Connect Yorkshire member Alex Goldstein shares his thoughts on the property business.
When you first meet me, possibly the last person you would think of is Muhammad Ali. I’m about half the size he was at my age, and I’m more likely to put on a pair of cufflinks than boxing gloves. But a major part of my job is to roll with the punches just like a heavyweight boxer, and there are days when I definitely feel like a human punchbag!
Buying and selling property is one of the most stressful things a person can do, and occasionally, people need someone to take those punches to let off steam and to air all their worries and concerns. I can feel like I’m stuck in my own property Rumble in the Jungle, and like Ali, I’m caught on the ropes absorbing all the blows thrown my way by the house buying and selling equivalents of George Foreman.
But that’s why people employ me, and that’s what I want them to do, so I become their ‘shock absorber’. My role is to be the first point of contact to pass news and queries between the agents and my client, whether they are a vendor or a buyer. I make calls, chase up responses, do research on their behalf, and simply remove all the annoying things that can pile on the anxiety during a house sale or purchase. And if there is something particularly displeasing or disappointing to disclose, then I use my judgement and expertise to decide how that news should be presented. It also means that often I can diffuse an issue early on, before it escalates further.
Having been in the property sector for over 15 years now, I can never say that I’ve seen it all, but certainly my experience means that I can predict most obstacles before they occur. The effect is that my client has a much smoother and less stressful experience, and the agent is happy dealing with someone who understands the property business, discussing problems in an objective, rather than an emotional way.
One of the trickier cases I experienced involved a small family who’d unexpectedly fallen into debt. They needed to sell their home and exchange contracts within a six-month deadline set by their bank or they would instantly face repossession and lose everything.
Given the extreme circumstances, the vendor went into a panic and understandably wanted to get their home on the market as soon as possible. In their eyes, doing this meant that they were taking immediate action to solve their problem.
The last thing they had in mind was postponing the sale for several weeks while we carefully planned, prepared and managed the potential sale (as the property had its quirks), while the all-important deadline loomed closer and closer. I admit, there was resistance from the client most of the way, with various ‘punches’ landing on me as a result. But I was happy to take them, knowing that the client was simply reacting to the pressures they were under. I knew it would be worth it in the end.
When the time came, our hard work paid off when we launched the property with the best agent for the job. Only when the fantastic brochure landed, did my client begin to appreciate my logic and understand why we had taken our time. Their home looked great, and the resulting demand led to three open viewing days and several sensible offers. Needless to say, we have now exchanged contracts and the client is very grateful.
So even though I can spend a lot of time sitting back on the ropes taking the punches, there’ll come a time a time when I can strike the final knock-out blow and get my client beyond exchange of contracts. When that happens, the client usually has no idea how many metaphorical black eyes and bruises I am sporting but will walk off contentedly into the sunset, none the wiser. Which is exactly as it should be.