November 15, 2013

David Gilman is partner in charge of Blacks Connect


“The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!”

Given that we are now way beyond Bonfire Night I think it’s safe to say we are firmly on the countdown to Christmas.

There’s no getting away from it, in fact if you have the misfortune to encounter any TV advertising break you would swear it was Christmas Eve.

It’s not by the way; at the time of writing we still have a good five weeks or so before you hit the present-buying panic button.

[By the way, if you are somehow reading this and it is Christmas Eve, please ignore everything above.]

However the major issue for the mortgage market and all us stakeholders and practitioners in it, is that we are just a couple of weeks away from December and, historically at least, this is not just the start of the holiday season but the start of the slowdown.

This year might be different of course but traditionally as soon as the first day of the advent calendar is open the mindset becomes slightly different as we all look forward to some time off.

There’s nothing wrong with this of course but it does hamper both ourselves and clients to blindly assume the often longed-for pre-Christmas exchange date is simply not going to happen.

This is why the next couple of weeks in November are so important not just for our individual firms but also large numbers of clients. This is the make or break period because, anyone who has worked for any length of time in this business, will certainly know what is (or rather isn’t) coming over the horizon.

Not only does November have great importance for the industry but it comes this year at a time when the market has not been so buoyant for a good while.

Cast your mind back to November 2012 and consider whether this year is any busier – I suspect it is and therefore there is even greater onus on us to ensure we make the most of this period, make the most of the market and still continue to deliver a quality service for clients.

When you come to look back at 2013 as a whole, and see the start you made to 2014 I suspect November will be the month which went a long way to determining the business you carried out.

Targets are hopefully being met, set and (in the future) surpassed and it will be these next crucial weeks which will set the tone for what is to come over the next 12 months.

If you are able to ignore holiday season fever then I believe you will be putting yourself in a very positive position.

Clients too will appreciate advisers who are willing to go the extra mile in order to support their endeavours and ambitions, and for those clients seeking unrealistic deadlines now is certainly the time when honesty and transparency are most needed.

If a projected exchange date is not going to be hit then better for all concerned to be upfront about this now rather than giving false hope. Those clients who are left to feel they have been over-promised are not likely to be clients again the future and you could end up off their Christmas card list for a long time to come.

November is definitely a month for the realists and for ensuring all preparations are in place to enjoy the holidays that are, without doubt, coming.


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