14 January 2016 | Career Advice | test test
A typical day...
6:00am . My alarm goes off.
6:45am . I’m on the treadmill at the gym.
8:00am . I’m at my desk ready for our team sales meeting, where we’ll talk through the status of up to 80 properties on our books.
9:00am . I’ll sit down individually with each team member, planning actions and priorities for the week.
11:00am . The sales team hits the phones. Each will be dealing with between 400 and 500 hot buyers at any one time, trying to match them up with properties, so the office can sound very much like a trading floor, with great volume and lots of energy.
11:30am . I’ll review my own actions from the previous week and make a plan. Usually my focus will be on talking to clients who are thinking of selling their properties having, for example, had their property valued the week before.
12:00pm . I’ll deliver any new instructions to the team, giving them the information they need so that they can get on the phones and call it out to the market.
1:00pm . I spend most afternoons carrying out valuations. Last week’s included a £11m house in South Kensington which we have been discussing with the seller for 18 months. These are major assets for some of the world’s wealthiest people, and they will rarely make a quick or snap decision as to who will sell it.
4:00pm . Meet with our Area Director, who looks after several of our Central London offices, to discuss staff performance and identify development areas such as training needs.
6:00pm . The office closes, but I don’t think there’s an estate agent in London who leaves on time. We have a rule that nobody leaves the office until they have returned all calls and emails (when you receive up to 150 emails in a day, this is essential!)
7:00pm . With such a hard working team, it’s vital to recognise and celebrate success.
We’ll often head out for a meal and a few glasses of wine when we exchange contracts on a number of properties, as this is the goal we work towards every day. How did you get into property? I have worked in property since leaving university in 2002, having studied business and engineering at Oxford Brookes. My passion was always motorsport, but I didn’t want it to become my full-time job. I wanted to try to earn enough money to have it as a hobby instead.
By chance, the first job ad I saw on leaving was for Foxtons. I went for the interview and was amazed by the people there and the job progression. On starting the job my salary was £22k with a company car, working in Kensington. After the first year I had earned over £60k in commission, and the training has stayed with me throughout my career.
Top tip for budding property professionals: If you are prepared to go the extra mile, you can go far.
Best part of the job: Closing big deals and the satisfaction you get from agreeing a sale at £20m, £40m, £60m...
The biggest sale I ever did, while selling properties at One Hyde Park, was £60m. The sense of euphoria you feel is just unreal.
I also get a huge amount of satisfaction from helping to solve difficult problems, and putting deals together with my team. Our role is not just taking someone to see a property and agreeing a price. The biggest challenge can often be the negotiations – sometimes very complex – around contracts with solicitors.
Career highlight: I couldn’t name just one.
First I’d say spending four years living and working in the Caribbean, selling properties for international property entrepreneur Peter de Savary. Second, would be securing one of the amazing properties we have on sale at the moment, owned by a Greek investor I met at the age of 23. At the time, I was a lower price negotiator selling £200,000 unmodernised studio apartments for him. Through keeping in touch and building a relationship with him since then, we are now managing the sale of his £16m six-bedroom house in Chelsea.
Guy Gittins is Sales Director for the Chelsea branch of London and international property and lettings specialist Chestertons. Having previously worked for other well-known property companies including Foxtons and Savills, he manages a team of four sales negotiators and two co-ordinators, overseeing the sale of Central London properties worth up to £30m from one of the firm’s busiest branches.