Future proof Estate Agents ? no everything is fine.


Morag Mclintock business journalist newswire 2021

As an observational writer Morag Mclintock is a retired Estate Agent from Dumfries who ran an Estate Agency with her late husband for 25 years until 1991.

Future proof Estate Agents ? no everything is fine.

We never saw the down turn that seized our business and we never prepared for the future, I don’t even remember discussing making changes to our organisation.

People rang in, we answered the phone and arranged viewings as normal.

We assumed that the growing business would continue, but it did not.

The phone stopped ringing, and walk in’s dried up just enough to put us out of business in October 1991.

We made 8 staff redundant, including my sister.

I have an uneasy feeling that some past similarities are emerging in the market place with soundbites I have heard before.

” This house had 12 viewings today ” ITN news

” Anxious buyers feel they are going to miss out ” SKY news

” The ONS figures put the average price of a home in the UK at £250,000 in February, an increase of £20,000 on the same month of last year”

” Prospective buyers are reporting that properties for sale are flying off the shelves, so an amount of panic buying has set-in” Dumfries and Galloway news.

“Stamp duty deadline at the end of next month” The Sunday Times.

“Scotland average property increased by 8% to £162,000” Office for National Statistics

Future proof Estate Agents ? no everything is fine.

The tragedy and the impact of the bankruptcy of our business was one thing, but the pain we experienced with our children who had all bought property as they got married in the late 80’s was even more upsetting.

Early marriages were tested and unfortunately the seeds were sown for future unsurmountable problems.

The problem all those years ago was a surge in interest rates.

The new problem I feel in my bones is unidentifiable by me, I’m no economist, but something feels wrong with the property market.

And the majority of business owners under 50 have never experienced a serious downturn, they are as naïve as I was at the same age.

What I do know is that Estate Agency and Property sales seem to have become super elevated in society, and the ease of borrowing has all the hallmarks of the pre 2008 crash.

If I was an Estate Agent again, I would be looking to slash my variable costs, particularly staff costs.

And I would find ways to focus on my bread and butter customers, and look for new ways to communicate effectively.

If I had know then what I know now, maybe we would have survived as a business.

Morag Mclintock is a retired Estate Agent and observational writer from Dumfries.