Kidderminster Shuttle: NEIL THWAITES, of Westfields Property. Neil Thwaites of Westfields Property

Bucking the trend

4:47pm Thursday 15th November 2012

Just the other day, I had an enlightening and refreshing eureka moment. I’ve been troubled for a while now with the disparity between property market conditions and agent feedback on activity and sales. In a nutshell, never the twain shall meet. Let me explain.

In my home town, I keep coming across the same agent – time and time again, both personally and via anecdotal evidence from family and friends. No names no pack drill, but it doesn’t surprise me to learn that the agent concerned is slaying the opposition with demonstrably greater sales volumes.

So, when he tells me that it’s a tough market but he’s doing really well – I believe him.

But more importantly, and here’s my point, not for him the same old agent speak (as I like to call it) of sunny blue skies. No – more like professionalism sprinkled with a healthy dose of realism.

And that’s the difference – talk is cheap, but when you hear first-hand an acceptance that the market is tough, but houses are still selling, you realise that some agents at least have mastered their art. Indeed, others will tell you how busy they are, whilst eking out a living. Meanwhile, the best performing top agents bounce along like the proverbial Tigger.

So, coming full circle to my original statement, I’ve discovered that some agents really are doing well and therefore bucking the trend – as opposed to talking the talk. Therefore, for me to broad brush a picture of so called property market doom and gloom does not tell the full story. My eureka moment, if you like, was the realisation that the best performing agents have adapted to market conditions – and are therefore making some hay as and when the sun shines.

Further, I believe there are similarities between estate agent offices and sports teams. The successful ones are well run, focussed and include leaders in the mix.

With the Bank of England recently downgrading the 2013 UK economy growth forecast, general market conditions and sentiment are still some way off triggering a property market rebound.

So, the next time an agent tells you how busy there are, take a deep breath and conjure up a healthy dose of salt. But, remind yourself, that like most life experiences, there are winners and losers along the way. There are some agents that really are busy, but more importantly, they consistently sell property at a rate of knots.

Therefore, should it become necessary, resolve yourself to seek out and work with an agent that can get the job done.



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