Surviving and thriving in a tough market
Tue 12 Aug 2008
I think that it’s now fair to say that this is the toughest property market that anyone has seen for a very long time. There are not too many property professionals in the business now who were around in the early 70’s when I am told it was just as tough and none of those that are still in the industry had senior, managerial roles at the time. The key then is how to react to and deal with a market in which volumes have literally ‘fallen off a cliff’.
Some in the industry have evidently decided that it is important to be extremely downbeat with buyers and sellers alike and to tell all who will listen that it is a terrible time to buy or sell and that they would do better to come back next year (they don’t use exactly these words however their attitude, demeanour and body language shout it). Others have decided that all is rosy in the garden and are still tempting their poor, unsuspecting clients with last years prices and then working the price down to a more acceptable level in a few months.
At Marsh & Parsons we try to find a happy medium between these two stances. I think the phrase ‘ambitiously realistic’ sums it up. Our mission in life remains to achieve the highest possible price for our clients however we do, as gently as possible, try and bring our clients expectations in line with the realities of the current market. In my view we have the balance just right and our professional well trained staff (even more crucial in the current market) are able to tread the line between being too afraid of giving pertinent feedback and advice and too impatient to just ‘get the property sold’. It is one of the great skills of the job and good agents should be adept at it.
I am pleased to say that there are still many bright spots in the current market, not least of which is our lettings and property management departments who seem to break records every week with the business they are transacting. However, what gives me huge pleasure is when I get a particularly satisfied client who writes me an email that ‘ticks all the boxes’ for what I want Marsh & Parsons to be renowned for.
Just such a letter arrived on my desk this week and without, I hope, sounding too pleased with ourselves here it is:
“Just a quick email to say a huge thank you to you both, and indeed all the negotiators at M&P. I know how hard the whole team has worked right from the day I appointed M&P. The level of viewings has been outstanding and the enthusiasm and professionalism from everyone has been evident. (The buyer’s building surveyor even commented on how accommodating and friendly you were). To have achieved such a great price, in such a short timescale in this difficult economic climate is incredible. I have no idea where you found the buyers, I am still pinching myself to check if this whole thing is real! Anyway, thank you so much for all your hard work and experienced negotiations in this.”
A Marsh & Parsons Client