I read an article recently in the Daily Telegraph, by journalist Alex Proud, titled “Ten reasons why I am looking forward to the next price crash”.
I think that it would be safe to say that Mr Proud is no great admirer of estate agents, as I think that you will agree when reading the following excerpt, being one of his ten reasons which makes reference to London based firm Foxtons: “I’m not even going to try and be clever here. Can you imagine the feel-good factor as branch after branch of Britain’s ghastliest business shuts up shop? Can you imagine the cheering in the streets as the nasty green and yellow livery comes down and the premises are turned back into pubs, restaurants and shops? Can you imagine the pleasure of knowing that never again will one of those stupid little minis cut you up at a junction? Dare to dream.”
I have to confess to not knowing what Foxtons have done to Mr Proud to be so deserving of his obvious loathing of them, but when penning the article he clearly felt confident that his readership would feel sympathetic to his rather vitriolic viewpoint. Well, having formally worked as an estate agent in London myself for nearly 20 years, I have no doubt that his musings will strike a chord with the capitals homebuyers and sellers, as Foxtons are a firm that are amazingly successful at dividing opinion amongst a great many Londoners.
However, for all of their short comings, Foxtons for a great many years now have been market leading in every aspect and surely the most innovative, creative and much imitated success story in UK residential estate agency in living memory. I have absolutely no doubt that in “pushing the boundaries” on numerous occasions they have rather courted controversy, and been deserving of their hard earned reputation as the “enfant terrible” of the London property market.
But, surely, that is what being dynamic and forward thinking is all about? As when they have (from time to time) been challenged in the Courts of Justice, the High Court has been on hand to pass judgement and keep them in check; it is hard to find another UK based residential estate agent who has spent more time in the High Court than Foxtons.
So, love them or loath them, they are immensely profitable and one of only a handful of estate agents in the UK to have been successfully floated on the stock market, which perhaps rather demonstrates that you don’t have to be liked by everyone to be successful. I don’t think for a moment that honesty and integrity in UK estate agency are dead, but Foxtons are living proof that as long as you keep the majority of your clients satisfied with the service that you provide then they will forgive you for almost anything else.
Peter Nicholls is the CEO of Ideology Consulting, so for more information please call 0333 9398010 or go to www.ideologyconsulting.co.uk