I remember it as if it were yesterday. I put down my copy of the Beano and looked up from my breakfast of Cadbury’s Crème Egg with Twix soldiers (it was the 1980’s), and said earnestly ‘Mother…Father, I want to be an estate agent when I grow up’.
Now of course this never happened (for starters I was never cool enough for the Beano!). No child in their right mind would saddle their hopes and dreams to the British property market – a runaway train fuelled by need and sometimes greed, buffeted from every angle by political, social and economic winds, precariously clasping to the narrow gauge tracks of an antiquated conveyancing system and driven hard by the smiling hand of fate himself. But is it really that bad?
As we step back blinking into the light, rationalising a Spring and Summer of such disparate emotions, it feels like a fitting juncture to recognise those elements that we as career estate agents can control, those self-imposed often unspoken values that for us at the Property Partnership represent the true ‘partnership’ within our business – that between agency, client and the wider community and environment.
At a time of such universal upheaval it seems inexcusably self-centred to reflect too heavily or rather too publicly on one’s own position, but as we approach our 10th birthday in 2021, we take this opportunity to refocus on the core value and true understanding of partnership upon which the business was founded – the alliance of likeminded individuals, each sharing a common goal, the success of which they work towards in unison.
Our industry struggles somewhat with a “sameness” issue. It’s all a bit beige, and so are the suits. Commission levels are often the only obvious point of differentiation between agencies. Most work on improvements of one kind or another to their ‘conveyor belt’, rather than addressing more directly the issue of ‘sameness’. This is understandable. Change is hard, and involves risk and a deviation from the comfort zone that’s happily moved many a retiring estate agent seamlessly from desk to golf course.
That’s great but it’s not us. Our name is inked too boldly above the door to be less than true to ourselves and the model of agency we aspire to.
Rufus Williams is founder and Director of the Property Partnership.