When the fourth series of ultra-glamorous reality show Selling Sunset streams on Netflix, I’ll be glued to the screen.

I’ve been an estate agent for ten years in an area that is home to stockbrokers, captains of industry and former pop stars. The Oppenheim Group’s crazy world in Los Angeles is almost like binging on a fantasized version of my job at Home Counties.

LA has everything. From the extravagant mansions that are sold to the eye-watering commissions up to $1,000,000, LA is larger, bolder, and more Botoxed. [£740,000]Each property. Yet, it’s not so very different from selling Sunningdale, say, or Sevenoaks, Walton-on-Thames or Weybridge. You can take a few zeroes off our salaries, but in several respects, we’re cut from the same designer cloth.

For example, a little flirting is a great way to make a sales sale as a female agent. It’s a male-dominated industry, so you need to be smart to get on —and if a little twinkle in the eye and a few breathy compliments get the ink on paper and keys handed over, I’m all for it.

Tabitha Green, who has worked as an estate agent in the Home Counties for ten years, revealed the similarities between her role and Netflix's Selling Sunset (pictured)

Tabitha Green is an experienced estate agent who worked in the Home Counties over ten years. She revealed some similarities with Netflix’s Selling sunset (pictured). 

As in Beverly Hills selling high-end houses can become a dangerous business venture. Clients have asked me to join them for drinks after they came to my door wearing satin boxers. One said he’d seen me on a dating app and wanted to know if I was interested in a hook up? I declined diplomatically.

Jumping into bed with clients does happen, though obviously it’s not a sales technique I use.

At one posh estate agency, when the husband is out at work, the viewing of the master bedroom can become quite ‘intense’ if conducted by a rather rakish, public school-educated agent I know of.

There’s also huge pressure for agents to look good. Houses I sell are often in the £2-£3 million bracket, so the owners don’t want you to turn up in jeans and a comfy cardi. It’s essential to show them you can represent their ‘brand’ — I have to look immaculate: full make-up, blow-dried hair, designer clothes and the highest of heels.

This can be a problem when you’re selling country properties. The gardens might be perfect, but I’ve ruined a pair of Manolos in the mud and had my Hermes scarf pulled off by a seller’s drooling dog. It’s important to never lose your smile.

Most people who move to our area are leaving London to buy their ‘forever house’ and get a slice of their version of idyllic country life. We also have fake buyers.

They get all dressed up, book half a dozen viewings in a day and act as if they’re on Escape To The Country — oohing and aahing over the properties then ghosting you afterwards.

Our lives are ruined by time-wasters, so we make every effort to screen buyers before they arrive. We study their names, listen to their accent, even Google them to try to work out if they’re good for the price due to an inheritance or mega job.

Tabitha said status-driven purchases are common, such as a country estate, an architect-designed barn, an eco-house (file image)

Tabitha said status-driven purchases are common, such as a country estate, an architect-designed barn, an eco-house (file image)

Of course this can backfire, ‘Old Money’ people can dress like tramps but own half the county — and some of the richest people we’ve worked with are sweary plumbers called Darren. You never can quite tell.

Buyers with real money often live in a part of London they call a ‘village’. Walthamstow ‘Village’, Kilburn ‘Village’, even Hackney ‘Village’. These villages are not real. They’re really living in inner city London in what is often quite a small house.

Instead, we offer houses for sale in Mumsnet middle class territory. These are real villages — and buyers are nervous about what that means. They fear they’re swapping Bollinger-fuelled nights at Soho House for sherry at the WI in the village hall.

This is the place I am able to combine my roles as a counselor, psychologist, and tourist board. I listen as they describe their current, usually pretty narrow lifestyle, then open my ‘little black book’ to tell them about the coolest rural boutiques and restaurants locally.

This makes them feel they won’t be chained to an Aga watching sheep all day in the back of beyond. Once they can see themselves dropping into ‘wonderful little Michelin-starred rural restaurants’, the sales process can continue.

The fact is, they don’t really want to move to the countryside at all. They want to live in a bigger house than their London home. They want to feel an elite part of a ‘marvellous community’, but it’s actually all about status. The most common status-driven purchases I see are a country estate or a barn designed by an architect, and an eco-house.

Tabitha said many buyers have a narrow choice because of criteria including wanting a grammar school and train station around the corner from their home (file image)

Tabitha stated that many buyers are limited in their choices due to criteria such as the desire for a nearby grammar school or train station (file image). 

Their must-have list should be viewed, as well. They don’t just want a grammar school around the corner but an Ofsted-outstanding comp too, in case little Olivia doesn’t make the grade. Plus a good indie — they’re considering private education, natch. Stables are required for the ponies Olivia is sure to want, plus a huge garage for hubby’s classic car.

They don’t want to be overlooked, but don’t want to be too remote either as it’s going to be a big adjustment leaving London. The most they’ll consider is 15 minutes from the station, but oh they are so looking forward to my suggestions for their forever house!

However, with all those requirements, the scope of the search has narrowed down to a very small number of houses, which means that there may be only one, or sometimes two, homes on the market that fit their criteria. And they’re bound not to like them.

Agents need to be clear and concise when attempting to sell a property. Often I’ve found myself looking round a badly decorated house, saying: ‘How charming, I’m sure we’ve got people who will snap this house up!’ While thinking: ‘Oh good God! This house is for sale! I’d better ask a friend to pretend to view it to get the listing!’

