A missed opportunity

As I spend my last day on the Balearic Islands contemplating squeezing my bronzed, gym-honed frame into an air plane seat clearly designed for a munchkin, to emerge the other end like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, I ponder upon the missed opportunities of life. If only I had answered the phone to that unknown number then I could have been Mr Minogue..if I hadn’t gone to get a cup of tea then I could have bought the future winner of The Grand National at Doncaster Sales (the required £160k is a moot point) and if I had picked my mother’s birthday instead of my own then I could have been the Euromilllions winner and it would have been sod budget airlines travelling cattle class and hello Gulfstream G550. Of course, if my auntie had balls she would be my uncle, but…

A headline in propertyindustryeye.com caught my eye-not as much as the ladies’ beach volleyball team practicing in their very aerodynamic (almost non-existent) apparel-which also spoke of a missed opportunity. The theme of the article was that of an agent charging an elderly lady commission on her property that they had failed to sell after 18 months of unsuccessful marketing, but which she eventually sold to her son in a private transaction. They were alerted to the sale not because another agent crowed triumphantly but because the vendor instead of just withdrawing the property from the market place did the honourable thing and told the agents that she had sold her house to her son to enable her to move on with her plans. Under the threat of legal action from the agents she paid then £4000 in commission. There is no doubt that vendor and her chosen agent had a contract that would have stated that commission was payable no matter who bought the property. The agent would have incurred costs in the 18 months prior to the sale, but, what a missed opportunity. Instead of finding themselves the subject of an article whereby the vendor’s incensed lawyer has complained about their behaviour (very likely costing them future custom), they could have used this sale to their advantage. This could have involved their approaching the vendor and explaining that whilst commission was payable, they were delighted that she had sold her property and that she had done the honourable thing by telling them and that only a small amount to cover costs would be acceptable. Cue a photo promulgated through the wonders of social media and the t’interweb of the agent and the vendor smiling happily together with the necessary blurb of helping customers. A fluffy dog/kitten/small child could also have been commandeered for the photo shoot.

I appreciate that in extracting the fee, the agent was able to put another sale towards their target for the month and keep head office off their back, but I do think that it will cost them in the long term. If of course the said agent-and I am referring to the individual, not the firm-does pick his/her mother’s birthday as opposed to his/her own and does win the Euromillions rollover then he/she won’t give a £$%& about the adverse publicity from strong-arming an elderly lady into paying a fee. I don’t subscribe to the adage of all publicity is good publicity. Just ask Gerald Ratner.