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.
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.