Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Nine Lives - Wednesday

‘Couple of messages in the book for you.’ Announces negotiator S as I come through the office door weary, vaguely conscious I’m feeling and smelling stale.
‘Anything good?’ I ask more in hope than expectation. The business being predicated on steps forward and back, and the hope you’ll have actually made progress during each working week.
‘Not really.’ Answers S with a smile and a compensatory shrug. She’s an asset - and more desirable than some of the over-priced tat alongside her in the window.

As I sit at assistant manager T’s vacant desk, I read the tasks that await me. A chain is wobbling with a seller threatening to pull out unless completion dates match their holiday requirements. A buyer has a survey that they want to discuss – read demand a reduction – after damp and roof spread has been indicated, and a vendor wants to see me and discuss why her home is not selling.

‘Why does she want me to go round?’ I moan.
‘Who?’ Asks S, putting aside a pile of sales files, one not as big as I’d like with my targets.
‘Mrs White-Young.’ I reply, referring to the woman who wants a personal visit to tell her to drop the price to the level I recommended five months ago.
‘You know what she’s like.’ Says S with a rueful look. ‘Maybe she just fancies you?’
The wrong one’s always do, I think, as I click on the activity report and feedback for Mrs White-Young’s house.

I definitely don’t fancy Mrs W-Y. She’s the sort of desperate divorcee who has been through more than one husband and only retains their house and their surname each time. I felt uncomfortable when I was there the first time. Against my better judgement and short of properties to market, I foolishly allowed her to instruct me at a price I knew was unachievable even before I made the front gate.

‘It’s the right location. If you can get her to see sense.’ Encourages S as I gather up my briefcase and comparables, later. She’s right, far better to have a run-down property in a good area than the best one in a grotty one. But only if the price reflects the work required and only if there aren’t better homes, more attractively priced, available elsewhere. The supply and demand curve never lies.

‘Haven’t seen much of you recently.’ Begins Mrs White-Young acidly, as I offer my hand having negotiated the overgrown front garden and managed not to snag my suit trouser on any of the wildly rambling rose bushes trying to snare unwanted callers, or her next unsuspecting husband.

She ushers me though a cluttered hall with faded paintwork and I smell the stench of cat even before we make the scruffy sitting room. The smelly hairball sees me immediately and slides from the hair-encrusted couch and starts to wind its way round my legs. It’s all I can do not to kick the purring feline away, as I feel my suit gaining several pounds of moulting fur and the first prickle of an allergic reaction rising in my throat.

‘So you can see we’ve extensively marketed your home.’ I tell Mrs W-Y as her pet torments me – they always know – by trying to jump into my lap, despite my efforts to fend it off with my clipboard and the owner’s half-hearted attempts to stop her.
‘Now leave the man alone.’ Chivvies Mrs W-Y as her cat leaps up beside me while a line about two annoying pussies whirrs unhelpfully in my head. ‘I know why it hasn’t sold.’ She continues, before pausing dramatically.

The clock ticks noisily while the moggy eying me seductively, vibrates like an idling six cylinder car. I run through my data internally: Three local paper adverts, several hundred on-line views, twelve actual, real-time, real people visits, constant availability on four different web portals, one low offer she should really have taken - all not to be sneezed at.

‘It’s because you are sending round the wrong type of people,’ Mrs W-Y eventually elucidates, as my nose starts to leak. ‘It’s too cheap. We need to put the price up.’

Not a cat in hell’s chance.


The allergy-free e-book, it can only be good for you


RichB said...

I seem to recall that looking away from cats is treated as an invite for a closer relationship... perhaps try showing it a little bit of tooth or impinge its space while looking in its eyes :)

Most seem to stay away if I keep eyes focussed on them wherever they go. Still doesn't resolve the allergy problem from the furniture borne hairs.

Anonymous said...

Hi SA,

I'd be interested to know what your thoughts are in terms how do you solve the problem of "Against my better judgement and short of properties to market, I foolishly allowed her to instruct me at a price I knew was unachievable even before I made the front gate. ".

I understand why it's done but surely everyone (except those downsizing) will benefit from realistically priced homes - agents have more turn over, ftb's can afford to buy and those moving on have a smaller price differential to bridge.

Should we "bring back" HIPS including the full structural survey that the vendor must pay for - to deter those that are just "testing the market" -, I know they had a bad press but if they'd not been watered down then I don't see why they would have been such a bad thing. Would legislating for agents to carry out "valuations" instead of "market appraisals" help so that there was some recourse if it was wildly wrong which in turn may deter agents from taking instructions at overly optimistic prices?


secret agent said...

Overvaluing has been a problem ever since I started in agency. If you haven't got it you can't sell it being the first thing I was taught.
I'm all for a minimum standard of competency in the business by ability/exams but until it happens - if you can't beat them you join them...

16" East said...

I love the insane logic of the woman!! Really made me laugh, and there are so many deluded people like her that I have met. The right buyer isn't viewing because the price is too low silly!! Ho ho ho. Cheered me up tonight.

Anonymous said...

Presumably the same vendor will be expecting a 20% reduction off her next purchase.

Wrong type of buyer, give me strength; talk about wrong type of vendor.

MattW said...

The vendor is living in a parallel universe - just like many of the vendors in my area.