Estate Agent Anissa Cantell writes about the importance of ‘Long Term Greedy’ an unlikely component of their holistic approach.
Holism – a word first used to describe viewing the universe as an interaction of whole beings, the first known usage was in 1926.
I am not quite as old as that term but having recently celebrated my 50th birthday I can see that holism is more relevant now than it has ever been.
I was recently told I was ‘Long Term Greedy’ and I wasn’t sure if this was a compliment but the chap explained what he meant. He regarded our ethos of not grabbing the pennies along the way the best approach for building trust. For instance, we don’t add money onto any contractors’ bills and our recommendations are just that, no referral monies are accepted. Our fees are not the lowest and our location arguably isn’t the best in town but our clients know that we will listen and work with them. Their success is our success. Our buyers are attracted to us knowing that we live in Richmond and we see the moving process as a whole and introduce them to the community.
I believe this is why our business has been able to grow so quickly. The first sale on which we completed – working from our kitchen – was a grand £1.5million apartment. As an unknown brand the seller placed her faith in us having heard our names in circles that she already trusted. Our reputation for adding value preceded us, but there is little point in selling a property if the occupier has nowhere to go. We act holistically, we visited a few places and helped with negotiations on the onward purchase, as part of our usual fee. More effort was required but the reward was obvious.
Often big chain Estate Agents have a terrible reputation. We feel that the negotiators’ low salary and commission pay structure are in part responsible for the lack of listening, care and compassion when selling what is usually a person’s largest asset. Coupled with the relentless issues of dictates and targets from the head offices – these individuals are hamstrung.
We started this business with the philosophy that we would never put our personal gain ahead of our clients’ best interests and this is still true. We had a house with 3 strong offers on it and the seller asked for advice on an onward purchase in a great school catchment, we said that it was overpriced and not a sustainable family home. She listened, extended her current home and privately educated her children. Business with the client at the centre – not ourselves.
We walk away from money sometimes. A young couple flew past letting referencing and gave notice on their current house. The Landlord started to pick holes in the referencing culminating in him ‘demanding’ a larger than usual security deposit. We suspected the landlord would try to keep all the security deposit at the end of their tenancy, another agent confirmed this. We politely told the Landlord we wouldn’t be acting for him and spoke candidly to the tenants. We looked forward to the end of a two-year tenancy and with the knowledge we had, we could not have stomached placing a tenant into that situation.
We have had a fabulous year selling two £3 million houses. One was a ‘blind’ offer made from the US. This chap needed a solicitor, an architect and a builder. We passed details across of those we knew could do the job rather than those who would line our pockets.
We are not trying to re-invent the wheel or take our industry back to the darker ages of posting out details by Royal Mail but with a constantly changing world where ‘Uncertainty is the new certainty’ according to Anne Ashworth of The Times, we can see that an holistic business approach leads to the solid and sustainable growth which underpins our thriving community.