Time for bit of give-and-take

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page -

I WISH it were 1991. I do re­alise, as we are now well into the bright and shiny new year of 2016, that re­fer­ring to a time 25 years ago may seem rather strange?

To those of you who still re­call the days of phones hav­ing to be plugged in, the quick­est form of writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­ing a fac­sim­ile and when “smoko” time was called in the typ­i­cal of­fice two thirds of the com­pany headed out the back with their pack­ets of Marl­bor­ough Lights cou­pled with the is­sue of never enough lighters to go around.

Life has changed in many ways for the bet­ter, but sim­i­larly for the plain in­con­ve­nient and ever so slightly an­noy­ing.

The ti­tle of this week’s lit­er­ary mas­ter­piece was cre­ated from a day of curs­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and rem­i­nisc­ing of my days in real es­tate where in­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion was not pos­si­ble, or ex­pected.

Where you would leave a mes­sage and not ex­pect a re­ply or re­sponse in­stantly.

My frus­tra­tion this week was born from the fact our home and my of­fice be­came a to­tal wi-fi free zone, the equip­ment all dis­played the same “not con­nected/no sig­nal” mes­sage.

The prin­ter also re­fused to com­mu­ni­cate with ev­ery­thing and any­one, then once it did briefly wake up it jammed!

I’m sure you’ve all had one of those days and you too have wished it was 1991, but what on earth is the rel­e­vance with real es­tate in 2016?

Oh, by the way, af­ter 24 hours off line, with chil­dren and adults wan­der­ing around as if they had no pur­pose in life and many ex­perts con­sulted, it all started to work again. No one could ex­plain why.

As frus­trat­ing as it can be for us ma­ture types, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia in its in­nu­mer­able forms and the ex­pectance of be­ing able to ac­cess ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one im­me­di­ately 24/7 is now the norm, not the un­usual.

We, and I in­clude my­self in this, ex­pect to be able to choose, ac­cess and ob­tain goods and ser­vices when and wher­ever we want them and real es­tate is no ex­cep­tion.

I started my real es­tate ca­reer in 1984, with a UK brand that was pretty far for­ward think­ing for its era and we stayed in our of­fices un­til 8pm five days a week and opened 9am-5pm Satur­day and Sun­day to ac­com­mo­date buy­ers’ and sellers’ needs.

Out­side those hours, home we went, maybe not straight away.

Per­haps a warm beer and a ciggy first, it was the 80s.

How­ever we were not avail­able, work was over, even our pri­vate lives were an un­known to our cus­tomers.

In 2016, real es­tate agents need to be avail­able all the time, ev­ery statis­tic from their re­cent sale suc­cesses and fail­ures are all out there, how much No. 12 sold for three months ago, even re­views from their cus­tomers are of­ten only a click away.

To com­plete the to­tal in­va­sion of all things pri­vate, it is quite likely you could track down their pri­vate so­cial me­dia his­tory and see how many times they were pic­tured in a col­lapsed heap out­side a club or at their last big night out.

Con­versely, agents can track you down too.

They can find out if you listed your home for two months last year hop­ing they wouldn’t know, and what you paid for your home.

So my point this week is to ask for a lit­tle cour­tesy and un­der­stand­ing.

Of course we all want ev­ery­thing now, in­stantly, in fact some­times com­pa­nies claim we need some­thing be­fore we even know we do!

Con­trary to what you might sur­mise, agents are peo­ple too, they have fam­i­lies, kids, part­ners, friends, hob­bies, they do need some time to recharge, rest and re­lax.

Could your texts, emails, calls wait un­til 9am the fol­low­ing morn­ing rather than 10.30pm?

While I’m ask­ing for cour­tesy to be shown to all those hard-work­ing agents, there are some who fail to re­ply to calls/emails etc. and it’s very frus­trat­ing for the pub­lic.

Of­ten it is be­cause some­thing has sold or been let, so you feel it is not worth­while both­er­ing to re­spond. I sug­gest you do!

So let us all work to­gether, agents, sellers, buy­ers, ten­ants, land­lords and show a lit­tle cour­tesy and un­der­stand­ing in 2016.

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