Quite a few years back when I was an Estate Agent, I was attending a large gathering and nattering away to a few friends, they were asking how the industry was and what was it like being an Estate Agent and the usual questions of “How much is my house worth? and what is it worth if I moved it into London? or added a conservatory?” When out of the corner of my left eye I catch a fixated glare in my direction.About 6 foot to my left stood a rather portly gentleman, wearing glasses and holding a glass of larger in his hand and every time either myself or any of the people I was talking to mentioned the words “Estate Agent” I could physically see his eyes flinch and his knuckles getting whiter around his glass. I didn’t know him, and yet he hated me and all because I was an Estate Agent.
It was like watching a human pressure cooker and being of a sympathetic nature I wandered over and introduce my self “Hi, I’m Simon and I’m an Estate Agent” and offered my hand, his face got redder but no steam from his ears yet, “I take it from the lack of hand shake, that you don’t really like Estate Agents?” …. and that was it! One Estate Agent to many …. BOOM!
The next 20 minutes was like a gusher on an oil rig, a kettle that just wont stop boiling or a profanity driven dictionary being spouted in my face at full force – I really can’t repeat anything that was said to me as this site is not ‘Cert. 18’.
Picking the bones out of his rant, it was apparent he was buying and selling through the same agent and that nothing from the offer process to completing on the sale and purchase of his home had gone as planned, taken far too long and was way to stressful.
Whilst you had to feel for the guy, he had just berated me for daring to be in the same profession as someone who had upset him – does that mean I should shout at people with glasses now? No! .. but he wasn’t going to get off lightly.
TIME TO TURN THE TABLES:
I am far to polite to swear at someone I have never met before and have always been taught to listen and then to respond in a professional manner, maybe it was the fact that there were 30 odd people standing around open mouthed at what had transpired that made it feel like a play ground brawl, the school bully had thrown his punches and I had stood there and taken everyone on the chin (chins now, I am a bit older) and now it was time to stand up for the agents !
(DISCLAIMER: If you are a vendor and don’t want to read about the other side of this argument, then click the home button at the top and pick a different read … if you do venture further and anything strikes a cord, please don’t blame an estate agent!)
“You know what bugs me?” I asked, “I’ll tell you” I continued without letting him speak, “It’s you vendors and your attitude to selling your home”
I raised my fist to chest height – there’s a sharp intake of breath from the audience standing around – I raise my thumb:
“One – You ask us to sell your homes and we tell you exactly how we work, how much time we have spent qualifying purchasers to ensure we match the correct buyer, not only to your home but also to your needs. So, on the first day, when we have had 7 viewings and get an asking price offer and you reject it because its too quick, what part of the process are you having trouble with? did you want it to take six months?”
I raise my index finger:
“Two – I ask you politely to vacate the property when we have viewings as purchasers like to feel free to speak on their first viewing, which also allows me to fully concentrate on them, but no … you insist on being 2 foot behind me all the way around the property, telling interesting tales like the time you dismantled a motorbike in your living room and as the purchaser leaves you grab me and ask me what they thought. You were there, you never left my side, do you think I have a psychic connection or some sort secret buying code – scratch your ear and its an offer, scratch your bum and its a no go!”
I raise my middle finger (the other two are still raised!):
“Three – We work so hard to drum up as many viewings as we can on your home and leave many messages for you to call back, and when you finally do call none of the viewing times are suitable and you enquire would a week next Tuesday be ok? No! No it won’t be ok, do you honestly think that in 10 days time these buyers will still be looking? Most of these buyers will have bought by then and your large pool of purchasers will become a tiny puddle and don’t you dare say ‘it only takes one person to buy it’ or I will literally scream !”
I raise my ring finger:
“Four – When taking the details of your home, I painstakingly explain why it is important for your property to be at it’s best and that the first impression is vital to securing a buyer. So why when I come round on a viewing are there clothes strewn round your home like an orgy has just taken place, the kitchen looks as if you have just cooked for a small army, there is a pungent aroma of damp towels shoved in the corner of the bathroom and all the beds are left unmade – I trained to be an estate agent, I didn’t go to Hogwarts, so I have no spells to make the purchaser forget what they have seen”
I raise my pinkie finger:
“And 5 – We work in our office 60 hours a week, at the touch of a button we can see everything relating to your property, the amount of viewings you have had, what the feedback was, what your competition is, how many purchasers are registering in that price range, added to that we have our finger firmly on the pulse of the local property market – so when we come to you and give you some advice on what we think the next move should be to generate a sale on your behalf, why do you insist on quoting the musings of Bob from the pub and his thoughts on selling, maybe Bob should try to sell your home from his garden shed whilst fermenting his home brew!”
With no fingers left and a glass of water in the other hand, I move to my final point:
“And best of all – because my office door is always open and the phone will always get answered when you call, why do you think that it is reasonable for you to raise your voice, swear and have a full blown tantrum because your solicitor has made a mistake or your partner forgot to tell you we were having a viewing or due to your excessive demands your purchasers withdrew. I might listen to everything you scream in my direction, I might sympathise with every point you raise and show the empathy and resolve to sort out your predicament – but if you want to know what I am thinking, then just look into my eyes, deep into my eyes and for vendors like you that’s where you will find the answer, hidden behind layer, after layer, after layer of professionalism.”
If ever I had a “Drop the Mic” moment, that was it, but as the phrase hadn’t been coined at that time, I just made do with a big grin in his direction, turned and walked off and joined my group of friends. A few of whom still bring this up when we meet.
I like to think, that in a strange way I helped to educate that gentleman in the mystical ways of Estate Agency, in reality though he has probably never moved home again and hides in the cupboard when an Estate Agents leaflet come through the door.