Following my day in the life of a commercial property agent (see blog of 21st September 2011), the other day I spent some of the day with the residential team at E A Shaw.
We started with a meeting at 830am where almost the entire sales and lettings teams (13 people in total) gathered to share their views on the Central London residential markets such as Covent Garden, Soho, Holborn, Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury and to consider all the current developments and properties being marketed. There were also reports from recent trips to the Far East – as a significant number of investors in the area are from China, Thailand and Singapore. We also talked about the rather different needs of the various buyer groups – international investors, buy to let, second homes, students and commercial operators.
Immediately afterwards, I accompanied two of the sales team to walk the short distance to Acre House at the top of Long Acre where, with permission from the site manager, we had a look around a number of apartments (one bedroom priced at £595,000 for 450 sq ft) – including three stunning penthouses (the largest three bedroom and three bathroom version at 1,700 sq ft priced at £2.85m) – which are nearing completion and about to go on sale. Whilst admiring the rooftops view I also longingly lingered over some of the lovely interior design touches such as standalone fireplaces and flat screen TVs in huge bathrooms. If only I had a couple of million pounds to spare…
Then I was whisked by the lettings manager (who incidentally was – like me – inspired to a property career as her father was a quantity surveyor) to see the nine completed (of 30) apartments in Slingsby Place which will be taken over shortly by a serviced apartment operator in the fabulous new St Martin’s Courtyard. This was particularly exciting for me as I had recently been to see the commercial spaces available in this development. Bright, modern designs in the public spaces and smart dark wood fittings added to the attraction of balconies looking out over Covent Garden.
We had a brief stop for a cup of coffee, and to take numerous phone calls from those looking for apartments to rent or buy and to chase up progress from all the parties involved in the considerable number of active transactions. I was also invited to take a look at the CGIs for some beautiful new apartments at the top of Bow Street. They looked like spreads from award winning homes in glossy magazines. Talk about apartment envy.
Then I was off to observe on a valuation visit with one of the negotiators to meet with a couple who were keen to sell their apartment in the heart of Covent Garden after living there for over 20 years. We chatted while sitting in a spacious, rooftop double aspect book filled lounge and then took a tour of the two bedrooms and bijou kitchen. Despite its location, the apartment was surprisingly quiet. The vendors put the negotiator on the spot requesting an instant valuation (after some deliberation this was suggested at between £650-675K), details of fees and a reason why they should be chosen as agents (compared to the three others they were seeing). He remained chatty – and they talked about how the area had changed over the years – and answered their questions rather well I thought. We shall see.
Then it was back to the office to check on those never ending calls and enquiries. Around 1230 it was time for another meeting – this time with the partners.