And more reflections

It’s that time of year when we look in the rear vision mirror, and get just a little philosophical. Aside from the obvious impact of Covid 19, there have been other aspects of the industry that have made more than a passing impression.

Whatever the sentiment in the market may be, the reality is that technology is playing an ever more important role in the sales process. Mostly it’s simple stuff – drones can enable us to see the condition of a roof, and email can get us a sale and purchase agreement within seconds. But we still have to use that technology. There is no point to a digital measuring tape if it stays in the car. Or the immediacy of a mobile phone is nullified when a call isn’t returned for 48 hours.

Property has always been a very large financial transaction. For most buyers and sellers it is not something they do very often. Which means that an agent is (or at least should be) a critical guide to the transaction process helping all parties understand what happens and when. Agents are regularly undertaking this process, and too often (mistakenly) forget that most buyers and sellers are not as familiar, if at all, with the process as they are. And therefore they don’t take the time to explain.

An agent is clearly an advisor in the property transaction process. Technology has improved efficiency, and brought greater transparency to the whole process. Technology can be a powerful enabler to support the multiplicity of roles that an agent must undertake. But when we break it down, commercial and industrial real estate is mainly about numbers. Agents need to collate those numbers, and present them in a form that is transparent, and makes clear sense for both sides to a transaction. Unfortunately, there are still too many agents who start with “when can I show you the building?“

Show me the numbers first – that’s what really counts.

On the other side of the coin, it is clear increasing numbers of agents are placing a higher value on their time, and taking care to fully qualify enquiries. Asking questions is a skill. Asking relevant, appropriate and probing questions qualifies both vendors and purchasers, and can save a whole lot of wasted time.