Life as an estate agent can be a challenging one, not least because of the lowly opinion held of us by most of the general public, jockeying for position with the pond life of politicians, bankers and journalists. Some of the opprobrium directed towards the profession over the years has been deserved; some not. The ire has been levelled at both independents and corporates, both of which face shared and individual challenges. What is a little disappointing is when comments and statements are made purporting to be fact, when they have little relation to the truth; something endemic to our society. What is more than a little disappointing is when this is perpetuated by fellow estate agents to their colleagues and competitors within the industry.
The power of the internet and Facebook (amongst other social media outlets) has allowed many a keyboard warrior to list many an alleged action or behaviour. Forget disgruntled letters to a national newspaper-that requires time, considered thought in order for the editor to consider it for publication and money-the price of a first class stamp would have bought a round of drinks several years ago. No, the immediacy of bashing a keyboard or handheld device (stop smirking at the back), means that a one man campaign of misinformation and factual inaccuracy can be waged and disseminated to the wider world: immediately. Terrific; thus lost wallets/dogs/children/any item of sentimental value is reunited with its owner. Similarly factual inaccuracies are put out there as the truth with no corroborating evidence. Unfortunately for those feverishly bashing out their missives, if they are not necessarily the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, this can be just as easily proven.
At Cheshire and Co we have no problem with canvassing letters, leaflets and brochures being dropped on properties with one of our boards outside. Why would we? All agents have used this method as an attempt to generate business. Describing it as “attacking” as a fellow agent who works for a corporate entity in the Principality has done is somewhat overly dramatic on his part. Taken literally, “attacking” other agents boards would mean physically taking a sledge hammer to them; not the most grown up or professional of behaviour. Speaking of levels of professionalism, I have twice had to contact my previous HR Director at Peter Alan-I choose to name the company, not the individual-as one of their former employees had approached several of my vendors, making false and slanderous statements about me and my professional conduct. This inappropriate and unprofessional conduct was acknowledged by Peter Alan and I received an apology.
It is fortunate that some of us left do have a sense of humour. The many letters that vendors have passed on to me-all kept and available for viewing by anyone who has an interest-querying why their property has not been sold when they (the agent) have busloads of people wanting to not only view, but buy that exact property, do make entertaining reading. Just one query: do none of these people have access to the internet and is their only means of communication with the outside world though this said agent? Really? Next you will be asking me to believe in fairies: the same mythical spirits that put up a corporate agency’s board outside a property when the regional manager of the said corporate agency detailed in an email to me that they had never acted for the owner of the property… Another cracker is when a vendor receives a letter from an agent-again I have any number available for viewing-addressed to ‘Mr and Mrs’. This invariably raises either a smile or a grimace dependent upon whether the Mr or Mrs is no longer around having died/joined a commune/run off with the next door neighbour.
Perhaps I am destined to spend my life in a state of mild disappointment. Although the alleged (there’s that word again), extra-curricular dalliances of Miss Minogue’s now ex-fiancé means there is still an outsider’s chance of her making my acquaintance (think Foinavon in 1967 or Leicester City in 2016). No, my view of the world is increasingly jaundiced when a fellow property professional (there’s that word again), responds to one of my posts-imploring potential vendors to call more than one agent out to value their property, because they may receive more favourable terms from one agent as opposed to another-with that succinct but unbecoming of a professional (see, that pesky word makes yet another appearance), “bollocks”. Anyone who would like to see this on my timeline is welcome to a viewing and no, that isn’t a euphemism. How or why is it “bollocks”? Is it untrue? Professionally negligent to make the suggestion? I await an answer.
Perhaps I am being a little harsh and the individuals who have taken it upon themselves to make personal attacks on myself as an individual and as an industry competitor are merely making a bold bid for Employee of the Month/Year. Loyalty can only be applauded, but as anyone from the intelligence world will tell you, always, always, always check the integrity of your source.