Over the next few days we will be publishing exclusive extracts from Confessions of an Estate Agent by Rosalind Russell. Short, snappy and hilarious, these excerpts collated by Russell are guaranteed to brighten your day. You’ll never look at estate agents in quite the same way again
Wednesday, 2 May
I had a valuation at a 1930s house, owned by Mr and Mrs T. We eventually reached the dining room, where, above a large oak drinks cabinet, hung a painting of Mrs T, leaning casually on a bookcase, completely naked. “What a lovely drinks cabinet!” I exclaimed. What else could I say?
Lloyd Moss of Regent’s in Sunbury
Tuesday, 1 May
Next, a problem to solve. Landlady in Hong Kong, departing Spanish tenant here in London, speaking little English. Landlady is trying to stop a lot of his deposit being returned, claiming damage. This includes bedding which has been in use for six years and cracks in the door frame which could be caused by subsidence of the building, nothing to do with the tenant. I had to negotiate.
“My English is terrible,” said my apologetic Spaniard, “So I think this is not the right word… but if she takes all my money, can I shoot her?” Stifling laughter, I gently corrected him. “You can sue her, but I wouldn’t advise shooting her.”
Lynn Hilton of Cluttons in Tower Bridge.
Monday, 30 April
Mrs Y swept in and I knew this would not be a social call. I was right. She lives next door to a large semi we are selling and has been very nosey about viewings. Today she announced she did not want the house to be sold to overseas buyers. I was delighted to tell her we’d already had an offer on it and I had no idea where the buyer came from as she was wearing a full face veil.
Lucy Winberg of Stickley & Kent in Belsize Park
Friday, 27 April
I had an evening appointment at a cottage overlooking the green in a lovely village, four miles from the town. At the cottage, it was bath time and I arrived as four naked children streaked through the house with nanny in hot pursuit. I sat on the sofa to discuss details with the owners and became aware of a pair of massive St Bernards padding into the room. The female of the two inched closer and eventually climbed up, spread herself over my lap and dribbled quietly. She must have weighed 12 stones. As the owners totally ignored what had happened, I felt they may beoffended if I pushed it off, so it made itself comfortable. Half an hour later, I staggered to the car, soaked and crippled with cramp.
James Grillo of Lane Fox in Haslemere
Thursday, 26 April
We had a complaint from a buyer who had arrived to take possession of his new home and found a gardening company rolling up the lawn for removal on the seller’s orders. It had been a difficult sale and at the end, the client acted true to form. He dropped by to thank me for all my hard work.
He left a box of Black Magic. Minus the Sellophane wrapper, and the bottom layer.
Christian Harper of OliverFinn in Chiswick
Wednesday, 25 April
It really made my week when a male colleague returned, pink-faced, from showing a West End apartment to a lady looking for a flat for her two strapping sons. She had lain down on one of the beds to try it for size. “You look about the same height as my boys,” she’d told him with a smile, patting the duvet beside her. “Would you mind lying down so I can check?”
Rebecca Hardy of Gascoigne Pees Lettings in Chelsea
Tuesday, 24 April
What a ghastly morning… I went to show a couple round a house but hadn’t been able to contact the owner, so asked them if they’d mind waiting while I checked it was OK to view. I rang the doorbell – no reply – so let myself in.
All quiet, until I walked past the study door and saw him slumped across his desk, wearing just his underpants. Alarmed he may be dead, I shook him. There was no response, so I was trying to find a pulse, when the viewers walked in. The vendor woke suddenly, demanded to know what I was doing, while the applicants were plainly wondering why I was holding the hand of an almost naked (and I discovered later, very drunk) man. They viewed me with some suspicion for the remainder of the tour.
Rupert Connell of DTZ Residential in Mayfair
Monday, 23 April
A young, unmarried colleague returned from a valuation, his ears glowing a tell-tale pink. Eventually we coaxed the story out of him. He’d rung the bell, and the door was opened by the owner who was breast feeding her baby son. Flustered, he’d followed her into the lounge which was dominated by a large and ornate fireplace.
Inevitably, the first words out of his mouth were “What a lovely breast! Chimney! I mean chimney breast.” Apparently the nursing mother was quite amused, but it’ll take a while for my colleague – unnamed to spare his blushes – to recover.
Ross Howard of Dexters in Chiswick