Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary of an Estate Agent

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Diary of an Estate Agent

Article excerpt

A hassled commuter finds the City flat - and furniture - of his dreams in the heart of Jack The Ripper territory


Had a busy start checking the progress of all our properties under offer and phoning all the solicitors to see if we can get things moving. This is always tricky because many solicitors immediately go on the defensive when they hear an agent's voice. Perhaps they agree with comedians Fry and Laurie that, "There is only one thing more irritating than an estate agent, but at least that can be lanced, drained and surgically dressed".

In the middle of this, I got a call from a gentleman sitting at his desk in the City, plainly exhausted and suicidal, having just arrived from his home near Cambridge. He'd left Ely on the 6.59am train, which should have deposited him at King's Cross at 8.15am.

Instead, it had covered only 15 miles in the first hour before breaking down altogether, so the passengers were packed into a following train that got them in at 10.15am.

Could we please find him a flat for sale as soon as possible, he wondered.

He's not alone. Lots of our buyers are sick of commuting every day and want a home next door to the office for three nights a week. With 4,800 residential properties in the City, I reassured him we would oblige.


I've found several possibilities for our commuter, but rang him to ask how fit he felt. Some apartments in the new developments have lifts, but ones in pretty Victorian buildings, such as The Power House, a four-storey property squashed between two commercial premises on Cornhill, don't. However, a one-bedroom flat there costs just [pound]220,000. I arranged to meet him outside that afternoon.

I'll be walking over: no flashy company cars for us in the Square Mile since we're only a 20-minute walk to the furthest point on our patch. If he doesn't like that one, there's a little ground-floor studio flat in Ludgate Square for [pound]150,000, one in Globe View on Upper Thames Street and a couple off Bishopsgate. …

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