The naked truth about what an es­tate agent re­ally sees

Naked men, life coach­ing and Chinese on the house. Es­tate agent Tanya Cof­fey re­veals what re­ally hap­pens be­hind closed doors.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

IT shouldn’t hap­pen to an es­tate agent, but it fre­quently does, which is why we asked Tanya Cof­fey, an As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor at Sav­ills es­tate agency in York, to keep a di­ary. This is the re­sult and the seven-day record re­veals that there is far more to es­tate agency than sell­ing houses,


We’ve launched a new app for the iPhone and have lots of new clients ask­ing us to visit their prop­er­ties be­cause of it. I need to have a go, and re­solve to be more techie this year. Es­tate agency has changed so much since the in­ter­net took over and now some­thing like 98 per cent of our buy­ers search through our web­site. In the af­ter­noon, I spend two hours tidy­ing up a house to make it pre­sentable enough for the brochure. You re­ally wouldn’t be­lieve some of the things peo­ple leave ly­ing around.


Or­gan­ised a view­ing this morn­ing at a smart apart­ment in York city cen­tre. On the way, I meet the po­ten­tial buy­ers, an el­derly cou­ple who I’ve known for some time. We make our way to the flat which, as I ex­plain to the clients, would be a great buy for them. It has all the mod cons and fan­tas­tic views of the city, plus it’s got easy ac­cess to the shops, which is what they’re look­ing for.

The flat’s owner has al­ready given me keys and asked us to let our­selves in as he’s out of town this week. We knock just in case. I’m in the process of show­ing the clients the mas­ter bed­room and fit­ted wardrobes, when out of the en suite pops the owner, as naked as the day he was born. The ven­dor apol­o­gises pro­fusely as do we. It’s times like this that se­ri­ously test your sales patter. My buy­ers and I don’t know where to look. The ven­dor re­solves to get dressed while I con­tinue to dis­cuss the apart­ment’s other mer­its as if noth­ing is out of the or­di­nary.

Get back to the of­fice to retell my story of the day. Col­leagues think I’m jok­ing.


Two view­ings first thing. On the way to the sec­ond, a car mounts the kerb and al­most hits me, while the driver, who it turns out is a client, throws some keys my way and asks if I can look at an­other of his apart­ments to sell.

Next, I sort out pho­tog­ra­phy for a lovely five-bed­room prop­erty on Bootham. I am so ex­cited about be­ing in­structed on it that I also buy a lot­tery ticket just in case I win and can buy it my­self one day.

Af­ter a busy day I visit the lo­cal Chinese restau­rant where I’m greeted with: “Miss Cof­fey, you are fa­mous”. It turns out the fam­ily who own the place have been col­lect­ing some of the fly­ers we send out in their area, com­plete with my mug shot. As an es­tate agent you’re an ac­tive mem­ber of a com­mu­nity and peo­ple start to recog­nise you. I end up giv­ing ad­vice on the mar­ket at the mo­ment and telling the restau­rant own­ers that their daugh­ter’s flat was a great in­vest­ment. En­joy chicken chow mein on the house.


One of the things that be­comes sec­ond na­ture to an es­tate agent is life coach­ing. To­day I was asked my opin­ion on a lady client’s mar­riage. Should she stay or should she go? Es­tate agent’s ad­vice is al­ways to think pos­i­tive and so I ad­vise her to give it an­other try. Later, a celebrity client re­quests a view­ing. We never re­veal their names but it makes the job so ex­cit­ing.


How does the say­ing go? You should never work with chil­dren or an­i­mals. I’ve been sub­ject to a client’s dog’s af­fec­tions be­fore now, which, be­lieve me, doesn’t look good when you’re try­ing to be pro­fes­sional. I’ve also been bit­ten by a client’s tod­dler – ouch.

I seem to make ba­bies cry so am slightly ner­vous when I see pushchair out­side a stun­ning pe­riod prop­erty. How­ever it all goes well and both client and baby seem to warm to me. I also man­age to get the in­struc­tion.


To­day I’m in­spect­ing a new prop­erty to put it on the mar­ket. The owner has left me the keys so I let my­self in. I look through all the rooms, think­ing about writ­ing the brochure as I go along. I ven­ture out to look at the gar­den and the pa­tio doors close be­hind me. I am locked out. I end up hav­ing to climb over the fence at the back of the house. I walk back down the street to start again. I pre­tend no one has seen me al­though I do see the cur­tains twitch­ing next door. Great news re the “Naked Client” flat - we man­age to sell it for the ask­ing price. Must have been a good omen.

I turn my Black­berry off for a day away from work. Give in at lunch time though and check my emails just in case.

GRAND DE­SIGN: Heath House is in the “vil­lage of man­sions” and is a stun­ning ex­am­ple of Ge­or­gian splen­dour, with a 21st-cen­tury makeover.

DREAM HOME: The five-bed­room house in Bootham which Tanya was so ex­cited about she bought a lot­tery ticket in the hope of buy­ing it her­self.

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