Have you ever listed all the things you love about your work? It’s an illuminating exercise in clarifying all the reasons you do what you do. For some people, it can even be the catalyst for a change of career.
The idea for this week’s blog came unexpectedly one Sunday when my mind drifted to how much I enjoy being someone’s estate agent. It didn’t immediately occur as a blog, but as the minutes went by, it seemed a shame to keep it all to myself, so this week’s article is more personal than most.
Moving home is a big deal for everyone: for you; for the people you’re buying from; and for whoever’s buying from you. But your move is also a big deal for me, so when it’s time for you to find an estate agent in Southampton, I’d love to hear about your plans. Call me for a chat on 02380 987 720 or email email@example.com whenever the time is right.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the read.
HEARING PEOPLE’S STORIES
Everyone moves for a reason. The big ones include growing families, downsizing, a change of school, or relocating for work, while others are more particular and personal: housing an enormous collection (cars, records, art - you name it!); a change of scenery and lifestyle; wanting a workspace or creative studio at home.
Think about where you live right now. How did you come to be there? Even if you share any of the reasons above, your story will be entirely your own, and it’s fascinating to learn about people's lives and where they hope to go: for themselves, for their families, and their futures.
Some moves are planned, others are unexpected, and a few are completely spontaneous. And while most moving tales are happy, they’re not always full of joy and helping people through all the highs and lows is a meaningful experience. Being there for those initial thoughts; putting a home on the market and finding a buyer; then through chains, conveyancing and completion: those are rich and deep relationships.
HELPING DREAMS COME TRUE
This might sound cheesy, but it’s a major part of being an estate agent: there's so much riding on every move that you cannot be impervious. It can sometimes feel like having several families or households at once and being part of them all at the same time is nothing short of extraordinary.
If you’ve ever moved home, you’ll know how it heightens your nerves and emotions. Even with all the excitement about the future, the combination of uncertainty, unpredictability and upheaval is often mixed with specific timeframes and urgencies: it’s not the greatest recipe for staying relaxed. There are lots of what-ifs, so there's plenty of putting minds to rest and giving people comfort. There’s rarely a sale without even a minor bump in the road, and estate agents are on the frontline: when there’s a wobble, we’re usually the ones who have to deliver the news. But we can also be the reason that sales go through; sometimes by solving real problems and sometimes by simply keeping people calm. We hear every side of the story directly from everyone involved, and we often bear the brunt of frustrations and delays. To say it requires patience would be an understatement, but when it all comes together, and contracts are exchanged, those calls of congratulation are truly special moments.
EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT
Whenever I talk to friends about being an estate agent, the conversation usually involves freedom and fresh air. Most people I know or meet, in some way or another, love the idea of being an estate agent, and the reasons they give are variety and inspiration. Being an estate agent means meeting new people every day, being out in the neighbourhood and seeing inside people's homes. From a purely selfish point of view, it makes for a wonderful week (unless it's pouring with rain with a diary full of appointments: when the weather’s like that, the desk certainly has its charms!). With no two days ever the same, each one is an exciting prospect every morning. Where will I go? Who will I meet? What will I see? The next destination always brings something new, from interior design to a beautiful garden, an impressive building or a surprising view. Some homes are good-to-go and picture-perfect, while others need some help to be ready to market. Removing a rug might give a photo a lift; rotating the couch could make viewings flow better; a fresh coat of paint may brighten a room. Every home presents a different prospect and needs a beady eye to capture its character.
And even with the most meticulous planning - from desk, car, cafe or bench – the unexpected is never far away, and you never know what the next phone call or email will bring.
BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY
We’re hardwired to be with other people, from the ancient ritual of sitting around a campfire after a long day's hunt to enjoying Sunday lunch with your closest friends and family. But feeling part of a neighbourhood is also a wonderful thing, and I love bumping into people I’ve spoken to somewhere on their moving journey. It’s not unusual to meet the owner of a home that I’ve valued or have on the market, and those casual chats in the street are lovely moments of fun. Or maybe it’s a family who moved through me a year ago and whose children have grown impossibly tall - can I remember all their names again?
Then there’s the buyer I met just once at a viewing: we got on really well while discussing taps, or schools, or property prices but haven’t seen each other since. There’s a flicker of recognition, but neither of us can remember why until the penny drops after a short exploratory chat. Being constantly in the neighbourhood also means using other local businesses, which comes in really handy when I’m asked for recommendations (usually every day). My favourite coffee place; a pub for Sunday lunch; where to go jogging; a good dry-cleaner; the best-stocked offlicence; a great florist; a gym or exercise studio; a delicious Indian or Chinese; a butcher, a baker, a barber, a salon...
There are so many people and places to know, and it makes a real difference to how quickly someone feels at home when they’ve already got some tips from a local.
THE JOY OF COMPLETION DAY
Saving the best for last, seeing the smiles on people’s faces when it’s time to hand over or collect their keys, really does take some beating. Whatever the ride was like along the way, and some sales are certainly smoother than others, all of the stresses and strains are replaced by the excitement of a new beginning. Anyone moving into a new home can’t wait to open the door, arrange the furniture and begin their new life.
It’s a day of emotion as well. If you’re leaving the place that’s been your home for a long time – maybe you’ve raised a family there and built a mountain of memories – saying goodbye will be a significant moment, but it’s balanced with starting a new chapter. For me, it means so much to have played a part in making that happen.
Well, now you know how it feels to be an estate agent. As well as being enjoyable, challenging and rewarding, it is also a great privilege to be chosen as anyone’s agent and entrusted with their move. That is something I never, ever forget.
So whenever you come to choosing an estate agent in Southampton, I’d love to hear from you. Whether you’re ready to go now, or if you’re only just beginning to think about the next stage of your life, you’re always welcome to get in touch for a chat about your plans. Call me on 02380 987 720 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - let’s start with a conversation and see where it goes from there.