Published: 16/01/2020 By Jane RobathanBoris’ 'bounce' could be helping, we are frantically busy. The New Year brings a spike in activity for every agent; people spend Christmas together either firming up dreams or deciding to divorce. One can only hope to avoid the latter in the maelstrom of Prosecco and expense that precedes January. Typically, a month when we declutter our lives and focus on goals, January amounts to a sharp increase in enquiries, viewings and valuations.
But it also highlights obstacles. Those on the market in what is now ‘last year’ become jumpier, more frustrated and have a higher tendency to switch agents. Those mid-sale are more likely to reconsider previous negotiations or abscond altogether. For an agent, January should mean extra diligence and if you’re really clever, pre-emptive measures. Send your clients Happy New Year cards with an update about their marketing. Keep communications upbeat and ask how your client is. By listening to them and empathising with their needs, you’ll help relations deepen.
The only beneficial thing about switching agents is to get a fresh ‘added by’ date on Rightmove fast. I often explain that serious buyers won’t care how long something has been on the market for, there could be many reasons. The process of buying a home is led by emotion and much like approaching someone who’s caught your eye in a bar, the fact they’ve been there all evening won’t stop you. If someone is really interested in your home, they will enquire about it whatever.
The best estate agents understand how to communicate trustworthiness and inspire confidence in buyers while the worst believe they made someone buy something. My January is all about chatting-up clients, cementing relationships and preparing advertising strategies and reports. If they’re not sold by February, at least we’ll be in love. But this January is looking more promising than the two preceding it. Much still depends on how Brexit plays out, and Bank of England (BoE) policymakers may need step in should trade take a beating and inflation continue to fall (it’s at a three year low right now). A rate cut at the end of the month has been hinted at by five members of the Monetary Policy Committee in the past week.
This would, of course, be good news for the housing market. Mark Carney leaves the BoE following its meeting on 30th January when the next set of rates are published, himself one of the five hinting at a cut. Livelihoods depend on people’s biggest asset—usually their home. If Boris can keep trade on our side and the Bank continues to steer the ship steady, then we may be out of the worst of the storm.