Why always me?
Finally this week, plans for the regulation of estate agents have been proposed and these have been broadly welcomed by the sector and general public.
The estate agency market in the last few years has had many challenges which include declining sales transactions (especially in London and the South East), proposals to ban letting agent fees, increased regulation for landlords and the growth of online agents.
The reputation of estate agents continually takes a battering and the ‘Commisery’ adverts play on a deep rooted belief that estate agents do not deserve to earn the fees they charge, which after working in estate agency for a number of years is generally unfair. However, perception is important and unfortunately, traditional estate agents have been poor at articulating the value they provide to customers, so it’s no surprise that these views exist.
I believe there are lessons here for the intermediary mortgage sector, as brokers and lenders should never be complacent simply because that’s the way things have been done for years. Public sentiment can change quickly and customers expect much more transparency, an example of this is the proposal to declare referral fees. Challenge yourself, ask your customers what they thought of your service, are there things they’d like to know more about/understand better and are there areas that could be improved, can you afford not to?
Coming back to the title of this week’s blog, not so long ago the Premier League had a striker called Mario Balotelli, who was undoubtedly talented, but he became famous for what he did off the pitch and not on it. Painting his Bentley in camouflage paint, setting off fireworks in his bathroom and being told by his Mum to go out and buy an iron and coming back with a giant trampoline and two Vespa scooters are amongst a few of his antics.
He famously once scored and lifted up his shirt to show a T-shirt saying ‘Why always me?’. I think we probably know why and you could be forgiven in thinking that some estate agents may also have similar thoughts, but again, should they really be surprised?