate Agent; Dating Agency Dreams, a Close Shave with a Guillotine and Some New Age Madness in Belsize Park This Week

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID OKIN

Dating agency dreams, a close shave with a guillotine and some New Age madness in Belsize Park this week

Monday

Although it was my first day back at work after a holiday, I was pleased it was hot and sunny - a sign that we'll have a good week selling properties.

Leafy Belsize Park looks great in good weather, which makes even the gloomiest flats look bright. People are happier and often drop in after enjoying a relaxed breakfast on the pavement outside Starbucks.

The actor Charles Dance walked by, but, sadly for us, he wasn't on the lookout for a new property but was off to collect his dry cleaning from next door.

Six valuations on the trot, the first for a repeat client. She bought her studio flat through us two years ago, and she's done it up beautifully. So why sell so soon? She is setting up a dating agency and needs money to finance the new venture. I suggested we put it on at [pounds sterling]180,000. Dating agency, estate agency; it's all about matching up the right pair.

Tuesday

I spent the morning fielding calls from owners of three properties in a chain that are all selling through us and due to complete on Friday. Everyone has got the last-minute jitters.

With all buyers' fears soothed, I set off to value a [pounds sterling]1 million garden flat beside Belsize Park.

The owner, a northerner, was quite a character. In the kitchen was a huge cage with a parrot in it: the owner had taught it to repeat lines from the TV show Little Britain, which it did, word- perfect - all in a Manchester accent.

Wednesday

First off was a meeting about the new money-laundering laws, with a talk by a top City lawyer.

We're responsible now, so if anyone appears suspicious, we have to report them. We then had a follow-up meeting about our "goodwill charter". Since we introduced a lockout and deposit scheme to stop gazumping and gazundering we've hardly had any deals fail. …

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