How ignorant are you?

I hate being late and hence often find myself in a coffee shop having arrived 30-40 mins early for an appointment, as I am right now as I write this. I’m sitting between two couples who, on the face of it, couldn’t be more different and yet both of their conversations have turned to property.

One couple, who I deduce to be reasonably newly acquainted, were debating the cost of renting v buying a property and how much more their outgoings would be if they bought as they believe they would have to downsize and therefore not be able to sublet part of their home as they do with their current rental. Another couple, who seem to have had many years of friendship, were discussing interior design whilst viewing colour schemes on Pinterest and one said, “with all that I want to do I should probably move, after all, I only did up the house four years ago.”

Those of you who know me well can probably picture my keenness to interject and offer both couples advice on buying and selling and direct them to the Best Estate Agent Guide to find an exceptional agent in their respective areas. I am resisting, but it’s prompted me to write about an issue that’s all too prevalent in agency – the “time waster”, “tyre kicker” or “WOFT” (an awful term used by some agents).

Whilst the number of homeless people is a disgrace that all of us should be ashamed of, most people do have a place they call home. Based on overhearing many coffee shop conversations I’m firmly of the opinion that many, indeed perhaps the majority, are interested in moving. I’m also of the opinion that many, actually make that the majority too, are ignorant. They’re ignorant of the opportunities in the market, ignorant to the true cost of borrowing (i.e. how cheap it is) and ignorant to how they could upgrade their lives rather than put up with their current lot.

But if the average customer in Costa, Starbucks and Pret is ignorant then so too are many agents. You see, every one of the people I’ve listened to are almost certainly on at least one of your databases, perhaps on several, but how many have been properly engaged with? How many of these ignorant consumers have been asked what their plans are for 2019, been shown the range of possibilities, been advised as to how they can afford to move?

At any point in time there are over 1million properties on Rightmove and last month the portal received over 4.5million visits a day. This confirms my belief that it’s not lack of interest that’s the issue but a lack of knowledge of the options available. Cue you. The market has an abundance of stock and interest but an absence of knowledge and understanding. The trouble is, because many people show up with the appearance of being the “just looking” type, too many agents don’t take them seriously and dismiss them as a waste of time. The reality is they will all move at some point and this could be sooner rather than later following your intervention and assistance.

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