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Election Fever and Estate Agents – who gets your vote?

June 2017

Well here we go again! Yet another chance to exercise our democratic right is looming as we approach the date of the 2017 General Election. We’ve had Brexit and Trump, and now we get to vote on who we want to run our country.

The results of those two major game-changing votes took everybody by surprise, and it remains to be seen whether the shock of those results are enough to prise people off their sofas and into the voting booth.

But to be honest, I don’t think it is simply complacency and inertia that will stop people voting this time. It will come down to if people trust the eventual Prime Minister in what they say they are going to do and more importantly, what they are not saying! Contradictory promises, mud slinging and a poor grasp of financial figures all need to be thrown aside – from what I hear in my travels across Yorkshire, people just want to know the truth, put their full trust in the newly appointed leader and to get on with it.

It makes me think about the way in which people perceive estate agents. Regrettably, trust is not a word readily associated with the sector, which today is often unjustified. Many agents do a great job in what remains a difficult market. However some of them shoot themselves in the foot by still using clichéd phrases like ‘requires some updating’ (it’s a money pit), ‘viewing recommended’ (keen to get at least one viewing) and my personal favourite – ‘deceptively spacious’ (looks small, because it is small). It leaves buyers feeling that they are being duped.

The whole industry has come a very long way since the 1970’s, when dealing with agents was more like the Wild West, with few restrictions on how agents operated. Nowadays there are various rules, regulations and requirements designed to protect the interests of the consumer – woe betide any agent who sidesteps these! The sector has really sharpened up its act, especially over the last decade and is trying to shrug off the wide-boy image that has dogged it for years.

Although I’m not an estate agent myself now, I do meet and liaise with them on a daily basis and am pleased to report that the vast majority are hard-working, decent and honest. Obviously, with 15 years in property I’ve developed long-term relationships with those I trust most. This kind of relationship takes time, energy and constant clear communication to develop, so that each side will be able trust the other to do their job properly. As I’m sure you know, the process of buying and selling houses doesn’t always run smoothly, and it’s at these times that the relationship is really tested. I’m very fortunate in that with experience, I know which agents I can rely on in those situations, which is why I suggest them to my clients.

In business, people vote with their feet and if you haven’t earnt your clients’ trust, then you are unlikely gain or keep their patronage. Trust really is fundamental, especially in the property sector. People are under the utmost stress when making one of the largest life purchases or sales they will ever do, and deserve to be treated with care and respect. It is why it is the cornerstone of my business and fundamental to my reputation. And if it’s so obvious that these qualities are what people want to see, then why do we find so little of it in politics?

When I am dealing with clients, I believe that I am working in their best interests and they trust me implicitly in this. The moment I lose this key factor, I might as well pack up and go and live in a deceptively spacious property, in need of some updating, with easy-to-maintain garden, close to local transport links (otherwise known as a hole in the ground). Some may argue that politicians should do the same!