Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions

Ageism & aggression hits and things get personal! Why being an estate agent requires thick skin

The Agent

Well, the year has got off to quite a start with my ego taking something of a hammering!

First off, The Property Chronicle titled me a ‘Veteran Agent’ (could they not have thought of a kinder description?) then I was described as ‘Old School’ which I can just about handle but last weekend was a serious stab to my heart.

Better explain first – my email messages have a ‘banner’ across the bottom which includes my picture, very fashionable so I have been told.

Well, recently I sent a ‘round Robin’ email exchange to all those involved within a short chain of properties with which we are connected. The buyer at the bottom, to whom I thought I was being helpful, responded with a very aggressive “who is that grey haired man wearing red glasses looking like Dame Edna!” Followed by a various rants to others involved. Bloody cheek, my glasses are brown!

It seems the more you try to be helpful the more the current generation of house buyers and sellers respond with aggression. Are they watching too many Purple Bricks adverts?

Estate Agency is very much a ‘peoples industry’, helping and guiding those through the maze of odd and crazy human frailties to help move in or out of their homes. Sometimes you need the tact of the UN Secretary, at other times the wit of Ian Hislop or the humour of Billy Connolly but most important, very thick skin.

What is it with people buying and selling houses? The first time you meet them they appear to be charm personified, like they are going to be your new best friend (well for a few months anyway). They probably have a responsible job needing common sense and knowledge. A lovely family as well.

But when it comes to dealing in the housing market they turn from Dr Jekyll to Mr Hyde, overnight.

And of course, getting face to face with the agent is easy, we are at the pointed end of the transaction unlike our solicitor friends who are well protected by that hardened receptionist who has seen it all before, where you cannot and will not pass. ‘I’m afraid Mr or Ms is on the telephone/engaged with clients at the moment. May I take a message or would you like to leave a voicemail?” And that is it. Bullet proof protection.

The estate agent? First of all we (well, most of us) sit in a smart ground floor High Street shop or office if you prefer. Easily seen through the windows, no hiding there from the passer by. We also personally answer the telephone, and are easily reached, as we are trained and expected to be.

And because we can be reached quickly we often get the rant and moan and it’s generally for something we were never responsible for, but as the exposed target, we have to take on the chin!

Estate agency? Its fun for most of the time but you do need very thick skin (I know, it has been mentioned more than once) and the best way to get that, is be around for a few years.

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