With almost a fifth of house sales in Britain collapsing every year, it’s now more vital than ever that we – as an industry – abandon what’s essentially become an archaic and inherently flawed process of buying and selling.
As agents, we’re often seen as insincere, pushy, and arrogant, and one of the main reasons for this has to be the way in which we, buyers, and sellers have historically viewed the agent-client relationship. This sees the agent as wielding unwarranted power over their client, and acting as the necessary cog in every wheel.
But are we really needed for every enquiry? Is it really so shocking to consider dropping this traditional position of control, and instead empowering our client and the buyer?
What would happen if we encouraged a genuine partnership and helped develop mutual trust?
Could we not – quite literally – revolutionise the process of buying and selling homes, and make it all far simpler for everyone involved?
So, how do we achieve this? The entire relationship needs to be built upon strong foundations of openness, honesty and transparency, and both parties have to fully commit to this values system.
As we all know, the buying and selling of homes can be a hugely-emotional rollercoaster for those involved, and in order to ensure a successful outcome for everyone, we as agents need to invest in these relationships from the very start of any sale. Ultimately, we’re all on the same side after all.
Communication plays a huge part in achieving this, and in developing, nurturing and maintaining positive relationships between all parties involved in a property transaction.
Traditionally, both the buyer and the seller have been kept at arms’ length from each other, with the only means of communication via us as estate agents, or their respective solicitors.
Not only does this work to fuel mistrust, but involving a number of different parties – by its very nature – makes lines of communication needlessly convoluted, with a subsequent, and very real, risk of miscommunication.
At EweMove we’ve been working hard to make sure that not only are our relationships with our own clients built on solid foundations, but that the relationship between the buyer and the seller is too.
And one way we do this is by sharing, with consent from both parties naturally, full personal contact details at the earliest stage – within the memorandum of sale.
I accept that many agents would be really nervous about this, but this simple action strongly demonstrates our commitment to an honest process, and it opens up channels of communication for the benefit of all.
We also recognise that not every individual is the same, and that each client has differing needs when it comes to buying and selling property, which – combined with the changing demands at home and more flexible work patterns – means that 9-5 communication is now far from fit-for-purpose.
Clients want to be able to speak to their agent at a time to suit them, which is why we’ve invested so heavily in ensuring that our clients – whether a nurse on nights wanting to arrange a viewing after finishing a shift at 2am, or a working parent looking for an update on their new rental contract at 8pm – have dedicated agents available to speak to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
And yes, that’s dedicated agents who can book an appointment, deal with a query, or share an update – not an outsourced, overseas call answering service to simply take a message.
Clients want a relationship they can totally trust – a partnership if you will.
They want to know that their agents are working tirelessly on their behalf, and let’s face it, if they’re not 100% happy, they’ll simply go to an agent who will.
The property world is changing and relationships are more key than ever. This has been the catalyst for us to do business differently, and I’d urge others in the industry to consider their own models.
Are they designed for the convenience of you, or your client?
*Glenn Ackroyd is 'Head Shepherd' at EweMove Sales and Lettings