The Pring Perspective
April 2009 “Guess what – someone really likes estate agents”!
For my Pring Perspective this time I thought I might give you an alternative view of estate agents who are of course, usually castigated and much maligned. I must admit that it is with a wry look that I see bankers and politicians instead of estate agents taking centre stage for unpopularity for a change (though not the hard working ones of course!). It made me think back over my years as a local estate agent.
I once read an article entitled “Guess what – I really like estate agents”! Well, as you can imagine, that’s not a headline to be overlooked. It was by a tough and hard bitten journalist who had recently moved house. Although she had expected to experience all the worst of the estate agents stereotype, she had actually found them to be “cheerful, helpful, open, hard working and highly obliging people who were ready to put themselves at the buyer’s disposal at all sorts of odd moments”. They were “chatty and friendly” and at their best they were “good psychologists of human nature who try their best to match the buyer with their perfect new home”.
She found that she got to warm to them and their outlook on life; “be energetic and enthusiastic, do your best for a sale, and if it’s not the right property for that particular buyer, try and find another one - tomorrow is another day”.
And that’s the thing isn’t it. Perception and actual experience can be completely different things. You’d think you could trust your bank or the government with your life wouldn’t you (well, all your money anyway) and quite the opposite with estate agents. But in this tough old property market it’s often the estate agent who is trying hard, on a no sale-no fee basis(!), to get you through a difficult patch (and don’t forget that the estate agent only gets paid on results!).
Estate agents have never had the best of reputations to say the least but in tough times especially, it’s a results business. There’s no one stepping in with a rescue package and there are no big expense accounts or politician’s allowances in these quarters. Funny how things change round isn’t it; but then, in any walk of life, reputation, rapport and respect are hard won and easily lost.
Most people thought I was mad starting my estate agency business in what has been one of the worst of all property markets. The market however, moves in cycles and it’s sometimes a bumpy road but the essence of the task has always remained constant for me – it’s all about matching the right people with the right property and doing it enthusiastically and honestly, with empathy and good humour. Most importantly of all, I really love what I do.
“Finding the right home is one of the most meaningful steps most people take in their lives; and the estate agents who help keep the wheels of this commerce turning (especially in a difficult market) are probably responsible for much human contentment, nesting satisfaction and domestic repose”.
Thus spoke the hard bitten journalist 11 years ago….and I have to say that I couldn’t agree more!