Some horrors do happen. My particular favourite was what we dubbed the ‘1970s Porn House’, with swinging seats, a round waterbed and gold taps in every bathroom.

Tabitha said more than once she has had to remove the owner¿s finest Agent Provocateur underwear from an unmade bed before a last-minute viewing. Pictured: Selling sunset

Tabitha said more than once she has had to remove the owner’s finest Agent Provocateur underwear from an unmade bed before a last-minute viewing. Pictured: Selling sunset

One man can make a great vendor. They have black interiors, with satin sheets and many mirrors.

Or there’s the opposite extreme: family houses with kids’ fingerprints on every surface, dog hair everywhere else and messy bedrooms.

Sometimes you get a last-minute viewing, and the owner has gone to work so hasn’t tidied. More than once I’ve had to remove the owner’s finest Agent Provocateur underwear from an unmade bed. When you see them again, you pretend you didn’t find it and she pretends she didn’t leave it there!

Other than fake buyers, those with no idea of time are what irritates me most. You’ll be at the property, heating on, aromatherapy candles lit, and you get a call. With a baby screaming in the background, you hear the words that make your heart sink: ‘We will be with you in 40 mins. Traffic coming out of London is appalling!’

A second thing I dislike is when buyers become more passionate about a house. Instead of being demanding and dismissive, they’ll become your best friend, dropping round to see you in the office for a ‘chat’, soooo interested in you and your family.

When a house is up for sealed bidding, the charm offensive takes a step higher. The buyers buy you drinks, lunch and drop off small gifts — thinking they can get you to reveal the details of the other sealed bids to get an advantage.

They get quite miffed when we politely but firmly say we’re not allowed to tell them the counter offers — no matter what.

Tabitha said rival agents are very close despite the competition, chatting a lot and having access to a lot of personal information

Tabitha stated that rival agents remain close to each other despite their competition. They chat a lot, and have access to lots of personal data.

However, not all people are good. It’s quite common to receive a case of wine, bottle of fizz or lunch as a thank you for sealing a deal. However, the uber-rich are notoriously picky about their thank you gifts.

To share the six boxes of Tesco muffins with the other eight people in our office, one bought six.

Estate agents are in fierce competition. Agents will try to sell you off or weaken your company. Public speaking is a must. You can’t get trollied at a party (or they’ll start a rumour you are an alcoholic); you must always look good (or they’ll say you’re losing it); and you mustn’t miss a call as another agent will swipe the sale.

Even though there is a lot of competition, the rival agents remain very close. They have access to lots of information and they chat often. I’ve been to parties where they’ve swapped stories about which clients are bonkers, who’s getting divorced, who’s having an affair with who, who’s sitting on a stash of cash. Many clients would be horrified.

However, my greatest fear is: My worst fear? Keys. Agents always lose them. The keys to my multi-million-pound first sale were lost. Horrified I crawled in through an opening in my kitchen window to reach the sink and then limped up the steps to greet the potential buyers.

We may not have the endless sunshine, but there’s no shortage of drama when Selling Suburbia.

The confessions of a nosey buyer who is a bogus parker 

Who hasn’t been on Rightmove, seeing what your neighbour’s house is selling for, looking for a perfect seaside place, or — my favourite — scrolling through the very top end of the market?

At one point, I didn’t just surf estate agents’ websites, I went to view houses, too, despite having no hope of owning them. Yes, I was the estate agents’ nemesis, the karmic pay-back for all their hype and hot air. Fake buyer.

When I was forced to leave my London home to relocate, it all began. The multi-million dollar Holland Park flat and the Hampstead Heath townhouse were not for me. But, I put on my most elegant outfit and good jewelry and went through all the rooms admiring the artwork. It wasn’t nosiness so much as play acting, at a time when I had to move due to divorce and needed a dream.

Marion McGilvary (pictured) admits she once went to view houses, despite having no intention of owning them

Marion McGilvary (pictured), confesses she was once a house-viewer, but that it wasn’t her intention to buy them. 

In London, it’s hard to view the grand places, as agents want to know what you’re selling. Although our modest terrace was on the market for an eye-watering sum, it wasn’t going to stretch to the white stucco of Chelsea.

Plus, the property men can have a chat. My house was eventually sold by the man who told my friends that my Jimmy Choos and Louis Vuitton handbag, as well as my Boucheron earrings, were for display.

My decision to relocate to Oxford was the true game-changer. My ex-husband had half of the house’s price and my uppity agents thought I was crazy. That nice hillside house was within reach. Especially when I got a mortgage based on my earnings ‘in publishing’. This is what I was. I was at reception.

While some houses there looked similar to those I saw in London were quite different, many of them had Barbours or dogs bearing literary names. Some places were shabby academia but — oooh! — the others.

I’ve always dreamed of a minimalist home. The kitchen islands, stoves and ovens. Amazing finish. No nicked skirting boards were seen. You will love the egg-shaped bathtubs. There are enough showers to bathe half the football team. Everything was so fresh, new and sparkly. I, the match girl, silently weeping, sat at the bifold windows with my nose.

I lost my appetite for it in the end and settled for a modern red-brick with garage in a ‘vibrant’ (ie, student) area and a kitchen nobody would ever dream about. However, I’ve filled it with colour and quirk, cracked plates and velvet. And it’s a home — what a house is meant to be. And I’ll always have Rightmove.


Dawn Bebe. To protect identities, names have been changed