With the current crisis rampaging around the world and with more time on my hands I have been glancing at social media posts and two things have stood out for me:
The number of people without any medical or scientific backgrounds who have popped up overnight to become leading experts on pandemics and viruses. And how these same people have become arbitrators as to what the Government and their scientists are doing wrong and what they should be doing differently.
How many people are able to confidently predict what the property market will look like when we emerge from hibernation? These predictions vary enormously from falls of 10% to zero to even possible boom.
Well, I can tell you one thing for sure, in both instances no one has the foggiest! These are all best guesses and in many cases absolute nonsense. However there is one thing we can all agree upon and that is that at some point the coronavirus will pass and the property market will return to normal. There may be some turbulence along the way but normality will reign again (whatever normality is).
The question I put to property professionals, is what foundations are you laying down now for when the market returns later? What are you doing to ensure that both your clients and your applicants have reason to remember you, want to use you and trust your advice, both now and in the future?
I have a very good reason for asking this question as it takes me back to the recession of the late 80's to the early 90's. Over a period of approximately three years the property market stopped, there were no buyers, no transactions. Every estate agent struggled or worse, went to the wall.
I was working for an agency in Chelsea at the time and every day, with little, to nothing to do, I would visit all the other agents in the area. Together we would bemoan the market, throw our hands in the air and shrug our shoulders in despair.
One day I went in to see Andrew Scott who was running Lane Fox at the time. Lane Fox was mainly country based but had recently opened in London. As I sat at Andrew’s desk I watched him centre stage barking orders to his negotiators;
“James have you called the clients at such and such street?”
“Jeff have you offered the house in… to your applicant?”
“William have you been to see that property we’ve just taken on?"
I left shortly afterwards muttering under my breath, “Who is he kidding? There’s nothing doing, how stupid are they?”
What I later realised was that I was the stupid one. During the difficult times, Lane Fox put the effort in and laid the foundations for a time when the market returned. It did return and when it did they reaped the rewards. Lane Fox grew into a market force in London and was subsequently acquired by Strutt & Parker.
The moral of the story is, that this virus has struck and changed all our lives with frightening speed. But we will return to normality and the guidance and help you give to your clients and applicants today, whether in sales or lettings, will help them in the not-too-distant future.
And remember, unlike the late 80s, early 90s, today you have LonRes. With LonRes you have at your fingertips a wealth of knowledge and hard data to support your clients.