It was twenty years ago today…
Actually it wasn’t, it’s nearly thirty years ago that I started my career in estate agency and that makes me feel old!
I began my career in a world where the internet was a close kept secret for academics and computer industry wizards only. A mobile phone was something that had a lead long enough to allow you to move from your hallway to your sitting room chair and as for photography well I spent many a cold winters’ moment warming a polaroid film under my arm to make sure the image developed properly.
Today around 80% of people start their property search online and if I remember a Property Academy Seminar correctly approximately 40% of people also spend 6 months searching for property online before contacting an estate agent. We should be overrun with online agencies then shouldn’t we?
Lots of things have changed in the world of Estate Agency in the last 30 years. I check both my mobile phones regularly through the day (the only leads in sight are from chargers), the internet seems to rule my life as I prep tweets at 5:30am and finish my evenings with more in mind. I’m a trained photographer producing images I once could only have dreamed of and carry a laser tape to measure people’s homes with; long gone is the 6’ 6” folding wooden rule (anyone remember using those?). Wield one of those round someone’s house today and their kids would think you were Darth Maul.
Lots has changed in our industry but one thing I don’t think has is what makes a Great estate agent.
When you’re showing a young couple around a property that will be their first home and you see that glint of excitement in their eyes; the pleasure that gives you is what makes a great estate agent. The day you hand them the keys with a smile on your face and that glow in knowing they are starting the next chapter in their life shows you’re a great estate agent. When you’re sat in front of them a few years later discussing how they need more space and where they will move to next, that’s great estate agency. When they ring you and say ‘can you help we need to move mum or dad closer’, well I’ve already said it haven’t I.
A great estate agent knows property, he/she knows their area, knows what is happening to the market, not just around them but further afield; a great agent knows where their buyers move from and why. Estate Agency is a people business and that is the one thing that has never changed in my thirty years in the industry. People buy from people and what has kept me passionate about my work is knowing that each day there is a new challenge to face. To find that young couple their first home; to get ‘Mum’ the bungalow she desperately needs because the arthritis is making stairs unbearable; to find that escape from the city where the kids will have a much better upbringing. It is an industry where we solve problems for people, realise their dreams and aspirations, help them build their personal portfolio or get them out of trouble when their job is lost or relationship failed.
A great estate agent meets and greets people each and every day, is part of the community and makes a positive contribution. A great estate agent takes time to learn what people need and does his/her very best to help and most importantly a great estate agent is there in person to see people through the whole process.
Wherever you are in the country I’m sure you have at least one Great estate agent near you so, if you’re thinking of moving or have a property question that needs answering take a look on your High Street and seek one out. If you need help let me know, the chances are I can help you find someone to talk to if you’re struggling, after all I know lots of Great Estate Agents.
As for the online estate agency, sure they have a place but I wonder how often they have the joy of seeing first hand that glint in someone’s eyes as the door opens to their dream home.
A great estate agent is Human; not always perfect but always seeking to do their very best for the people they deal with. A great estate agent moves with the times, adapts to market conditions, never knows when to give up but most importantly a Great estate agent cares first and foremost about people.
My personal goal in life – to be a Great estate agent and I hope I am for as many people as possible. I’m not perfect but I’m working on it!